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 of 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 may contain 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 yeah, 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 2017 and found my way back to the Simplified Planner.
It had undergone many changes by that point—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.
Related Post: Why the Simplified Planner is the Only Planner I Use
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 2017… 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 wish list 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!! 🤗
Related Post: 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 in prescription refill 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 dot 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 with black pen, check off the ones I complete with pink pen, and use the color-coding dot stickers as follows:
- Fuchsia Pink for business meetings and appointments
- Medium Pink for my morning routine
- Light Pink for business education and self-development
- Yellow for tasks related to content creation
- Green for client work, meetings, and related tasks
- Light Blue for tasks related to The Systems Shop and product creation
- Medium Blue for my evening routine
- Teal for exercise and other self-care activities
- Navy for personal events and appointments
In my opinion, the color-coding dot stickers are KEY to using the Simplified Planner for life and business without losing track of your tasks (or your marbles) in the process!!
Bonus Tip: If you want to see a little more separation between your life and business tasks, you can write your life tasks starting at the top of the to-do section and your business tasks from the bottom of the to-do section. But make sure you leave ONE LINE in between completely blank!!
Related Post: How to Use a Digital Calendar and Simplified Planner Together
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 you can absolutely use stickers from the Simplified sticker book to draw attention to things on the daily pages or monthly page spreads. (Just don’t use so much that you can’t read what you’ve written down for tasks or must-do to-dos. )
I also make sure the way that I WRITE in my planner is simple. Detailed, but simple.
I’ll draw 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.
Related Post: My Favorite Planner Accessories (And How I Use Them)
TIP #4: PUT YOUR PLANNER WHERE YOU’LL REMEMBER TO USE IT OR 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 where you’ll REMEMBER to use it or where you’ll 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 so I can check in with it throughout the day.
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 this, “A planner is not going to change your life. YOU can change your life with a planner as your tool.”
Reality Check: 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!! 🥰
Related Post: How to Set Up Your Simplified Planner So You Actually Use It
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 10am EDT 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!! 😉)
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