How can you use a custom date planner to organize your life and make it easier? Take a look at these simple steps.
Raise your hand if you often feel LOST with everything that’s going on in your life… I totally get you dude & I’ve definitely been there myself. But don’t worry; I have some great tips to get you out of this state of being.
One of the best ways to organize your thoughts, to-do's and projects (essentially YOUR LIFE!) is by the simple use of a custom date planner. And today, I’m going to walk you through 7 simple steps to do that, so that you can take charge of your life at home, work, school, or just about anywhere!
Who the heck am I to talk about teaching people to organize their lives, and why should you even listen to me? GREAT question.
Well, I’m not a counselor or therapist, but I am someone who has gone through your current situation and come out on the other side, SUCCESSFULLY. Now that’s FIRST-HAND experience, and I feel like that gives me the capacity to speak to you, at least, directly from my own perspective!
Like most people (most functioning adults, I should say) there are a truckload of responsibilities to take care of from day to day… and a lot of these responsibilities as adults are not optional, but must-do's!
Luckily, though, since I discovered the world of bullet journaling, I know that a custom date planner can do wonders for reducing stress and feeling a bit more in control of your life…and honestly just to help you feel sane with the chaos our busy lives can bring! So, if I can get my *ISH* together, so can you!
Trust me, you can do it too … and I’m going to show you how to do so with a bullet journal. So, stick around for a while….because it’s about to get GOOD!
But, why “custom date planner”?
In the previous articles, we talked about the benefits of setting goals and the power of written goals. You can go ahead and check them out, but I will recap VERY briefly.
Why does setting goals matter and why should you actually WRITE THEM DOWN?
Well, (writing down your) goals helps you to:
- Clarify your vision
- Stay focused
- Keep track of progress
- Be motivated
- Increase productivity
Need I say more…?
And, of course, we can set goals and note them down in a journal, notepad, sticky notes, dry erase boards and even digital reminders like our phone.
However, research has shown that going the traditional route of putting thoughts down on paper (in INK!) further reinforces the effectiveness of the idea and subsequent rewards.
There are no best practices, but taking the step to plan what areas of your life need improvement and organization (however you choose to do it) will be the most important decision you will have made … and as time goes on you’ll see this come to fruition.
From my experience, dated planners put unnecessary restrictions on our ability to plan according to our own SPECIFIC schedule, which of course can vary greatly from person to person & in turn making you feel overwhelmed. And you end up abandoning the whole idea altogether! Ugh! We certainly don’t want that.
Now let’s go over the steps to organize your life with a custom date planner..
1. Get a custom date planner that works for you
The first step to organizing your life with a daily planner is to FIND the ‘right’ planner. You feel me? If you don’t know where to start, you can read my tips on choosing the best bullet journal planner for your goals.
Or, you can grab one of my Daily Grind custom date planners - the first bullet journal that you will finish from cover to cover!
Keep in mind that the goal is personal organization and self-improvement in certain areas that need help or perhaps ALL aspects of your life.
This information might influence your decision to go for a finance tracker, a daily planner, work-task planner, academic journal, a diary notebook, exercise planner, meal planner, or whatever type of notebook that will make your journey easier.
Some planners also come VERY well-structured for you already, so this makes organizing your life easier and more fun. A big factor to consider, to say the least.
To find the right date planner for you, you must first decide on what it is that you want to achieve. Do you want a notebook where you can quickly jot down your daily to-do's and scheduling practices, for idea tracking and creative expression, or for personal reflection and diary purposes?
There are planners optimized for each of these, and your ultimate pick will (or should) be one that best meets your unique needs and that you gravitate towards. Or, if you go for one of my Daily Grind planners, you will have all the flexibility you need to adapt your custom date planner to anything you want it to be!
2. Get any extra accessories for your custom date planner
Journaling can be what YOU make it – fun and lively or boring and cumbersome.
I don’t know about anyone else, but my journaling experience has been nothing short of colorful (and I mean that both literally and figuratively). Have you been doing it the tedious, boring way with just a pen and notebook?
Life can be easier and even MORE productive. Stick with me, I’ll show you how.
To get the most out of your journaling and organize your life, you must take full advantage of what the structure offers. There are SO MANY journaling supplies that will help you use your book to its maximum and make it so much more fun!
For starters, how about throwing in a little color? … Yes please!!
A set of pens or highlighters can make your work pop and bring out a bit of that excitement and creativity that we once shared as kids. With all the assorted color options at your disposal, you will be more ready to uncap and throw in some vibrance.
And on a more organizational note, these stationeries can also really help with color coding so that you can categorize and prioritize sections and elements in the custom date planner. There are also bright-color sticky notes and stickers to add more spunk and structure to your work.
Generally, notebook accessories serve as great tools to help make your journal paper more aesthetically pleasing, organized and, ultimately, efficient.
THE RESULT: easier, more fun, increased productivity.
3. Define your ultimate goal
The ultimate vision is to organize your life, right? And to achieve that, you have to make sure that you set goals that TRULY matter to you. Having a clear and focused goal for this journey will lead to a life that is well-organized, really productive and profoundly rewarding.
You have to ask yourself: “What do I seek to achieve by organizing my life? Why is it important that I organize my life? What specific steps can I take to turn this vision into reality?
The central theme of your answers to these questions is your ‘WHY’, and that would be the guiding factor for all your decision making with the journaling process.
People have different reasons for doing the same thing... For your journaling needs, it could be to improve financial well-being, gain clarity on your goals, work on your mental-health, gain new personal skills, improve physical health, get organized, re-establishing connections, and so on.
Whatever it is, note it down somewhere strategic in your bullet journal, and visit it from time to time when you need motivation to keep pushing on your set goals.
Defining your ultimate goal will help you make the most out of your custom date planner. No two ways about it.
