How to Set Up a Functional Planner

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Do you want to be super productive this year? It might shock you to learn that all you may need to achieve this is a functional planner. Planners can help you multitask as well as achieve all your goals, so it is in your best interest to make a functional planner.

How do you set up a functional planner? We’ll do our best to guide you through the process with our helpful guide.

Overhead shot of a daily planner with glasses and flowers

Setting Up Your Planner

While there are so many types of planners that you can buy or even get for free, the best type of planner is the one that suits your lifestyle. This means that the planner for you is the one that you customize yourself. Here are some awesome ways to customize a planner to help you become super productive:

Map Your Weekly Schedule

The week is a timeframe that is very important when planning. It is not short like a day, so you do not have to rush all your activities in your weekly planner. A week is also not too long like a month, so you cannot forget your weekly goals.

Setting up your weekly schedule is up to you and your activities. Do you have tasks with a deadline within the week? Are you planning to try something new in the coming week? Write your weekly schedule to reflect all the tasks that you’d like to achieve during the week.

Map Your Monthly Schedule

One way to remain consistent in planning your weekly schedule is to make a monthly plan. You should make your monthly plan to reflect the activities in each week of the month. When you are done planning the entire month, look for weeks that look filled with activities.

If you see any week that is filled with tasks, you can move some tasks (without a deadline) to another week that has fewer activities in the same month. As you can see, your monthly planner can help simplify your weekly planner.

writing appointments for the whole month in a planner

Track Your Monthly Progress

It is very important that before moving on to the next month, you should review the most recent month to find trends and patterns.

During which week of the month did you find it more difficult to complete your tasks? Why? What are tasks that you completed with ease? Answering these questions can help you to plan the next month to boost your productivity even further.

Write the Step-By-Step Process to Finish Your Projects or Goals

Having a goal is like having a wish list. While wish lists are fun to have and imagine, they are virtually unachievable if you do not plan how to achieve them.

It is good to write down your goals in your planner, but when writing your weekly or monthly schedule, do not write the goals. Instead, write the tasks involved to achieve these goals.

For example, do not write “lose some bodyweight” in your weekly plans. Instead, write the tasks that can help you to lose some weight like exercising and cutting out junk food.

Localize Your Strategy

One reason people fail to achieve their goals is that even the steps look too complex for them.

Imagine that you want to cook a new meal. You want to cook this meal, but when you check the recipe, you see some foreign ingredients that you have never seen before. This can discourage you and you will need more motivation to try to search for the strange ingredients.

high angle view of weekly planner on table.

Look at your goal like the recipe. If the tasks involved in achieving your goals look strange or too complex, it might be more difficult to achieve this goal. To help achieve your goals, plan them with easier tasks that you know and can reach. Write easy tasks in your functional planner instead of unknown tasks.

Index Your Planner

This step is also important, but it is for review. Sometimes, you may want to refer back to the past to try to find something important.

If you did not write dates or even a page number in your planner, it might be difficult to get what you are searching for. To help you review your past with ease, index your planner.

Always Take Notes of Your Ideas

Do you have an idea that you think can change the world for the better? Write it in your planner immediately. People forget some ideas when they do not write them down. Most of the time, you get some cool ideas or inspirations when you are not ready to pursue those goals.

When reviewing your planner in the future, you may come across your written ideas. If you did not write them down, they are gone.

Your Planner Should Be Close to Your Journal

If you use a journal to write down your daily activities, you should keep your planner and journal together.

It does not matter whether you are using a book or digital planner, always keep it close to your journal (most digital planners come with journals) so that you can easily check your plans and schedule while using your journal.

Review Your Year

A yearly review is just as important as a monthly review. You should pat yourself on the back for the success of the year.

Also, search for tasks or habits that were difficult to achieve. Plan how you can easily achieve them in the coming year.

2021 planner with goals written on black table

Organize Your Planner to Suit Your Needs

The best planner for you is one that you customize yourself. What is your preferred planner size? What would you like to keep in the pockets of your planner? Do you like the way your planner dashboard is? What about colorful stickers? Customize your planner to suit you so that using it is exciting for you.

