Like many people, January, for me, is an opportunity to set new goals. And often my professional goals have an overarching theme: Be more productive.
To that end, every year I go out and buy a pretty new planner that I can use to jot down my tasks. Somehow I thought just having a planner would magically make me productive, that my time management issues would just melt away.
Of course, you can own a planner complete with highlighted dates and sticky notes and still not get done anything that actually matters.
I was often plagued with this problem. I would write down my to-dos in no particular order, listing them out as they popped into my head. On busy days, my to-do list might be 10 or 15 bullet points long. I'd have important deadlines for work penciled in right next to due dates for bills and outings with friends. There was no rhyme or reason, just whatever I had wanted to get done that day was scribbled there.
It lacked prioritization and provided no strategy for time-management, so I had a warped sense of what I could actually accomplish in a day.
Then I got a new planner from my boyfriend, who is always finding small and sneaky ways to make my life easier. It was the tool I didn't even know I needed, and it changed the game for me.
It's called the Productivity Planner by Intelligent Change (for $24.95). What it does for me that other planners haven't, is provide a realistic planning method on how to tackle my to-do list instead of just a pretty page on which to write it.