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Like it old school? These 10 planners will keep you productive

Like it old school? These 10 planners will keep you productive

Productivity apps are easy to find, whether you want something on the web, your phone, or a tablet. But analog tools still have their place – for many people, the relaxation that comes with actually writing things down can’t be replaced. Plus, writing lights up more areas of your brain than typing does, helping you to make new connections and have new ideas. So for those of you who prefer your productivity tools to be paper-based, here’s ten of the best planners out there:

The Plum Paper Planner

The Plum Planner

    Price: $31

    The Plum Paper Planner gives you everything you need to keep your life on track for the next year, with monthly and weekly views, plenty of room for notes, and extra pages at the end to help you keep track of other details. You can personalize the front cover, picking your favorite design from the Etsy shop and then adding your name. It also comes in wedding planning, teacher, student, fitness/meal, and family editions.

    The Plum Planner's Page Options

      Standout features: As shown in the picture above, you get to choose which weekly layout you want out of four options – something that most other planners won’t let you do.

      The Day Designer

      Day Designer

        Price: $57-59

        The Day Designer might be one of the pricier options on this list, but that hasn’t stopped it from attracting a cult following. It was designed for busy women, moms, and creative professionals who want a way to keep track of everything in their life. If you want to give it a go, you can check out the free library of printables to see if it’ll work with your planning style before you buy a whole planner.

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        Standout features: The daily planning page features a spot to record gratitude daily (a great practice for many reasons), as well as the more usual space for to-dos and schedules. The planner also comes with goal-setting worksheets and summary pages to keep you on track.

        The Passion Planner

        The Passion Planner

          Price: $24.99-29.99

          The Passion Planner was originally created as an insanely successful (over $600,000 raised) Kickstarter campaign, and has become a full-fledged business in the time since. Its goal is to help you break down your long and short term goals into actionable steps, and give you a way to schedule those steps out on a day-to-day basis. You can also download an undated printable version, if you want to test it out.

          Standout features: It has a spot for the focus for each day and week, room for gratitude logging, separated to-do lists for work and personal life (so that each get the attention they deserve), and room for extra notes as well.

          The Spark Notebook

          The Spark Notebook

            Price: $25-35

            The Spark Notebook is the result of another over-funded Kickstarter campaign. The creator, Kate Matsudaira, wanted to create a notebook that had functionality as a productivity tool and looked good enough to carry into a high-powered meeting without being embarrassed. You can get a free printable version of the planner by sharing about the Spark Notebook on Facebook or Twitter via links at the site.

            Standout features: The Spark Notebook is undated, so you can start using it at any time. In addition to the normal yearly and monthly overview, it has a 30 day challenge space for each month, inspiration and questions for each week, and an achievement tracker to keep you on track. The pages are also perforated, letting you rip out a to-do list if you need to.

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            The Desire Map Planner

            The Desire Map Planner

              Price: $44

              The Desire Map Planner was created by author and speaker Danielle LaPorte, to help readers put the philosophies from her book the Desire Map into practice. It comes in daily and weekly versions, so you can pick the level of detail you want.

              Standout features: The focus of the Desire Map book is on realizing how you want to feel and orienting your life around it, and the planners are meant to help you do that. Instead of just having to dos, there are spaces for your core desired feelings, as well as affirmations and “soul prompts” on every page. If you want a holistic view of your life, this is the planner for you.

              The Freelancer Planner

              The Freelancer Planner

                Price: $23-27

                The Freelancer Planner is yet another Kickstarter success. The aim of this planner is to give freelancers one spot to keep track of everything related to their business in one spot, while training them into better business habits. If you’d rather print out your own planner, there’s a downloadable version at the site.

                Standout features: The monthly calendar view lets you keep track of all your client bookings, events, and income for the month. The weekly planning process also helps you sort out your tasks and figure out what should be a priority in your day-to-day work.

