This free productivity planner will help you
- be more productive
- stop procrastination and do the important things you’ve been postponing
- reduce stress substantially
- promote self-care
We also offer a free yearly productivity tracker and planner
Both productivity planners are free and can be downloaded instantly!
The best productivity planners will focus not only on productivity but also on other aspects of your life that will affect your productivity if you don’t deal with them such as self-care, your relationships, wellness, etc. Our free planners focus on all that and more!
Daily Productivity Planner
How will the productivity planner benefit you?
It will make you more productive, stop procrastination and do the important things you’ve been postponing, reduce stress substantially and promote self-care.
How does it make you more productive?
The planner uses time management strategies from other systems in addition to the time-blocking system. It is like taking the best ideas from all productivity systems and creating one perfect planner to make you super productive and effective.
How does it make you get the important things done?
The planner focuses on the “important but not urgent” quadrant from Steven Covey’s time management matrix. You first define what is important to you (page 4) and then you schedule these things before you schedule anything else. These are sacred time blocks that you cannot postpone.
How does it reduce stress?
The planner uses the methods described in GTD to free your mind for stress-free productivity. It gets things off your mind and onto the planner. You will only really free your mind when you know that the ideas you come up with will be addressed when they become relevant and you don’t need to keep thinking about them. The planner ensures that you follow up and nothing falls between the cracks.
How does it help promote self-care?
We often focus on productivity and take our bodies for granted. The planner encourages you to block off time for self-care before you schedule your work.
Why is a paper planner better than an app or software?
You can use an app or software to organize your weekly lists. However, when you use your phone or your computer to write down “distraction lists” to record things that pop up when you are trying to focus, then you are bombarded with other distractions. You see how many emails or messages are waiting for your attention and it is far more difficult to focus. When you write your thoughts on paper and transfer them later you will be much more focused and productive during time blocks.
You can take our step-by-step course to show you how to use the planner and reap all the benefits it provides.
How to use this planner
The First Time You Use This Planner
- Weekly priorities – think about what you want to include in this list.
- Future lists – add important events to the future lists such as birthdays, future events you will need to prepare for, etc.
Weekly Planning – Every Sunday
Before the week begins sit down to plan your week.
- Weekly tasks – complete your weekly tasks list.
- Weekly time block schedule – move all weekly tasks to your schedule.
- Monthly calendar for that month – revise to see if you have any open items.
Daily Planning – Evening before or the morning of the day
Review your daily plan each day to understand what you have planned and revise it if necessary. If you are using a weekly schedule, you might want to break it down to create a more detailed daily schedule.
- Daily time block schedule
Review the “Unscheduled tasks” and “ideas” list from the day before and move them to the relevant list. Move them to the:
– Future tasks if they need to be scheduled in the future
– Weekly tasks for next week to schedule for the next week
– Weekly schedule to schedule for this week
– Someday/maybe if you don’t want to do it in the near future but want to keep it in mind.
Each Day – During the day
Each day, you will use your time block schedule to plan your day and understand exactly what to do that day.
- Daily time block schedule (or weekly if you are scheduling on a weekly basis)
- Unscheduled tasks
- Urgent to do today keep these 3 lists accessible and add to them if
- Ideas thoughts pop into your mind during time blocks
In between time blocks or at the end of the day
Deal with the things you have added that must be done that day.
- Urgent to do today – this is where you wrote urgent things that were not scheduled but must be done today
This section covers the things that are important but not urgent.
These are non-negotiable tasks you want to prioritize. They could include self-care, exercise, quality time with your children or partner, family meals, etc.
Move these activities to your time block schedule.
If you ever want to blow off these appointments ask yourself if you would do that if the appointment was with an important client or a friend. Would you schedule a meeting with them and not show up?
This page includes all the tasks you want to schedule for your week.
Task: Describe the task. It must be specific and actionable.
Time: How long should it take? In the beginning, schedule more time than you think you’ll need until you get a better idea of how much time things actually take to complete.
Day: What day do you want to schedule it?
Priority: How important is this task? Use a system such as ranking priority from 1-5 or any other system you prefer.
Goal: What are you trying to do? What goal does this task serve? This helps you ensure that the task is important and that it will serve your goals but it also helps you ensure that you time is balanced and that you are working on all your goals.
You should always have two copies of this chart:
for the current week and the next week.
This section is for collecting tasks that come up while you are in the middle of executing a time block.
Write them here and deal with them later to prevent distraction.
Adding the task to this list will get it off your mind and enable you to go back to your time block.
You don’t fill in the details such as time, day, priority, and goal at this stage. You add those at a later stage when you plan your day or week.
The “scheduled?” column will help you see which tasks have been moved over to a time block and which ones still need to be dealt with.
The following page must be easily accessible when you are executing a time block.
Urgent to do Today
This section is for writing down things you want to do that day. These are things that suddenly come to mind and you don’t want to put them in the unscheduled tasks or ideas since they can’t wait until you have time to process them.