… You still with me?! You’ve got this dude!!
4. Structure your daily planner
All successful projects start with some planning, so before you flip to the first page of your planner, think about STRUCTURE.
How often do you intend on using the notebook?
What tasks are going to be consistent and otherwise?
Does anyone else need to understand the contents?
This last question might affect simple things like the symbols and marks you use on your notebook.
Remember, the point of a custom date planner is to SIMPLIFY and organize your life. Right? Great! So, this means that you should be INTENTIONAL about the things you jot down. “Less is more,” as they say.
The main element of organization is structure, so arrange your journal’s pages in a way that supports this idea. Don’t put pressure on yourself to do it how you’ve seen other people do it or to follow any journaling ‘rules’ you may have heard about ... FREE your mind and go completely freestyle, as long as it serves YOUR needs.
You can group your notebook into specific categories by TOPIC (home chores, meal plan, work/business, workout, shopping, volunteer activities, and so on); BY DATE (current, daily to-do’s, week plan, next week, monthly plan, future, or whatever time frame you choose), or BY PRIORITY (high, medium, normal, or low, as the case may be). You get the idea?
You could use bullet points, columns, lines, numbering, etc., to segment elements into similar or groups. THERE ARE NO RULES. Follow whatever system appeals to you… and helps you achieve your goal of organizing your life with a notebook.
A well-structured notebook will declutter your mind and offer the focus that you need to organize your life and increase productivity.
So, before you flip to the first page of your fresh new daily planner, do yourself a favor and lay a foundation for the structure. Life gets easier and breezier from that point onward.
5. Ensure you complete tasks
The purpose of your custom date planner is to organize your life. Always keep this bigger picture in mind, especially on the days it’s extra hard to feel motivated … because you WILL have those days ... It's important to keep the big picture in the forefront. To be able to achieve anything in life, you must put in the DISCIPLINE and HARD WORK needed to complete all to-do's, tasks, and projects.
However, it is okay to pause (or even cancel) any tasks and put them off to a more convenient time, if they presently don’t advance the course of your overall mission. For example, if they are taking more time than needed to process or if finishing them depends on something else getting completed. Highlight and tag appropriately, but be sure to revisit.
To organize your life with a notebook, you must employ the discipline to follow through on any projects you have set out to do. Anything else defeats that purpose… you feel me?!
6. Plan daily
Your custom date planner is a utility material, not an artwork, so USE IT. I advise finding use for it on a daily basis, because of two reasons.
Firstly, doing so gets you into a healthy habit that REMINDS and ENCOURAGES you to actually use it. Jot down your morning to-do's, your day’s priorities, the targets for the week – essentially everything that matters.
This might not be the case if you had to use it for a purpose that needs your attention weekly, monthly, or irregular intervals. You see?
Secondly and more importantly, bear in mind that every big goal is made up of smaller, easier tasks that must be achieved to create the bigger picture. Splitting your major project into smaller chunks allows you to take baby steps with more consistency and less resistance.
Doing this daily builds your discipline, which not only organizes your life but also transfers into most other important aspects of your being to mold you into a better person OVERALL.
So, PLAN DAILY to get into the habit of goal-setting and organizing your life with your new bullet journal.
7. Take your custom date planner along with you
Similar to the preceding point, it’s important that you also make it a habit to have your custom date planner within reach. This could mean throwing it in whatever daily bag you carry with you, keeping it in your car …etc. Love it and care for it!
The idea is to be able to jot down spontaneous ideas and inspiration once they pop up, as well as to create a habit out of actually using your notebook!
I’d also advise that you have just ONE planner for all your notebook(ing) needs, as opposed to scattering everything on different papers and materials. When all your thoughts are in one place, they become more easily accessible and trackable. This helps you stay organized and focused on the tasks that need to be worked on, so that you can be more productive.
And there you have it – 7 handy tips and hacks on HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR LIFE WITH A CUSTOM DATE PLANNER!
How about a quick RECAP? Why not!
A planner will help you organize and manage your life. Use it to track your schedule, keep your ideas intact, and take note of important memories. And of course, LOTS MORE!
To get started, find a notebook that meets your journaling needs and that you gravitate towards. Get it structured in a way that supports your mission to organize your life.
Create a list of to-do's and incorporate the use of colors for coding and structure. Stationery accessories like highlighters, pens, stickers or washi tape can help you prioritize, structure, or group elements and tasks on your notebook in a fun, colorful way.
In the end, discipline and effort matter. So, be sure to find use for your planner regularly and ideally, DAILY, as well as follow through with all the tasks you have set out to do. The best notebooks and the fanciest pens and highlighters will do you no good, if you don’t actually put them to use.
It’s not going to be easy, but it’s sure going to be REWARDING. Give it time and monitor progress. You will be totally amazed at how far you’ve come. PROMISE!
What is in a bullet journal?
A traditional bullet journal (commonly abbreviated as BUJO), comes with blank dot grid pages for you to set up as you see fit. If that sounds too overwhelming, the Daily Grind Planner comes with pre-printed BUJO pages that contain strategically structured sections for to-do lists, daily, weekly and monthly planning, blank pages for notes or to get creative, as well as other sections that help people keep track of their goals and progress.
How do I start a bullet journal?
To start a bullet journal, the first thing you will need to do is set your goals. They have to be clear, specific, challenging but not unrealistic - you can use the goal-setting theory by Edwin Locke to help you with it. The second step is to find a bullet journal such as the Daily Grind Planner that will help you achieve those goals in a structured & organized manner.
Why are bullet journals dotted?
Bullet journals usually come with a dot grid because they are designed to help you write all of your lists and notes in a more organized way without having to worry about crooked lines. The dots help keep your writing nice and straight.