We are big fans of using a high-performance planner to keep track of things. We appreciate habit trackers, daily brain dumps, and journaling. But all these things are just tools. It is possible to use them and still not come up with a daily plan that actually works.
For the record, this is one of the main reasons we developed our daily planner and the companion luxury notebook journal. We wanted to give our users tools more suitable to the way they think. To us, it's all about coming up with a doable daily plan that's easy to implement.
If you're using a daily planner but still struggling to stay organized and get things done, don't be quick to blame it on the tools you use. Your difficulty might be in the kind of plan you're actually coming up with. Below are five characteristics of a daily plan that actually works. How does yours compare?
1. It Is Simple
One of the reasons many people struggle with most standard daily planners is that said planners make things too complicated. There are those who thrive on simplicity. But anyone can become overwhelmed when things get too complicated. That being the case, a chief characteristic of a workable daily plan is simplicity.
Keeping things simple makes it easier to organize them in your brain. That makes it easier to put them down on paper. Keeping simple even helps when it comes to establishing priorities. Simplicity is just a good thing all the way around.
2. Goals and Objectives Are Reasonable
It has been said that a good daily plan is based on clearly defined goals and objections. We don't disagree. But we believe there's more to it than that. Goals and objectives must also be reasonable. Otherwise, it is too easy to set yourself up for failure and disappointment.
What good is the best daily planner if you are never able to achieve your goals? If your goals aren't reasonable, achieving might be difficult. Then the chances of you getting frustrated and giving up only increase.
3. It Has Built-In Flexibility
Hand-in-hand with reasonable goals is flexibility, which is something some people struggle with more often than not. Needless to say that flexibility isn't one of their strong points. Nonetheless, building flexibility into your daily plan gives you permission to switch things around if need be. You don't have to stick to your plan so rigidly that you doom yourself to failure if circumstances change.
4. It Includes a Means of Accountability
A daily plan only works if it helps you achieve what you want to achieve. But in order to know whether that's actually happening, you need a way to hold yourself accountable. Thus, a daily plan that actually works includes some means of accountability. You could hold yourself accountable with a checklist. You could do it by developing some sort of reward system. At any rate, accountability provides the motivation to stick with your plan.
5. It Includes Time Constraints
Finally, daily plans that actually work include time constraints. Why? Because of lack of such constraints leaves a daily plan open-ended. By extension, an open-ended plan leaves too much room to put things off until they never get done. On the other hand, time constraints impose limits that force you to stick to your plan as best you can.
Whether you use a paper planner, a digital tool, or a series of sticky notes on the wall, devising a daily plan that doesn't really work isn't going to help. You need a daily plan you can implement and complete with consistency.