                Erin Condren’s LifePlanner™

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                Erin Condren LIfePlanner

                  Price: $50

                  The LifePlanner™ is an offering from Erin Condren’s brand, best known for its colorful design. The planners follow that colorful design, with bright colors everywhere from on the page to the covers to the organizational tabs. The planners come with a two-sided pocket folder and a bookmark.

                  Standout features: You can choose between two layouts (vertical, shown above, or horizontal), pick from a variety of covers, or even upload your own cover. The planners have a mix of lined pages, designer blank pages, graph pages, and motivational quotes to help you blend positivity and productivity into your life.

                  Brittany Garner’s Daily Desk Planner

                  gsdplanner

                    Price: $5

                    You might prefer a printable planner to a pre-bound one, whether it’s because you use a Filofax (or other DIY planner system) or just for sake of convenience. If that’s the case, Brittany Garner Design’s daily desk planner has you covered.

                    Standout features: Aside from the flexibility that comes with being a printable, this planner also has a spot for meals and exercise – something that’s easy to overlook while you’re trying to get work done! You can also note down ideas as they come up and use the schedule section to keep track of your appointments.

                    The Daily Planner Pack

                    Daily Printable Planner Pack

                      Price: $12.49

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                      Like the previous planner, this is a printable planner pack from Crossbow Printables. It contains more pages though – different views for daily and weekly tasks, a monthly and yearly view, a page for notes, a goal-setting worksheet, a meal planner, and more.

                      Standout features: This planner pack has the flexibility of choosing which views you prefer and being able to build your own customized planner. It also has sections for meals and water consumption on one of the daily pages, and there are enough different types that at least some of them will fit with your life, no matter what your needs are.

                      The Emergent Task Planner

                      The Emergent Task Planner

                        Price: $12-14

                        The Emergent Task Planner was created to help you find order in a chaotic workday. The planners are designed around the three ideas of focus, assessment, and time visualization. They come in different sizes and bindings, so you can choose one that works best for you (or print your own at home for free).

                        Standout features: In addition to keeping you focused on a limited number of tasks, the Emergent Task Planner also lets you make time estimates for how long things will take and then keep track of how long they actually take. This lets you become a better planner over time, giving you a more realistic view of what you can get done in a day.

                        The Behance Action Method Planners

                        Action Journal

                          Price: $6.50-17.50

                          The Action Method planners come in a variety of sizes and bindings, from small pads to larger journals (like the one pictured above). They use the Action Method of productivity planning, from Scott Belsky’s book Making Ideas Happen, which helps you to sort out tasks from notes and backburner items.

                          Standout features: The Action Method planners only have so much room to write down your tasks, so they force you to say ruthlessly focused. The dot-grid pages are great for designers or anyone who wants to take notes or sketches throughout their day, too.

                          Featured photo credit: Gwenaël Piaser via farm5.staticflickr.com

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                          Last Updated on November 12, 2020

                          Learn How to Be Productive and Happy With These 11 Tips

                          Learn How to Be Productive and Happy With These 11 Tips

                          A lack of productivity leads to a lack of happiness. When you can’t see yourself making progress or getting things done, you get anxious and become stressful. That’s why it’s so important to learn how to be productive.

                          There are also many things that contribute to unhappiness here: Facebook notifications, emails, texts, and chatty co-workers are just a small fraction of the disruptions we’re bombarded with. These “little things” can stack up fast and lead to hampering your happiness and productivity levels.

                          Learn how to be productive with the 11 tips below and reclaim your everyday productivity and your happiness, once and for all.

                          1. Be Happy Now

                          Life is too short. No matter what you’re doing or where you are, be happy now. Start by finding something to be grateful for; everyone has at least one good thing in their life, and most have many more.

                          Most of the world still has trouble getting access to clean drinking water…that means you can even be grateful for that bottle of Aquafina you’ve got on your desk right now.

                          2. Finish Your Day Before It Starts

                          Proper planning is the secret to peak productivity, and it’s also a good idea to set important goals daily. Get yourself a planning tool and prioritize your daily tasks with it in order to spend your time on important tasks.

                          If you know exactly what you have to do and the timeframe you want to complete it in, you’ll be well on your way to learning how to be productive.

