The Ultimate Guide to Daily Planning and Using A Daily Planning Template
Most of us recognize the importance of daily planning and preparedness. A great business idea without a game plan results in blunders on the field. A large event without all of the details in place results in pandemonium.
Despite this awareness, we frequently fail to prioritize planning where it is most important: in our daily lives. Starting the day without a clear plan sets us up for failure.
We make objectives based on seasons and years, but it’s what we do every day — the habits we form, the tasks we complete, and the things we prioritize — that add up to success or failure over time. Every month, a few aimless days might help us reboot and find balance.
A good offense in the form of a daily planning process is the best defense against hectic and unproductive days.
There are a variety of daily planning tools you can choose from, ranging from traditional to-do lists, to digital lists, and even calendars.
But thinking outside the box, you can hire a daily planner professional to guide you through the creation of a daily plan that suits your preferred needs as a business owner or a business coach. This person can be a business consultant or business coach who creates business plans for clients. And the daily planner professional can also stick around to ensure you follow through with your goals.
In this article we go over some essential tips on how to implement daily planning as a small business owner and business coach, to get the most out of your day for the betterment of your business and business coaching gig. Plus, we’ll also go over key steps in filling out a daily template, as well as the various productivity and planning tools you can use to achieve your set goals. So, keep reading.
Daily planning definition
The act of charting out one’s daily tasks is known as daily planning.
Daily planning can include making a timetable, making a to-do list, determining what meals to eat or how much money to spend, and other day-to-day concerns. A daily planner template is frequently used for daily planning.
If you are the type of person who generally has hectic days and needs to carefully manage their time (such as a teacher, parent/caregiver, or student), daily planning can be a lifesaver.
When our days are hectic and multi-faceted, it is easy to become distracted, disorganized, or overwhelmed. This can lead to a decrease in productivity and what appears to be unending sessions of “playing catch-up.”
Keeping and keeping up a daily planner is one established method for people to better manage their time. It is significantly less likfely that these jobs and appointments will be forgotten if you have a place to put down the day’s plan and all of the critical things that need to be completed. Having a daily planner on hand also helps to avoid becoming sidetracked or overwhelmed.
Using a daily planner template, in summary, is a sure-fire approach to streamline and simplify your life. It takes some time and effort to become used to utilizing a daily planner template, but once you do, it may make a big difference in providing busy individuals more control over their lives.
What is a daily planner template?
A daily planner template is essentially a piece of paper divided into sections, with each section used to make note of various components in the user’s life that need to be planned for or kept track of.
A daily planner template may have the following sections:
Daily Goal: This could be anything, but it is normally intended to be something that the daily planner template user would be proud or happy to complete. Daily goals can include things like, “send out 20 flyer ads about your business,” “place 2 calls to potential clients” etc.
To-do List: This is a list of tasks that must be accomplished on that particular day. This section will frequently contain small check boxes next to each item so that they can be checked off.
Schedule/Appointments: This is where you can record any meetings, client appointments, or other scheduled events. This section may be formatted in such a way that each line represents one hour of the day.
Urgent/Priority: This is comparable to a to-do list, except the tasks in this category are more pressing.
Gratitude: Here, the user can record one or more aspects of their day for which they are grateful. This may say anything like “I met my estimated sales target today,” “I added a new customer” etc. When it comes to expressions of gratitude, anything goes.
Notes: This is a nice extra part where the user can scribble down anything else they’ve been educated about or want to keep track of.
All of these sections should ideally be organized in such a way that there is enough room for the user to write down all of the necessary information while still fitting on the same page so that the user does not risk missing anything as a result of forgetting to check multiple pages in their planners.
Daily planner templates have become a commonplace in the lives of business owners who desire a certain degree of efficiency and productivity in their day, to maximize profits and outputs. When utilized correctly, they may be a valuable organizational aid in people’s life.
Importance of daily planning
The power of daily planning can help you develop vital abilities while also creating a sense of serenity and productivity when you begin your day each morning. Here are five notable benefits of using a planner.
- Daily planning improves time management abilities.
