Choosing a Planning Method for You

Planning is a fundamental skill that applies to all creative pursuits and is centered around or developed with a strong understanding of its importance. If you’re not scheduled and structuring out your day, it’s challenging to stay organized and productive while trying to get everything done.

Having said that, MPS is here to provide you with a handful of methods, digital or manual, that way you can find what works for you.

1. Digital Planning

There’s a million platforms out there, and some of the most common are Apple and Google Calendars. If you’re someone who likes alerts to remind you of what you need to know, this would be ideal. An example of Apple Calendar planning would look something like this:

photo by Annissa Khanna

This way, you’re able to allocate time and visualize your day, to ensure you are getting everything done. On top of that, you can sync your devices together, and add the events on whatever you have on hand. You can also use a monthly spread or weekly spread, which are self explanatory. Use what works best with your schedule and helps you stay on top of your work.

2. Weekly Planning

You could use a planner or a weekly spread of some form, anything you have on hand, to lay out your week if you find it practical to approach tasks one week at a time. This is best for those who have a certain amount they’d like to get done each week, and helps you break it up a little at a time each day.

3. Monthly Planning

For those who work at their best with deadlines, monthly planning where you can see all four weeks at a glance is beneficial to finishing projects and starting new ones. At the same time, if you’re not someone who’s very busy, having a monthly calendar is just the right amount of scheduling you’d need without being too chaotic.

4. Hourly Planning/Time Blocking

This is probably the most popular method of planning, however if you choose this, make sure it’s genuinely helping you. If you’re a full time college student and managing a job, this could help with keeping your day productive if you tend to put things off and hours in your day seem to just disappear. This method ensures you’re using the hours in your day to make your schedule, the way you would have in a traditional academic day.

Make sure you’re setting enough time, but not too much, because if you set too much time to complete a task and you complete it sooner, you’ll lose your flow and drift off during the remaining time. Time blocking can be effective if you need it and if you are disciplined enough to stick to your plan.

5. To Do Lists

If none of these methods appeal to you, it’s likely you’re the type of person that just needs a to-do list they can cross off each day. It’s self explanatory - write down everything you need to do in your day and cross them off as you finish. Even though it’s one of the simplest planning methods, it’s one of the most effective. Crossing things off develops awareness of a sense of accomplishment in the process.

6. Wall Calendar/Desk Planner

This method is for those that don’t either remember/choose to check their planner or electronics as a result of desiring something in front of them. Hanging a wall calendar on your desk in front of you makes sure every time you sit down to work, you have it in front of you. The only downside to this is you won’t have it with you on the go, but if it works for you, it can be a good idea. A desk planner is the same concept, except you can afford to have one much thicker that goes into further detail, as you won’t have to carry it anywhere when it stays on your desk.

7. iPhone Reminder System

If you’re the one that’s always on your phone, setting reminders and alarms may work for you. Make sure you turn your phone on vibrate when you’re in crowded places to prevent disruption, and remind yourself enough in advance. For example, if you have an appointment that’s 20 minutes away, don’t remind yourself at the time of your appointment because you’ll already be late.

photo by Justina Brandt

At the end of the day, planning is ineffective if you don’t start doing. Make sure the reason you’re planning is to ensure productiveness, not force it. Take less time to plan and more time to do.

With that, your day is bound to be fulfilling!

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