There are only 24 hours in a day, and if you want to make the most out of those 24 hours, you need a schedule.
Creating and sticking to a schedule—both in your personal and professional life—is the best way to manage your time and ensure you fit everything you need (and want!) to do into your daily life. But schedules can be challenging, especially if time management isn’t one of your strong suits.
But even if you’re not a naturally structured person, you can take back control of your time all you need are the right tools.
Let’s take a look at why daily schedules are so important, and how to use a daily planner and effective time management strategies to take back control of your time and squeeze the most out of every 24 hours.
So, first things first: Why is having a daily schedule so important?
Your daily schedule is like your blueprint for the day. It keeps you on track and helps you make the most out of your time.
Not only that, but schedules allow you to identify where the “time sucks” are. Think of these as areas that are draining your time and you need to get rid of (we’re looking at you, mindless social media scrolling).
And as if that wasn’t enough, having a daily schedule allows you to look at everything you have going on during any given day and prioritize the tasks that are important to you.
In a nutshell, daily schedules are important because they give you a sense of control over your time (and your life). And let’s be real, who doesn’t want that?
All right, so now that you know why having a daily schedule is so important, let’s talk about how to actually create one.
Here’s a step-by-step process for building a daily schedule and squeezing the most out of every day:
The point is, even if you feel completely swamped, there are opportunities for you to streamline your schedule and take your time back—and a time inventory is a way to find those opportunities.
Is designing images for social media one of your “time sucks?” If so, take your time back without sacrificing design with Canva’s social graphic templates, like the Orange House Just Sold Social Media Graphic or the Photo National Doughnut Day Social Media Graphic.
Lay out your priorities and tasks each week with Canva’s weekly planner templates, like the Yellow Black Floral Feminine General Weekly Planner or the Blue Simple General Weekly Planner.
You can use your daily planner to organize all areas of your life, like fitness or meal planning. Get started with a customized planner template, like the Purple Simple Workout Planner or the Yellow Sprinkles Weekly Schedule Planner.
Like we mentioned, investing in a planner is a must if you want to create (and stick to) a daily schedule. But why, exactly, are planners such effective scheduling tools?
Obviously, planners are effective because they lay out your schedule and let you know exactly what you have on your agenda for the day. But they do more than that!
Planners help hold you accountable; if you have written reminders of where you’re supposed to be and what you’re supposed to be doing, it’s more challenging to ignore.
Planners are also helpful because they help keep you organized. Instead of having your schedule spread out over multiple devices, calendars, and post-it notes spread across your office, a planner organizes all your daily to-do’s in one, easy-to-manage place.
Clearly, if you want to build an effective daily schedule, you need a planner. But what, exactly, do you need to include in that planner?
Here’s an outline of the five must-have’s to include on each task in your daily planner schedule:
So, for example, let’s say you have a piano lesson next week. Your schedule would look something like this:
Tuesday, April 23, 2019 6:30pm - 7:30pm Piano Lesson with Mr. Robert Pianoman - 123 Main St, (213) 200-1313 - Bring piano instruction manual, enter through the back door
So, you’ve got your planner. You’ve got your schedule. You’ve got all your tasks outlined. How do you keep it all organized?
One way to stay on top of your schedule? Use color coding to highlight to code different commitments. For example, you might highlight work commitments in pink, family commitments in yellow, and personal commitments in blue. That way, you can easily tell at first glance what kinds of tasks you have on the agenda for the day—and plan accordingly.
Another way to keep your planner organized is to fold over each page when you’re finished with it. Most planners have space for a year (or more!) of daily schedules; folding over each page at the end of the day makes it easier to find the current daily schedule—without having to flip through hundreds of past pages to find it.
We can give you all the schedule-building tips in the world, but if you don’t stick to that schedule, they’re not going to help you take back control of your time.
If you find it easy to create a daily schedule but hard to stick to it, here are some tips on how to keep an agenda:
Sticking to an agenda is easier when all your tasks are laid out in a well-designed format. A planner template, like the Minimalist Pink General Daily Planner or the Blue Doodle Work Schedule Planner, can help keep your tasks organized—and make it far more likely that you’ll stick to your schedule.
All right, so now that you’re fully on board with the idea of getting a daily planner, the question is—what daily planner should you get?
There are a TON of daily planner options out there—and ultimately, you should get the daily planner that feels like the best fit for yourself, your personality, and your schedule. Here are a few popular daily planner examples that you might want to consider to get your schedule under control:
The Panda Planner has everything you need to build an effective schedule, including places to organize and prioritize your daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. The Panda Planner also has a space for Daily Review, where you can review your schedule for the day (and how well you stuck to it) and brainstorm ways to be even more successful tomorrow.
The Bullet Journal is a daily planner and a way of organizing tasks that makes sticking to a schedule fast, easy, and efficient.
The Bullet Journal uses a system called “Rapid Logging” to easily identify and organizes tasks, events, and to-do’s using different symbols (including bullets, x’s, and circles). Rapid Logging takes a bit of getting used to, but Bullet Journal devotees claim the system and daily planner are the best tools on the market for getting and staying organized with your schedule. (You can learn more about Rapid Logging—and how to use it to organize your schedule—on Bullet Journal’s website.)
Like we mentioned, there are literally hundreds of planners on the market to choose from—but if you want to go with one of the originals, try with the FranklinPlanner. This no-frills (but extremely effective) planner, created by the time management experts at FranklinCovey, has been keeping the business world organized and on-schedule for well over 35 years.
Don’t want to go out and buy a planner? No problem! You can DIY a planner of your own with Canva’s planner templates, like Violet Circle Patterned Daily Planner or the Blue Pattern General Daily Planner. Just print, assemble in a binder and boom—you’ve got your very own DIY planner.
Creating (and sticking to) an effective schedule is key if you want to take back control of your time and squeeze the most out of the 24 hours you have every day. And now that you know how to build an effective schedule (and schedule it into your planner), all that’s left to do? Get out there, get your daily planner, and get scheduling!