February 4, 2003
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Discover the secret of savvy business executives-a good day planner can make you more productive and free up more time for the things you really enjoy. With the hectic lives we lead even around the house, why not unleash the power of a day planner to help organize every phase of your life? Follow these tips for using a business-type day planner to make your job as the household CEO a little easier.
Choose a Good Planner
Invest a little time to find the day planner that's right for you. There is a wide variety of paper-based day planners and hand-held, electronic organizers that can perform many functions.
Browse through the choices at your local office supply store, and ask friends who use planners for advice. Also investigate your options online by entering key words "day planners" and "personal digital assistants" (PDAs) into your search engine.
Regardless of which planner you choose, it should include:
An annual calendar
A monthly planner
A weekly planner
A daily planner with hourly increments
Pages for notes, telephone numbers and other informationMake Your Planner the One SourcePump up the power of your planner by making it the one source for information on everyone's schedules and activities. Get in the habit of entering all important information into your planner first. Then, transfer key events onto the family calendar or bulletin board in the kitchen if you need to. You might even want to call a weekly planning meeting with the entire family to get everyone's input at one time.
Also carry your planner with you at all times so you can enter any schedule changes or other information immediately.
Plan by Month, Week & Day
Take the basic "To Do" list a step further to get truly organized at home. Start by creating a list of things to be done this month. Enter specific dates and times you know such as a dentist appointment or school concert. Prioritize, and separate the "must do's" from the wish list of things you'd like to accomplish if time permits.
Use your monthly list to develop more detailed "To Do" lists for each week and finally, a daily schedule with specific times assigned for each thing you want to accomplish that day.
Estimate Your Time
Creating a daily schedule will sharpen your time estimation skills. As you first start using your planner, take a mental journey through your day and estimate how long each appointment, chore and activity will take. Then evaluate how accurate your estimates were at the end of the day.
If the schedule deteriorated, what happened to cause it? Did you simply underestimate the time it would take you to complete something, or were there circumstances beyond your control that likely won't happen again?
Accurate time estimates make your daily schedule more realistic which ultimately will make you more productive. But, remember there are always going to be little glitches in even the best-planned days, so expect the unexpected and plan for changes in priorities and schedules.
Daily Organizing System For a stationary version of a day planner, try using a folder system of organization using a board, chopsticks and file folders. Using this system, start your day by checking that day’s file folder. Put everything you will need for meetings or appointments that day in the folder. You can also place things that need to be followed-up on, calls that need to be made or notes to write. At the end of the day, put anything you didn’t finish in the next day’s folder.
31 file folders
Glue, if needed
1. Start off by drilling two rows of 32 holes into your board, spacing the rows far
enough apart to provide support for a file folder.
2. Put chopsticks into the holes and glue, if necessary, to hold them in place.
3. Take file folders and number them 1 to 31 for each day of the month.
4. Place folders in order by number between the chopsticks.
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