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                          Here’s a smart technique on planning and prioritization: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                          3. Celebrate the Small Wins

                          Every time you check off a task from your to-do list, you release a “happy chemical” in your brain called dopamine. This gives you the motivation to move forward and do even more.

                          For example, after I finish writing this article, and I’ve crossed it off my list of things to do today, I’ll get a nice burst of “happy chemicals” releasing in my brain. The best part? Zero side effects!

                          4. Leverage Like There’s No Tomorrow

                          Look for ways to use the 80/20 rule by identifying tasks that you might be able to outsource or leverage out to a virtual assistant.

                          Stop wasting time doing things that don’t challenge you or ignite your passion. Hire out or automate anything and everything within your means.

                          Don’t be afraid to trust others with tasks you believe they can do. They’ll likely be happy for the opportunity, and you’ll feel better about lowering the amount of work you have to get done.

                          5. Recharge Your Batteries

                          Figure out how many hours of sleep your body needs and make sure you get it. Take time to stretch, walk, or relax in order to recharge throughout the day and after work.

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                          One study found that the best way to ensure consistent productivity throughout the day is to work for about 50 minutes, followed by a 15-20 minute break[1]. As you’re trying to learn how to be productive, follow this pattern to get started[2].

                          Take breaks to be more productive

                            Here are some simple ways to relax completely and get rid of stress.

                            6. Become an Early Riser

                            This is one of the most underused productivity “hacks” on the planet. Ever since I decided to start waking up at 5am every day, my productivity levels and happiness have gone up dramatically.

                            Most people aren’t up that early, so no one can bother you or disrupt you from what you want to do. A productive person will use this time to exercise, meditate, or get a head start on their day.

                            7. Do Work You’re Passionate About

                            Make it your goal to blur the line between work and play by doing more things you’re passionate about. This promotes happiness both inside and outside of the workplace.

                            Find what you’re passionate about and do it, even if it’s just through a hobby. Make time for the things you love and learn how to be productive more easily.

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                            8. Use Time Blocks

                            When I wrote this article, I gave myself a one hour time block. This prevents unnecessary dilly-dallying, like updating your social media and checking email. Instead, start developing better work habits and manage your time for a more productive day.

                            There are plenty of apps that can help you do this, or you can simply set an alarm on your phone so you know when you can take a break and enjoy some free time. During your set time block[3], do your best to eliminate distractions. Find a quiet space, declutter your desk, and create a short to-do list to keep you on track.

                            Time Blocking for Productivity

                              9. Avoid Interruptions

                              Interruptions are among the biggest barriers to both productivity and happiness. Every time you’re interrupted in the middle of a task, your level of productivity takes a hit.

                              We’ve all been there: you’re fully immersed in an important project until all of a sudden the workplace chatterbox appears out of nowhere and starts talking the crazy night they had last weekend. By the time s/he’s gone, you’ve already forgotten where you were, and it takes 30 minutes to get back on track.

                              Avoid this by letting people know that you’ve got important work that’s got to be done.

                              Learn more about how to stay focus in this guide: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

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                              10. Shut Down the Digital Disruptions

                              iPhones, mailbox notifications, Twitter, Facebook, and everything that pops, slides, or fades in and out of your screen has got to go. Shut them down and focus when you want to learn how to be productive.

                              It’s as easy as turning off the notifications or scheduling only a specific time to check all these notifications and texts.

                              11. Measure Your Success

                              Every now and then, it’s a good idea to measure your results and see how things are coming along.

                              How’s your progress? Are you moving in the right direction? It’s always a good idea to track your progress regularly.

                              Of course, in order to track you progress, you need to set specific milestones so you know that you’re on your way to achieving any big or small goal.

                              The Bottom Line

                              With these 11 effective tips, you’ll learn how to be productive and find more time to do the things that make you happy.

                              Start small and take up each suggestion one-by-one. That way, you can boost your productivity, and create joy along the way.

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                              Featured photo credit: Emma Dau via unsplash.com

                              Reference

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