4 Ways to use your Planner JUST Right

I recently bought the Productivity planner on an impulse buy after discovering them on Instagram. I had been searching for a bullet journal for a while that wasn’t too bulky to carry around and neither too light either.

Fast forward 2 weeks, I started using it almost rigorously at work as well as home. Yet, in spite of following the Pomodoro technique as well as listing the tasks in order of importance, I wasn’t getting my stuff done and each task seemed to just get carried over for the next day.

1. Not breaking down the task in hand enough

I realized I was clubbing together entire mini tasks under one main task and hence was falling behind. For e.g. if I had to get an animation done by the end of the day, I was simply writing down “Animation for xx client” and randomly assigning a time slot that I THOUGHT it would take.

To solve this, I started breaking the main task up into the different areas: Research, setting up source files and images. This worked out MUCH better and gave a much more realistic estimation.

2. Following the Pomodoro technique

The planner I bought revolved around using the Pomodoro technique (25 minutes slots for dedicated tasks). However, I quickly found out, that this didn’t work for me even after I broke down my “to-dos”

To get around this, I reversed the technique. Instead of setting a timer and then working to complete the task assigned within the time slot, I simply started working, and tracked how much time was being spent. In essence, I was giving myself freedom to take my time to complete the task AND I was checking off items WITHIN the time slot as well!

3. Slide the tasks 

Every morning, I would start listing the tasks in order of importance, (some were constant, or were something I knew I had to do for an ongoing project) however during the day, new jobs would pop up that were more urgent or had a stricter deadline.

Initially, I wasn’t too happy about scribbling them down and then jumping the list to complete them as I wanted to complete the tasks in order (minor OCD) since that was the purpose of a Planner.

However, after a couple of days, I realized that this worked out better for me as I could  complete the jobs that were relatively quick and then switch to one of the longer ones.

This prevented me from getting bored as well as got the job done!

4. Being too rigid

Anyone who’s worked as a designer knows that requests fly in throughout the work day in the form of emails or simply from people sitting around you. Some of those are “Urgent” whereas others can be pushed back for later.

Tip: write them all down as they come in. I started using Sticky notes in mine and creating my own circles for time slots because I had used up the 5 slots given. If you don’t get to them for that day, they can always be swapped over to the next page.