Daily planning allows you to think more realistically about your time and see it as a finite resource. It equips people with the ability to prioritize and scope their assignments appropriately. Time tracking can also help those of us who tend to bite off more than we can chew recognize what we can and cannot do. As you practice this ability, you’ll learn to say “no” or assign a specific task more frequently, allowing you to make better use of your precious time.
- Daily planning improves concentration and productivity.
Planning daily chores allows you to cut through the noise and focus on a few critical tasks each day. It provides a sense of purpose and accomplishment (when you cross items off your list), which is motivating.
- Maintain your organization, accountability, and sanity.
Being a better daily planner will help you stay on top of everything. It makes large tasks and intimidating workloads seem more achievable by breaking them down into smaller task lists. Starting each day with a planning exercise also helps to document your process, making it easier to track your progress and report upward on your job. Because you’re reporting on progress and checking in on goals every day, daily planning makes you accountable (even more so if you share with your team). It also aids in the completion of assignments on schedule because you will become more adept at scoping and managing your workload.
- Daily planning is beneficial to your health and well-being.
Daily planning relieves stress and can assist to create a sense of peace in the midst of chaos. When you have less on your plate, you are more likely to be able to focus and do more in-depth work. You can also use daily planning to prioritize things outside of work that are vital to your general well-being, such as refueling with a healthy lunch, reenergizing with a 30-minute exercise, or just carving out time each afternoon to reset in your own way. Because our brains cannot focus at full capacity without pauses, prioritizing these things is not only beneficial for your health, but it will also help you accomplish more at work each day.
- It enables you to keep a record in order to grow and learn from
Daily planning can teach you a lot about yourself, and these lessons will help you work more efficiently in the long run. We’re not very good at anticipating how long things will take us as humans – don’t take it personally, this applies to the majority of us. With daily planning, you’ll have a record of what you planned to do and what you actually accomplished. It’s fine if you don’t complete everything every time. As you progress, you’ll learn to accurately scope tasks and build work schedules for yourself that promote productivity and well-being.
How to use a daily planner template
As previously said, getting used to utilizing a daily planner template might take some time, especially if you do not regularly plan out your day.
There are a few things to consider if you are contemplating or have begun using a daily planner template.
- Check your planner every day. The purpose of a daily planner is to be used on a daily basis. It is best to get into the habit of checking your daily planner at least every day and night. The morning check might be spent creating a fresh daily planner template, and the evening check could be spent going through the daily planner template and making sure everything is in order.
- Prioritize tasks: As you go through your day and use your filled-in daily planner template, get into the habit of completing the activities in your planner in the order of priority. The simplest method to achieve this is to make sure that when you fill out your daily planner template, you start with the most important chores and work your way down. That way, all you have to do to ensure proper prioritization is to execute the tasks in the exact order.
- Be flexible: Remember to be flexible with your daily planner template and to be able to make changes to your schedule as needed. This can include deferring less important chores to another day or deleting them entirely from the list. It could also entail rearranging your schedule or adjusting the amount of time required to perform specific chores.
When first starting to utilize daily planner templates, it is normal to have to make revisions like this rather frequently. However, as you use them and figure out what kind of daily planner template works best for you, these changes should become less frequent.
How to use a daily planning template to achieve your goals
Making a practice of everyday planning is one thing. To ensure that your plan is genuinely moving you toward your larger goals is quite another. Make use of your daily planning session to ensure that your daily duties are in line with your long-term goals. Here are a few steps to get you there:
Step #1: Break down your big goals
Divide your goals into daily tasks. You can’t put “expand the business” on your daily to-do list, but you can put “request a referral from one customer today” or “call a potential customer” on there. When you sit down to plan your day, go over your personal and professional goals and add things that will help you get closer to both.
|Long Term Goals
|Start a business
|Work on MVP landing pages
Solicit feedback from potential users
|Expand a business
|Request a referral from 2 customers
Call 2 potential customers
You may have too many goals if you’re having trouble creating realistic daily to-do lists that represent all of your goals. Overextending yourself is not just exhausting; it also makes it unlikely that you will achieve substantial progress in all of these areas. Complete a commitment inventory to focus on the goals that are most important to you. As a general guideline, avoid having more than five major goals at the same time, and consider a combination of short-term and long-term objectives..
