Having a solid planning routine is one of the best things that you can do for your productivity. Once I established my own planning routine, I started getting more accomplished in the day than ever before.
I often get asked exactly HOW I plan, so I thought it would be a good idea to break it down for you step by step. Ready? Let’s go!
MY PLANNING ROUTINE:
My planning routine is broken down into four main areas: The night before, the morning of, throughout the day, and reflection. Let’s dive into each one separately, shall we?
>> THE NIGHT BEFORE <<
My goal here is not to accomplish all of these tasks every day, but rather to track my activity throughout the month on the things that matter most to me.
Those little squares signify my scheduled tasks, or things that don’t happen every day. This is a little signal to myself that it’s ok if that line is looking a bit weak ;)
The only thing I do not log on that day is my sleep time. I always wait until the next day to mark whether I got to bed by 10:30 or not.
After my tracker, I move on to my gratitude log. (I wrote about this extensively right here) This month, I decided to only write down two things that I am grateful for each day. This allowed me to condense my gratitude log into a single spread, making it easier to see all at a glance.
I absolutely love watching this log fill up each month. Special thanks again to my soul sister, Kim (Tiny Ray of Sunshine) for the inspiration on this one!
Once my gratitude is logged, and I’ve taken a few minutes to review the month so far, it’s time to start thinking about the following day.
I turn to the next available blank space or page and draw out the next day’s header.
This year, I added a horizontal time tracker to my daily log. Once that is drawn in, I write out the date. I check the weather and draw that in as well, along with little symbols for sunrise and sunset on the time tracker.
I then color code my time tracker with my plan for the day:
Blue = Sleep
Yellow = Morning Routine
Orange = Boho Berry (my work day)
Purple = Meetings & Calls
Green = Errands
Blank = Unscheduled Time
Next up is task migration. I only migrate tasks if I am moving to a new spread. What this means is that if my new day starts just under the previous day, I don’t bother migrating. I leave all unfinished tasks as open bullets until I either cross them off or move them to a new spread.
This is where I pull over any scheduled events or appointments for the next day.
Finally, I add in any tasks that I’d like to tackle the following day that are not already on my list. This is usually a pretty short list.
That is intentional. I like to keep my task lists as short as possible so that they are actually attainable. Some days are longer than others but that is just how it goes ;)
Finally, I like to sit for a moment in reflection and assess how my day went. Then I close my book and head on up to bed (hopefully by 10:30).
>> THE MORNING OF <<
As the final part of my morning routine each day, I sit down with my bullet journal to plan out my day.
The first thing I do is to add in any additional tasks that I can think of or may have missed the night before.
Once my list is complete, I decide what my top 3 tasks of the day will be.
To me, these are the 3 tasks that once accomplished, I will feel like the day was a success (even if I get nothing else done).
This is also when I decide on a game plan.
Typically, I start with the most difficult or time consuming tasks like responding to emails, comments, and the like. I get all of my admin-type tasks done in the morning. I am most creative in the afternoon, so that is when I do most of my writing and filming.
>> THROUGHOUT THE DAY <<
When necessary, I break out certain tasks into larger collections. To start a collection, I just turn to the next blank page and get to work.
To the right, you can see a few of my favorite collection pages in my 2015 Bullet Journal.
Although I obviously like to make my collection pages pretty, the bottom line is that they are useful and functional.
Again, I focus on getting my top 3 tasks finished first, then I tackle whatever else I can throughout the day.
>> REFLECTION <<
There are three questions that I like to keep in mind every day. This reflection is a key part of my planning routine. I am constantly asking myself:
- What is working?
- What is not working?
- How can I improve?
By constantly reflecting and making adjustments where needed, I am improving my planning routine on a daily basis. If you want proof of that, take a look back at my very first bullet journal post ;)
So there you have it! That’s my entire planning routine in a nutshell!
>> Friendly Reminder <<
I’ll be doing my first ever Q&A over on my YouTube channel this coming Friday, January 15th! If you have any questions for me, feel free to comment below and I’ll add them to the list. I’ll be answering as many questions as I can within a reasonable amount of time :)
Update: You can find that Q&A video right here ;)
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Kara Benz is the artist and author behind Boho Berry, where she inspires her readers to lead a more centered, fulfilled, and inspired life. Kara also runs a successful sticker shop on Etsy – Boho Berry Paperie.