I talk about my love for and use of the Simplified Planner A LOT (like a lot a lot), so I frequently get asked questions about how I use it. (I never mind answering because I LOVE talking about my favorite productivity tool and look for any opportunity to gush about it!! #sorrynotsorry 😍)
One question that I get quite often is:
How do you use your Simplified Planner for life AND business?
Which says to me 2 things:
- People are surprised that you can use just one planner for everything.
- People aren’t really sure how to use just one planner for everything.
If you’re one of those people, don’t fret!!
In this post, I’m sharing all my best tips for using your Simplified Planner for life AND business WITHOUT losing track of your tasks (or your marbles) in the process!!
This includes the one thing that I think is KEY to using your planner for both successfully. #keepreading 🤓
(This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase using these links.)
FIRST THINGS FIRST: MY HISTORY WITH THE SIMPLIFIED PLANNER
You should know that I have been using the Simplified Planner for YEARS now. I was an early adopter back when it had a monogrammed plastic cover aka the very first edition and again the following year when it was a binder you filled with pre-printed paper packs and pretty dividers. (Oh yea, we go waaaayyyy back!! 🤩)
I then went on a little planner discovery journey for a few years where I tried everything from The Day Designer to planners I found at Target and Staples. I was basically The Goldilocks of Planners looking for the one that was juuuusssst right. That is until I chose simplify as my word of the year for 2016 and found my way back to the Simplified Planner.
It had undergone many changes by that point and so it felt both brand new and like coming home all at the same time. It had been designed minimally on purpose so that every girl in every season could use it. And within just a few weeks of using it again, I knew I never wanted to be without it.
Read More: How to Use the Simplified Planner (And Why I Love It)
MY BEST TIPS FOR USING THE SIMPLIFIED PLANNER FOR LIFE AND BUSINESS
I always say that the Simplified Planner changed my life and business in 2016… because it did.
You see, my to-do lists used to be pages and pages long and I used to end my workdays kicking myself for not getting everything done. But the Simplified Planner doesn’t allow for that. The daily pages have an hour-by-hour schedule that begins at 6am and ends at 9pm (perfect for time blocking tasks into your day) and a blank to-do list (with the same number of lines) running right alongside it (perfect for listing related or miscellaneous to-dos).
I quickly learned that my to-do list was NOT my wishlist and that I needed to seriously CUT BACK the number of things I was trying to do each day. I learned how to keep my to-do lists accomplishable and my schedule reasonable. And you will, too, if you let the Simplified Planner help you!!
Read More: How to Make the Most of Your Paper Planner
TIP #1: DON’T PUT MORE THAN WHAT YOU CAN FIT ON THE PAGE
Generally, I follow the Top 3 Rule because science says 3 main tasks a day are all we can realistically handle. I figure out what my 3 main tasks (or must do to-dos) are ahead of time and then schedule them into the hour-by-hour schedule on the daily page. I add to-dos related to those 3 main tasks and other mini (or miscellaneous) to-dos (like call CVS and email so-and-so) onto the to-do side of the page.
If you run out of lines, you’re probably trying to pack too much into your day. Assign those tasks to another day.
TIP #2: MIX YOUR PERSONAL TASKS WITH YOUR BUSINESS TASKS
But ONLY if you use different color pens, highlighters, or stickers so you can quickly tell the difference between them.
How you color-code tasks in your planner is completely up to you!! Personally, I like to use color-coding stickers because they stand out, but don’t mess with the tasks and to-dos I’ve written down. I like to write all of my tasks in black ink, check off the ones I complete with pink ink, and use the color-coding stickers as follows:
In my opinion, the color-coding stickers are KEY to using the Simplified Planner for life and business without losing track of your tasks (or your marbles) in the process!!
TIP #3: KEEP THINGS SIMPLE
What I love most about the Simplified Planner is that it’s not overwhelming, complicated, or demanding (like some other planners out there). It’s simple. So I urge you to keep it that way!!
I don’t use a lot of stickers (aside from the color-coding dots) in my planner because they can be distracting. But I do occasionally like to use Simplified’s colorful doodle stickers, variety pack stickers, and sticker book to draw my attention to things on the daily pages or monthly page spreads. I never use so much that I can’t read what I’ve written down for tasks and to-dos though.
I also make sure the actual writing of my tasks and to-dos is simple. Detailed, but simple. I’ll draw in arrows to indicate my time blocks and write in things like “work on SP blog post” instead of just “blog post” so I know exactly what I’m working on and when (as you can see in the photo of my planner below).
Read More: My Favorite Planner Accessories (And How I Use Them)
TIP #4: PUT YOUR PLANNER WHERE YOU’LL REMEMBER TO USE IT // USE IT MOST
Don’t you dare put your Simplified Planner on a shelf, in a drawer, or back in the pretty navy box it came in. You put that planner in the place you’re going to use it most!!
I think Emily Ley said it best, “If you have ANY planner and you’re forgetting to use it… the problem isn’t the planner, the problem is you’re forgetting to use it.”
Your planner should live within inches of your fingertips wherever you spend your time most. If some of your days are spent running errands, working from coffee shops, or at an office/workspace outside of your house, I know for a fact that the Simplified Planner travels really, really well!! (But you might also want to get yourself a Simplified Planner Pouch, which fits both the Daily and Weekly SPs to keep it from getting too banged up.)
In case you were wondering, I spend most of my days in my home office and my planner lives in the upper right-hand corner of my desk (next to my tumbler of water and cute coffee cup) so I can constantly check in with it throughout the day.
Related Post: How to Use a Digital Calendar and Simplified Planner Together
TIP #5: YOU MUST CONSISTENTLY USE YOUR SIMPLIFIED PLANNER
…if you want it to do its job for you (in this case, change your life and business).
Emily Ley also said, “A planner is not going to change your life. YOU can change your life with a planner as your tool.”
Friends, NO planner is going to magically make you more productive, organized, or on top of things just by buying it. You have to actually and consistently USE IT by making it part of your daily routine!!
When I sit down at my desk in the morning, my planner is the first thing I reach for. (Yep, even before I wake up my computer.) Throughout the day, it sits open right beside me so I can check off tasks and to-dos as I do them. At the end of the day, it’s the last thing I touch because I’m writing out my schedule and list of to-dos for the next day as part of my end of day routine.
It is (quite literally) an essential part of my every day and I can’t imagine doing life or business without it!!
Read More: How to Set Up Your Simplified Planner for Success
You guys, there’s a REASON I say the Simplified Planner is my #1 productivity tool… because it really did change my life and business for the better all those years ago!!
Which is why you’ll find me setting about a dozen alarms for #10amEDT for Simplified Planner launch day in the fall!! (That’s when the Calendar Year Editions go on sale and I’m a Calendar Year Daily Girl forever and ever and always… AMEN!! 😉)
Read More: Is the Simplified Planner Right for Me? Your Questions Answered!!
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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own. I only share about the products and services I personally use and love most and think you will too!!