Step #2: Look at your week as a whole
Planning your day begins with planning the entire week. You most certainly have several goals, a variety of potential tasks to achieve them, and only so many hours in the day. That’s OK. While some goals benefit from everyday activity, others can gain momentum by working on them a few times per week. Perhaps you work out on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. On other days, you may want to batch tasks and concentrate just on tasks connected to a single professional aim. You might also stack your personal goal tasks on the weekend. Spend some time on Sunday evening or Monday morning zooming out and sketching out your week into time blocks so you know which goals you’ll focus on and when. Keep the specifics for your daily planning appointments.
Step #3: Add your have-to-do tasks last
When most people organize their day, they begin with this step. They start with their scheduled appointments, necessary meetings, and pressing deadlines, and then try to fit goal-oriented work around them. Consider deferring this step until the conclusion. This forces you to prioritize your must-do tasks around your goal tasks rather than the other way around.
In an ideal world, we would concentrate solely on everyday actions that advance us toward our long-term objectives. In reality, we have responsibilities and obligations to meet, some of which have little bearing on our personal or professional development. Reduce your commitments and obligations as much as possible: reconsider recurrent meetings, think about distributing responsibilities, and get comfortable saying “no.” It is, nevertheless, acceptable to have items on your to-do list that just must be completed. Just make sure they’re not consuming too much of your time and energy.
Productivity methods applicable in daily planning
A productivity approach is both an efficient way to do tasks and a strategy for planning your day. Find a productivity approach that works for you, even if it involves modifying an existing one or inventing one from scratch. To get started, here are some typical strategies for daily planning:
1. Eat the Frog
The Eat the Frog productivity approach requires you to identify and complete one key activity for the day first. This is an excellent approach for putting your highlight into action as soon as possible. Sometimes it’s the task we’d rather avoid (hence, eating the frog). This could be a chore that seems too difficult to complete or one that makes us feel uneasy. Attack it right away, before you have a chance to put it off.
Put your “frog” activity at the top of your to-do list and set a time for it during your daily planning session. Then, list your remaining tasks afterwards.
2. Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is ideal for those who prefer to work in short, focused bursts with frequent breaks. Francesco Cirillo, a struggling student at the time, devised this strategy in the late 1980s by committing to just 10 minutes of intense study using a tomato-shaped kitchen timer (pomodoro in Italian). The steps in this procedure are as follows:
- Purchase a timer.
- Set a timer for 25 minutes and concentrate on a single task until the timer goes off.
- When your session is finished, mark off one pomodoro and write down what you accomplished.
- Take a 5-minute break.
- Take a lengthier, 20- to 30-minute pause after four intervals, or “pomodori.”
Estimate how many pomodoros (25-minute work sessions) you’ll need to finish each activity on your list to plan your day using the Pomodoro technique. Take note of the number in front of each activity, which is either a tomato emoji or the number itself in brackets. This strategy pushes you to assess the length of your job and plan accordingly. You can employ pomodoros throughout the day or only for your most important task.
3. Time Blocking
Divide your day into different blocks of time using the Time Blocking productivity strategy. Depending on how long a task may take, this could be as explicit as 9:30AM-11:30AM or just “Morning.” Then, work without interruptions and devote each block of time to finishing a single task or set of chores.
This strategy, like the Pomodoro technique, will help you estimate and understand how long your tasks will take. To ensure accuracy, include blocks for things like lunch, breaks, and commuting. A task will frequently take longer or shorter than you think. That’s OK. As you go through the day, make quick changes to your list. You’ll gain a better sense of how long tasks take over time. Meanwhile, a decent rule of thumb is to double the time you expect anything to take.
4. Eisenhower Matrix
The Eisenhower Matrix productivity approach requires you to analyze the urgency and importance of each work, rather than just performing what’s most urgent – vital or not. This strategy divides tasks into four quadrants and specifies how we should approach activities in each one:
- “Urgent and Important” tasks must be completed right away.
- Tasks that are “Not Urgent and Important” should be planned on your to-do list or calendar.
- Tasks that are “Urgent and Unimportant” should be delegated to someone else.
- The section “Not Urgent and Unimportant Tasks” should be removed.