Themed Planners Are Better Than All-Purpose Planners

To help you become more productive, you should consider having a theme for your planner. Instead of using your planner as a jotter, notebook, or journal, you should use it for its specific use; scheduling your tasks. It is more difficult to concentrate with a planner with too many uses.

Take Notes of Useful Reminders in Your Planner

You should dedicate a few pages in your book planners for reminders. It is better when you use digital planners because of their notification feature. Your planners should remind you of upcoming events as well as useful information that you will be needing later.

Try to Use Your Planner Everyday

You should use your planner regularly. As a tip, use it daily for three weeks straight. It can become a regular habit afterward and you will not have to stress yourself to remember. If you are using a digital planner, you should set up a notification to remind you to tick your checkboxes daily.

Now you know how to set up a functional planner. Your functional planner can be essential to boosting your growth and productivity.

Calendar Planner Agenda in laptop and planner notebook Schedule Concept

Why Do You Need a Functional Planner?

Have Enough Discipline to Complete Tasks without a Deadline

Do you have some personal projects that you are working on? Such projects can be difficult to finish because they do not have a deadline and maybe there is no one to push you to finish them.

You need motivation, discipline, and consistency to complete these tasks without a deadline. It is very possible to complete these tasks especially when you use a planner.

To Develop or Maintain a Healthy Habit

Would you like to exercise regularly? What about visiting a loved one? To help you remember these important tasks/habits as well as to have enough motivation to do the tasks, you will need a planner.

Without a functional planner, other activities might prevent you from doing these things.

Helps You to Multitask

Some people are natural multitaskers, but everyone can multitask with the right functional planner.

If you have a lot of activities scheduled for a specific day or week, you can finish them all with ease when you use a functional planner to plan which task you will do at a particular time of the day or day of the week.

Helps You to Know Your Schedule

What if someone is asking you to do something or go somewhere with them on Wednesday evening? How can you be sure that you are free by then? With a functional planner, you will know when you are free so that you can easily schedule a proper appointment with someone without disappointing them.

Review Your Life Data with Ease

How many years of experience do you have at work? If you say more than 10 years, it is only proper that you have over 10 years of experience and not just a year of experience repeated 10 times. To help you to improve career-wise (as well as in other aspects of life), you need to review your past activities to know what you should improve on and ways to simplify what you are already good at.

Functional planners truly have a lot of productive uses. What if you have a functional planner but you do not know how to become more productive with it?

Tips to Be More Productive with Your Planner

Here are some tips to help you to become more productive with your planner:

female sitting at table and writing notes in planner in office
  • It Is All About Strategy: Write down your strategy or the step-by-step process that can help you to achieve your goals. Do not rely on the vague ideas or goals that you have, break them down.
  • Set Mini-Goals: This is very important especially if you are working from home. Do you find it hard to do important tasks? Look for little tasks that you can do. These little wins can motivate you to complete bigger tasks.
  • Celebrate Your Little Wins: You should pat yourself on the back when you complete a task no matter how small it is. Do not wait for big tasks only.
  • Do Not Overestimate Your Expectations: While this can motivate you to achieve that task, do not overestimate your expectations. Celebrate your little wins no matter how small they may be so that even if they do not beat your expectations when you complete them, you still have the motivation to do more.
  • Move On to The Next Goal: Some people can become lazy when they complete a task or goal. You should celebrate your goals, but make sure that you start your next goal soon so that you do not become lazy.

Should You Use the Alastair Planner?

The Alastair planner is a to-do list method of planning in which you can plan your week or month quickly. This planner is super easy to use and you can use it in your functional planner to arrange your weekly, monthly, or yearly schedule.

What Is the Difference between Goal and Strategy?

Look at a goal like a wish list. It is what you want. Well, how do you get what you want? You need a plan or strategy. You use a strategy to achieve your goals. Note that you can achieve a goal with different types of strategies.

strategy concept to achieve goal

Should You Use a Digital or a Paper Planner?

It depends on your lifestyle and choice. If you are more of a book person, you should use a paper planner. If you prefer using a phone or PC, you should use a digital planner. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Final Thoughts

Setting up a functional planner is easy as long as you customize it to fit your specific lifestyle. Make sure that your monthly schedule reflects your weekly schedule and do not overwhelm yourself with tasks.

I hope that you get super productive with your functional planner.


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