Some days it seems like I work all day long and get nothing done! Other days I accomplish a lot! What’s the difference between the days I’m busy and the days I’m actually productive? Most of it has to do with planning. It’s amazing how much difference something so simple can make!
You don’t have to be a naturally organized person!
The truth is that I’m not a naturally organized person. I’ve always wanted to be organized, but I’m afraid it’s just not in my nature. I’ve often wondered how those moms who seem to have it all together are able to keep it all together! But it turns out that many of the moms I’ve always thought were so well organized are actually just like me–not naturally organized. It takes care and planning for them to stay that way, and it doesn’t come naturally to them either!
After many years of being a mom and over 20 years of being a homeschooling mom, you would think I would know not to compare myself or my homeschool to others. In fact, I’ve told other moms over and over not to compare themselves to others, but guess what? It’s still so easy to slip into that (bad) habit. So I try to remember that it’s ok to learn from other moms without feeling inferior to them or feeling like I have to live up to them. So in my quest to become more organized, here’s what I’ve learned.
You may need help to stay organized and be productive.
I have to have help! I have to have some kind of concrete way to get (and stay) organized. I can’t “wing it” or everything falls apart. And one of the very best ways I’ve found over the years to stay organized is to use a planner.
I’ve used many different planners over the years. I used one in high school to keep up with assignments and my work schedule. I used a different planner when I was in college to keep up with assignments, work, and church responsibilities. When I got married and started my job as a school teacher, I used yet another planner to keep up my plans for my students as well as my own home and family responsibilities. And when my children were born and (later) when I started homeschooling them, I went through a series of planners depending on my needs each year.
Over all those years of using so many different kinds of planners, one thing I learned is that there are some basic things I have to keep up with to stay organized no matter what’s going on in my life. Some of the planners I used helped me very much, and others were much less useful. What was the difference? There were a few basic things I needed to keep up with regularly, and I had to learn what those things were and how to keep track of them.
No matter what kind of planner you use to stay organized, you’ll need the ability to keep up with a few basic things:
Your Main Goal
First, you need to set one main goal for each day. If you don’t know what you’re shooting for, you can’t hit it!
Several Smaller Goals
Second, you need to set a few other goals to work toward–even if you don’t quite accomplish them. At least you can try to make some progress toward those goals.
Calls and Appointments
Third, you need to make sure to make any necessary phone calls and to keep important appointments. If I don’t write these things down, I’ll forget appointments and just fail to show up! Or I’ll leave someone waiting for me to call while I’m obliviously going on with my day without any idea that that person is waiting to hear from me.
To-Dos for Another Day
You also need to keep track of things that need to be done but which can wait for another day.
Time Spent on Different Activities
It’s also very helpful to have a way of keeping up with how much time you spend on different activities. It’s not that this makes a huge difference on that particular day, but it can definitely help you in the future when you need to think about how much time to set aside for particular activities.
Use our Productive Day Planner Page with whatever planner you enjoy using!
If you have a certain planner you enjoy using, we have a printable Productive Day Planner page that you can use along with whatever planner you currently use and love! If you don’t use a planner, you can simply print out the Productive Day Planner (It’s only one simple page.) to use by itself.
If you also want to be more productive, try our 14 Day Productivity Challenge!
Sometimes when I have a task or project to complete, I’m more motivated if I turn it into a friendly competition or even a challenge for myself. That’s one reason why I really love this 14 Day Productivity Challenge! It’s a fun way to jump-start using your Productive Day Planner Page.
The 14 Day Productivity Challenge is exactly what it sounds like! It’s a page with 14 challenges to work through. The challenges are meant to be done over 14 days, but you can do them over 14 weeks if you need to. Or some of the challenges may take a day and some may take several days or longer. It’s really up to you. No matter how quickly or slowly you complete the challenges, each step is a step in the right direction!