5. The Freight Train
This is an approach that I frequently use with very large, seemingly insurmountable goals. I will break the large goal into small, easy tasks, medium sized tasks and then larger, harder tasks. Like the freight train which starts out slow, I attack the small, easy tasks. As I knock them out quickly I will gain momentum, similar to the freight train which is gaining speed. Then I will attack the medium sized tasks and by the time I get to the large tasks I become unstoppable, just like the freight train that is powering down the track. I won’t quit because I have invested so much time that I can’t bear to think about the time that would be wasted if I gave up.
Whatever your favorite approach to planning, select the one that works best for you and go after it!
To begin, make a regular to-do list that includes all of your daily responsibilities. Next, categorize them as “Urgent and Important,” “Non-Urgent and Important,” “Urgent and Unimportant,” and “Not Urgent and Unimportant.” Once you’ve identified these categories, act on your to-do list accordingly: do, schedule, delegate, and eliminate things as you organize your day.
With time, this method will become second nature, and you’ll naturally create a single to-do list that includes only “Urgent and Important” and “Non-Urgent and Important” items.
Choose your planning tool
You’ve decided on a method for daily planning; now it’s time to choose your tools. Here are some of the most common solutions, ranging from productivity software to paper & pen:
1. A to-do list app
A digital task manager is an excellent solution for folks who are tech-savvy and have become accustomed to using their phone or tablet instead of a notepad. To-do list applications have the advantage of centralizing everything and making it accessible from anywhere. As your plans change, you can effortlessly transfer activities from day to day, organize important papers and links alongside your tasks, and keep an automatic, searchable record of everything you’ve done.
2. A digital list
If you don’t want a full-fledged task manager but still want a digital solution, look into less-specialized solutions that you presumably already use at work and at home.
A note-taking or word-processing program. To keep track of your daily tasks, use a simple notes software like Bear (iOS and MacOS only), Apple Notes, or Google Keep. Simply mark items off with checkboxes or strikethrough formatting. Consider Google Docs or Microsoft Word for additional flexibility and customization possibilities in a “notes” software.
Excel or Google Sheets. Make a spreadsheet to plan your day. This allows you to add additional context and annotations to specific cells. Methods such as time-blocking are also beneficial when working in a digital grid.
3. A digital calendar
Many people choose a daily planning tool that they are already familiar with: the calendar. Apple Calendar, Google Calendar, Fantastical, and Woven are all popular calendar apps for planning your day and adding tasks in addition to appointments, meetings, and activities. This is also an excellent tool to complement a productivity approach such as time blocking. Furthermore, digital calendars offer the advantage of being accessible on the go, often via online and mobile.
4. A paper planner
Paper and pen are the go-to tools for the tactile among us when it comes to planning our days. This can take several forms, like as notebooks, agendas, or specialized planners. We would simply advise against using post-it notes or loose paper. Ad hoc scraps of paper, while basic and scrappy, prohibit you from looking back at old activities and evaluating on the effectiveness of your daily planning.
Notepad — For a simple pen and paper planning technique, a simple lined or unlined notebook would suffice. Create a new page for each day and write the date at the top. If necessary, use gridded notebooks to help you create divisions.
Agendas or planners are notebooks with space to plan each day of the year from January 1 to December 31. This provides a separate space for daily planning as well as the opportunity to easily return to past and upcoming entries.
Specialist Planners — The popularity of specialized planners or paper and pen planning systems such as the Passion Planner or Bullet Journal is growing. These systems are frequently complex, yet they can be quite effective in the hands of skilled practitioners.
5. A digital and paper hybrid
When it comes to daily planning, you don’t have to pick between pen and paper and digital tools; you can use either or both. Here are a few different applications for a hybrid system:
Separation between personal and professional lives. For business duties, use a digital system, while for personal tasks, use a planner. This strategy can be beneficial if you devote your working hours to achieving professional goals and your evenings to personal duties and self-development. Similarly, you may use a task manager during the week and a notebook on weekends.
