I often get asked how I manage to stay organised throughout the year and honestly, my number one tip is to invest in a diary or planner, so today I wanted to go into more detail on how I set out my diary for the year ahead and the benefits of writing everything down!
1. First step - write down your personal details at the front of the diary. If you ever leave it behind in the library or lose it, a very kind someone will be able to call you to give it back!
2. My current diary for 2018 is set out as a day per page, so the first thing I do is write down my daily to-do list in the bottom notes section (because with a day per page layout I finally have the room!) and then I begin to schedule them for the day ahead and allocate specific times to complete them. This is the best way to get all your events/priorities out onto the page which then lets you focus on actually executing them.
3. Learn from my mistake and write everything down in pencil. In the past I have written in pen and as soon as a meeting changes or something is rescheduled, I find my diary starts to look messy. It’s ok to add some colour afterwards, but I use pencil so that it’s easier to ammend.
4. The start of the year is the best time to write in what you want to make more time for. For example, I have scheduled in “date night” every Friday so that my gorgeous fiancé and I ensure it always happens and we don't end up working late or neglecting ourselves! Schedule birthdays, time with friends and holidays for the entire year so that you have something to look forward to, and to also hold yourself accountable to having some “me time” rather than burning yourself out with work and then realising you should have allocated more time to do the things you wanted.
5. At the back of my diary there is also a page of stickers – birthdays, to-do, follow up, me-time (my personal favourite) - I had never used stickers to decorate my planners before but they are definitely going to be an addition this year as I find them to be a really handy and a neat way to keep to my commitments. For example, the “follow up” sticker is perfect to pop in the diary with a name and number next to it!
6. I always try to find diaries that come with inspirational quotes as this is something that I absolutely love (and it also inspires me for my weekly quote newsletter!). Not only do I love sharing them all with you all, but I use them as my own little source of encouragement each month.
7. I find that I personally need a page per day layout, however a weekly layout section is also really important, since it helps me to write down the key things for each day and have a visual representation for the entire week. In addition to my diary, I chose to also invest in a weekly desk planner for this reason and it definitely makes all the difference!
I hope these tips help you to start your year off fresh, keep focused and prepared to SMASH the entire year ahead!