Tips for day planning that actually work

2022 is just around the corner and this is the peak time when Day/ Month/ Year planners sell. Let’s be frank, the number of day planners sold between Dec 15 — Jan 15 would be higher than what is sold during the entire year.

Day planning is one of the good habits that is most affected by gadgets. There are numerous day planners available in App-stores. In a world where we have the option to choose a day planner which can either be a notepad, a diary, or software in your handheld devices, the question of importance is “Which one of these actually works?”. I won’t beat around the bush and give you a simple straight answer, “None”. Day planners never worked. It is you who has to work, who has to plan and implement. Day planners merely help in organising what you think, plan, and do. The clarity of your thoughts, goals and plans automatically goes into the planner and then it again enters your lifestyle.

Once you know that to make the day planner work, you should be clear. The next step is becoming clear and thankfully I have some simple questions with me that can help you become clear in the next 5 minutes.

  1. What is your purpose for day planning?

Yes, the first and most simple question. A day planner is not supposed to be your journal where you log all your daily activities, emotions, and thoughts. It is not a memory stack to accumulate all events that happened in your day. Rather it is a place where you organise what is important for you on a particular date and actions that you have to make at certain times. If you simply wish to log all your daily events in anything, don’t call that a day planner and refer to it as a journal.

2. How to plan?

The second part which is how to plan is divided into two subparts. Knowing the big plan and writing the big plan.

2a. Knowing the big plan

Day planners are not effective if you are drifting in life without any envisioned goal or objective. In such lifestyles, you will do one thing one day and put your energy in a different task on some other day. You are not going toward one realisable goal and thus the chances of landing at any desired future are slim. You can’t reach somewhere unless you walk towards it.

Knowing the big plan in your life is important. If not for life than at least for a month, quarter, year or short span is important. Once you know what you wish to do in the near future or the far future then it is always easy to plan your path towards it. It can be building a lean body, getting selected in some university, starting your own venture, and so on.

2b. Writing the big plan

Once you have the near future or far future goal in mind then you can make an effective day planner.

Understand where you are and what you need to do to arrive at your goal, that is your path toward your desired future. Split the path into simple achievable tasks divided in periodic times. For each task set sub-tasks that you can do and which can aid you to complete the task. These tasks have to be formed so that they are achievable in days. Plan your days accordingly.

3. Getting your tasks in your day planner

The final part is simply getting your subtasks and tasks in your day planner. You need not write every single event that you are going to do in that day rather mention the ones that you don’t wish to forget. You can put what time you plan to wake up, then what you would do during the day and what time you plan to sleep. All these things should be mentioned in light of your subtasks and tasks.

Now your day planner is only aiding you to fit your subtasks and tasks in your busy schedule such that you don’t drop them when faced with a busy schedule and urgent time-consuming activities.


Currently, I am working for 8 hours a day as a researcher and do my own reading for another 2 hours. I sleep for 8 hours and spend some time with baby (say around 2 hours). Rest 4 hours are spent on daily chores.

I wish to build a healthy lifestyle with good physique. Then my short-term goal would be to get a good physique.

I will lay down the path for building a healthy lifestyle and a good physique from my current level. It can be cutting down sugars, eating good diets, exercising 20 minutes a day in starting times, followed by 1 hour and 2 hours in consecutive months. I will also require to trim down my prolonged sitting times, need to get regular haircuts and shaves, etc.

Now I need to split the path into tasks and arrange the tasks in order of priority (what i need to do first followed by later ones).

Task 1: Cutting Sugars & Unhealthy food

Task 2: Warm-up exercises & Building Good food habits

Task 3: Increasing workout intensity and so on.

Getting these tasks in my day planner would look like.

I can start my day early (when the baby is sleeping) and introduce the exercise time during early morning hours. The time that I spend with my baby can be divided in multiple times of day (like while eating, watching TV, Interacting with other family members), the time that i spend in research needs to be curtailed (which now would require me to increase my efficiency) and the reading that I am doing would need to be curtailed or focused to cover only the important things.

Thus my entire day schedule has been rearranged to accommodate what I wish to get in near term.

The day planner for everyone will look different and the focus should be on adding your subtasks which actually matter to you (not in adding events that are going to happen during that day)



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store