Paper comes first, followed by digital. You may prefer the tactical aspect of planning your day on paper, but you value the searchability and durability of digital tools. Use a schedule or daily planner to plan your day, but make time at the conclusion of each day to transfer your to-dos and progress to a digital task manager for simple reference. To avoid distraction, this is also a wonderful strategy if you use paper notes. For example, you may bring a notebook to a meeting and depart with action items and requests scribbled in it. You may then move these tasks to your digital to-do list, adding due dates and priority levels to keep them from falling through the gaps.
Pen and paper brainstorming, digital execution Some people find that having a blank page and a pen in hand allows them to be more creative and think more clearly. Make a list of your daily plans, including any additional notes and thoughts. Then, to make your chores more actionable, add them to your digital to-do list.
12 Pro Tips for effective daily planning for planning your day
Here are some daily planning tips to ensure you get the best out of your daily planning template.
#1. Get clear on your priorities
You must learn how to prioritize in order to focus on what is genuinely important.
You must organize yourself on a daily basis and work on the most important chores one at a time. Knowing your daily priorities will assist you avoid being sidetracked by other people’s priorities.
But how do you determine your priorities?
It all begins with delving deep to discover your basic beliefs – learning who you are and what matters to you. These are the fundamental pillars of any meaningful long-term objective.
This daily planning procedure will be simple if you’ve already defined your goals and dreams. You will be able to easily distinguish which chores and actions will move you closer to your goals, and which will not.
With your basic values in mind, you can begin to cross off items on your to-do list that are out of sync. These are the tasks that leave you depleted and stressed, rather than motivated and empowered.
#2. Have one daily priority
Many of us start our days with a laundry list of tasks to complete, only to realize at the end of the day that we haven’t completed any of them. We accomplished some things, but not all of them. The unconventional approach to getting more done? Choose only one major assignment per day.
If we’re being honest, finishing the day with at least one major work completed is a significant improvement over what many of us are doing currently. On a larger scale, finishing 5-7 major projects per week is noteworthy. Does this imply that you will only do one assignment every day? In general, no. Choosing and finishing a single big to-do, on the other hand, gives us a sense of accomplishment, and that sets you up with the motivation to take on other tasks.
#3. Make daily priorities actionable and achievable
That feeling you get when you cross a task off your to-do list. Is there anything more satisfying?
You can give yourself more of that sensation every day by making an actionable strategy and setting attainable goals. The more actionable your plan, the easier it is to move forward with it. The more attainable your goals, the more momentum you’ll be able to generate around knocking chores off your list and getting work done.
Keep it manageable: Your daily plan should focus on a few important tasks – we recommend focusing on two or three daily goals to get the most done. You won’t get anything done if you try to accomplish too much and constantly saying yes to new projects. If you’re having trouble meeting a goal or making progress on a difficult activity, try creating a “half-sized” version of that task in your plan instead. Divide large undertakings into smaller tasks.
#4. Find a planning workflow that’s easy to stick to
When things get chaotic, daily planning might help. But first, you must establish the habit and experiment with several planning tools.
Make a morning ritual for yourself: Making daily planning a habit requires some effort and intentionality. Begin by scheduling a 15-minute time window on your Google Calendar or in your daily planner each morning and setting a daily reminder around it. Then, use this time to make your strategy and create an environment that encourages a sense of calm and attention – perhaps you pour a cup of coffee in your favorite mug or play some of your favorite morning tracks before sitting down to plan.
Consider using a planner app: A daily planner app can help you stay sane by putting everything in one place and tracking progress across longer projects over time. Consider the technologies your team already uses and, whenever possible, integrate planning with your existing workflow to make it easier for people to accept. For example, if your team regularly utilizes Slack, you may develop and share your plan there. If you use a task management tool suite like JIRA, Asana, and Google Docs to get work done during the week, consider a planner app with more advanced features to bring it all together in one location.
To make things easier, use prompts: It’s the start of your workday. How do you create a strategic plan in 15 minutes when your coffee hasn’t yet arrived? We enjoy utilizing prompts. They provide structure and direction, making it simple to know exactly what to include in your daily routine. Throughout the week, you might experiment with different prompts to bring different ideas to the forefront.
#5. Break apart your week into different focus areas
When you first begin with daily planning, it can be beneficial to look at your week as a whole and break it down so you don’t try to tackle everything at once. This helps you to set realistic goals at the start of the week, reflect at the end, and get the most work done when you’re at your most productive.
