I've been told by numerous people that I am VERY organized. I mean, I have a Type A personality and include bullet journaling as a hobby. People have often asked me how I run my own business, be a full-time student and still do normal people stuff like shower, eat and hang out with friends. So, I've decided to put together a blog post that shares how I plan out my day. Seriously, I would go crazy by now if I didn't have my system. If you follow these tips, your day will be more productive and stress-free.
1. Master Timetable
Remember when you were still in school? At the beginning of every year, you would receive a timetable filled with your classes for that entire semester. Now that you are out of school, it’s essential to create your own weekly schedule that you can follow. This will become the building blocks to planning out your day! Let’s use mine as an example.
I use various colours to differentiate between classes, sleep, morning routine, eating time, personal time and Thoughtfully Handmade time. Each class and all of my other essential tasks receives its own colour.
To start creating your own timetable, first, create the outline. You can refer to my picture above for a layout idea. The important thing is to adjust the numbers on the left-hand side according to your personal schedule. I typically start my days at 7 AM and end at 11 PM, so I make sure that my layout will be able to fit that timeframe.
Next, put in the re-occurring, non-adjustable tasks like classes, work or meetings. Then you build your schedule around that! Make sure you include what time you will eat your meals, relax and go to bed. Don’t forget to allot time for chores and going out with friends!
Each task should be broad unless you have specific, re-occurring to-dos that must be done on a particular day. Remember, this is only a rough guide for you to follow when you actually plan out your week. My actual weekly schedule varies depending on special events that pop up. The master timetable gives me a rough plan of how I want my weeks to go, and when I should schedule specific tasks. This method ensures I actually have time to do all of the things I want and need to do.
Now that you have built a weekly schedule, it’s essential to set some alarms. Of course, you will already have an alarm to wake-up, but do you have an alarm to stop working?
The answer is probably no. Don’t worry, I didn’t either until last year!
Since I’m a workaholic, setting alerts to stop working is a helpful reminder for me to eat my meals and have personal time. When I didn’t set these alarms, I would often skip meals by accident because I was working too hard.
I typically look at the clock when I have finished a task and will not realize that I’m hungry until I stop working. By setting alarms at times when I plan to eat, it prevents this bad habit.
How many alarms and when they go off is up to you, but I recommend doing so. Think back to your school days. The bell would ring to signal school time, lunchtime and home time. It’s an easy way to switch mindsets and not overwork yourself.
3. To-do Lists
My favourite way to plan out a project is to create a master to-do list. This is different from a daily or weekly to-do list because the list is focused on one project. I will draw my daily or weekly tasks from my various master to-do lists. This is how I can work on multiple projects at once without getting overwhelmed.
The image above is what my monthly business to-do lists look like. All of these tasks are pulled from master task lists and my annual strategy spread. I will then draw my weekly and daily to-dos from this monthly one. I find simplifying big projects into easy and manageable tasks prevents me from being overwhelmed.
Of course, this list is just for Thoughtfully Handmade. I have another monthly to-do list of a personal nature, which I combine with the business one for my weekly spreads.
4. Weekly Spreads
If you bullet journal, you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, a weekly spread is simply an overview of your week. I recommend planning out your tasks weekly instead of daily because you will know exactly what you need to do once you wake up.
If I don’t plan out my tasks in advance, I stress over how my day will look and panic over the order of priority of the tasks that I need to complete. By planning weekly, I can easily prioritize tasks and know exactly what I have to do. No more going back and forth on what I should do next. Instead, I just do it.
Of course, plans are subject to change, and your schedule might need to be re-arranged. However, it’s not worth the anxiety I get when I don’t know what to do.
5. Calendar Blocking
Within my weekly spread is my daily spread. I have room to plan out each day in detail. If you look closely, you can see that I have numbers on the left-hand side of each column.
They represent a time. Yes, I schedule in my tasks like an appointment.
Why? It ensures I don’t plan too much for one day. When you have a completely checked off to-do list, you feel accomplished. I like to end my day feeling accomplished, and that doesn’t happen if my tasks aren’t finished. It also prevents my workaholic and perfectionist tendencies from taking over.
Just make sure you allot more time than you think you need for each task if you don’t know how long it will take you. If you end up going over the allotted time, it’s up to you to decide if you want to finish it and push back the rest of your schedule or stop and reschedule it for another day.
Ultimately, that is how I organize my day and be super productive! I personally use a bullet journal for my planning, but this system can be implemented digitally or in a planner. Just pick a method that works for you! It might take a few tries, and you might even have to tweak my system for it to fit your lifestyle. I hope that this has helped you!
Feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you think!