Links to an editable daily planning guide appear in this article. Tips for using the guide are included.

Other than coffee, one thing that gets me through any day is my calendar. Is your calendar working for you? Do you prefer having your day planned to the minute or just a big, general idea of your tasks? I don’t think there is any right way, as long as it helps you.

Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.

– Alan Lakei

If the day seems to be getting away from you, here is an editable daily planning form to help you stay on task and keep track of what you’ve been doing. There are two pages in this Google doc, one has times and the other has periods of the day.

How to Use the Daily Planning Guide

Do Today: Write in what you are doing for the day, classes, meetings, etc. The form works well to track your time too. You can add what you’ve done and break it into smaller time increments.

Top Priorities: There are 3 empty boxes here. The fewer “priorities” you have, the better. Add what you really need to be focused on. A big phone call? Planning an event? You might be tempted to list all the things you need to do, but keep it simple. You will be much more productive if you are focused on fewer items.

Notes: Pretty straightforward, a space to jot down any notes or thoughts.

Calls & Emails: Although I can go back, star and flag emails, I still like a paper-pencil record of who I’ve called or emailed. I can check it off or look back on past days.

Goals: A consistent remark I read about goals: write them down. Seeing them every day to remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing is like looking at a compass: it sets the direction for your day. You might use the space to write a big annual goal or you could use it for a more focused weekly or daily goal. Whatever works best for you.

Ideas: I like to record ideas I have, I sometimes think of a random way to use some book or a class activity. Adding it to a daily sheet helps jog my memory.

If you don’t already have an effective daily planning system, I hope you can give this one a try. There is no one right way to plan, as long as it is working for you.

How do you plan your day? Do you like using a computer or do you prefer an old-school paper-pencil planner? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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