#6. Think about the bigger picture
Connecting your daily job to the larger goals you’re attempting to attain will help you develop a stronger sense of purpose in your work. It can also help you prioritize tasks, focusing on those with the biggest impact, and promote accountability by linking individual goals to team-level OKRs and projects.
#7. Schedule uninterrupted time for deep focus
Focus is one of the most important traits of successful people.
The ability to focus your attention on one object solely is referred to as focus.
You do better at each task when you learn how to improve focus. You focus on one subject while ignoring everything else, such as your phone, email, or social media. Your brain will be able to focus better and think more clearly on the topic at hand. Finally, you produce higher-quality work.
Indeed, some people believe that the capacity to focus is more vital to success than education or IQ. According to studies, interruptions and multitasking contribute to a more stressful work environment. Brains work best when they can focus on one job at a time, and we must give time for recovery before proceeding.
#8. Prioritize well-being just as much as productivity
Planning is about prioritizing your health and well-being as well as pushing for productivity. Planning allows you to check in with your energy levels and how you feel each morning in order to develop work habits that care for yourself.
Check in with yourself every morning: Take some time to absorb how you’re feeling before you go to work – daily life has its ups and downs, and it’s acceptable to not feel productive every day. Numerous studies have demonstrated that emotions such as tension and tranquillity influence your ability to get things done. Knowing this from the start can assist you level set. Be gentle with yourself as well. Don’t berate yourself if you’ve had an “off” day. Be willing to share with those you work with so that they can assist you if necessary.
Include “un-focus” moments: Because our brains can only focus for so long, taking breaks to recharge throughout the day is just as vital as scheduling protected work time. Allow yourself 5-10 minutes at the end of each hour to step away and relax. Another effective method is to block off time on your calendar for unfocus activities, such as a dedicated time block for lunch (away from your computer), an afternoon meditation, or a 30-minute exercise around the neighborhood.
#9. Plan time for creativity-boosting daydreaming
Daydreaming isn’t necessarily harmful.
Back in school, you may have heard negative things about daydreaming. While I would not propose taking a break during an essential meeting or class, I would encourage making time for Positive Constructive Feedback. Daydreaming is beneficial to brain function.
Productivity does not imply cramming as many tasks as possible into each day. Leisure time is just as crucial as concentrated work time. When your mind is free to daydream, you are more likely to come up with innovative ideas.
Choose a low-key, pleasurable pastime such as gardening, crocheting, or strolling. Allow your thoughts to roam. This will stimulate your creativity and assist you in coming up with new alternatives.
#10. End your week with reflection
A daily plan won’t get you very far if you don’t take the time to reflect on how you did and iterate.
Spend some time at the conclusion of each week reflecting on your time management, mood, and productivity. You may compare how long it took you to complete a task to how long you expected it to take. Over time, you’ll become an expert at scoping your work, allocating adequate time, and working independently. You’ll have a better understanding of how you work best and be able to plan a more productive, balanced, and healthy work week for yourself.
#11. Allow time to “unfocus” between tasks
To function optimally, your brain requires time to rest and calibrate. When you unfocus, you engage the brain’s default mode network (DMN).
This section of the brain controls memories and connects the past, present, and future. It mixes old and modern ideas, boosting creativity and problem-solving skills.
Set aside 20 minutes to an hour during the day to simply relax and unwind. In between tasks, this could entail sitting on the couch or going for a walk. When you return to work, you’ll approach each task with a new perspective and new solutions.
#12. Keep it simple
Keep in mind that everyday planning is a talent. And, like any other ability, it improves with practice. The basic approach outlined in the steps below is all you need to begin a daily planning practice that will keep you on track toward your objectives.
To perform at your best, choose the most important tasks for the day and then focus on them one at a time. Take a break after completing one task to enable your brain to recover before going on to the next.
Begin by organizing your to-do list. Then, in order of priority, devote your attention to those duties. As you maintain your daily planning, you will achieve more of your goals, waste less time on distractions, and produce higher-quality work.
So, there you have it. We trust you found this article helpful.
Do you need help taking action on all this information? Then book a free call with one of our small business coaches today. Click here to schedule a business breakthrough session now.