Write them here and deal with them later on in the day to prevent distraction.
When you write it here you will get it off your mind and this will enable you to go back to your time block.
This section is for collecting ideas that come up while you are in the middle of executing a time block.
Write them here and deal with them later to prevent distraction. Adding the idea to this list will get it off your mind and enable you to go back to your time block.
You don’t fill in the details such as priority and goal at this stage. You add those at a later stage when you plan your day or week.
The “implement?” column will help you decide if this is something you want to implement or if it isn’t worth your time. We often have ideas at the spur of the moment but when we sit down to think about them they are not really worth pursuing.
What’s the difference between an idea and a task? An idea is similar to a project (such as “learn about a specific topic”) and a task is actionable (read a book about this topic or take a course).
The following page must be easily accessible when you are executing a time block.
This section is where you build your time blocks.
How to build a time block schedule
There are 3 different templates. Choose the one that will work best for you.
The purpose of the weekly planning session is to determine what your highest priorities for the week are and then focus on them.
1. Firstly, move your weekly priorities to the schedule if you haven’t already done that. If these activities repeat themselves weekly then make a copy of your schedule before you move on to the next step.
2. Move any meetings, commitments, or appointments you have already scheduled to your time block grid. Include travel time and prep time. This will show you how much time you have available.
3. Mark off the times that you want to keep free (for example, if you stop working at 6 PM then mark off all times after 6 PM).
4. Mark the times when you are most productive or focused. Use a highlighter pen or mark a little star in the corner of the block. This could be the morning if you are most focused in the morning or the time when you know you will be alone and will have no distractions.
5. Schedule activities like answering emails, social media, and making phone calls during the times you are not productive. You will not be dealing with these things during other time blocks so make sure you give yourself enough time to deal with them each day. If you need to check and respond to emails twice a day then schedule two time blocks. You know how often you need to check (depending on the urgency of most of your communication) and how much time you will need in total.
6. Get your weekly task list. This list includes the weekly tasks you want to complete, the time required to complete each task, how important each task is (priority) and the day/s you want to schedule each task. Scan your future lists to see if any tasks have now become relevant.
7. Let’s start with Monday. Scan the weekly task list for all tasks assigned to Monday. Schedule the important tasks first (i.e. those ranked with a higher priority) during the time you are more focused (these are the time blocks you marked in step 4). If you have tasks that require more focus then schedule them in those time blocks as well. Use the time blocks where you are not focused for tasks that don’t require concentration such as answering emails and making phone calls.
8. Draw boxes around the time scheduled for each task and then label the box with the task assigned to it. If you want to go into more detail then add a number to your weekly task list and add that same number to this time block.
9. If you don’t have enough time to schedule all the tasks you planned to complete on a given day then re-assign the days in your weekly task list and move these tasks to another day. Use the priority column to decide what to reschedule.
The purpose of daily planning is to ensure that you focus on your highest priorities each day. You can use any of the daily planner templates if there is another format that you prefer.
1. Every evening, scan your daily schedule to see what you planned during your weekly planning session.
2. Scan your list of unscheduled tasks and ideas from that day to see if any changes should be made. The goal is not to stick to your original schedule no matter what. Your goal is to schedule the most important tasks in your schedule. If you originally planned to do something and then find another task that can be a better use of your time then change your schedule. If you want to reschedule the original task, then move it to the weekly task list for next week.
3. If you find ideas or tasks from your unscheduled lists that you don’t want to implement then delete/erase them. If there are ideas that you might want to do someday, then move them to the someday/maybe list and delete/erase them from your unscheduled list.
4. If there are tasks from your unscheduled lists that you want to schedule in the future then add them to the future lists.
These are tasks that you schedule for future dates.
If a task needs to be done on a specific date, then add it to that date. If you want it to be done any day that month then add it to the third column.
Use this section to add tasks or ideas that didn’t make it to a time block and that you don’t want to schedule in the near future but might want to do someday. This is a list David Allen uses in GTD.
Yearly Productivity Tracker
This productivity planner with track your productivity over an entire year (you can print one month only or specific months). You can start it in any month and it will last for one year.
This digital or printable annual planner isn’t just about productivity. It also helps you set and track your goals and reflect on your progress and experiences. It encourages you to spend time on things that are meaningful and habitually reflect and what and why you are doing things.
There is only space for three tasks per day which forces you to think about the things that are truly important to you instead of mindlessly creating a to-do list that never actually gets done or includes tasks that are not really important or meaningful. Think about your priorities before you commit them to the day. Add the three most important tasks you need to do that day. These are your top priorities and you will ensure you get them done.
There is a section each day to write your achievement/s for the day. This will help you find your focus. Have you ever reached the end of a day, week, or month and felt like you got nothing done? This system will prevent that. Life is filled with distractions from your inbox to social media. When you know you will need to write an achievement for that day you focus on what’s actually important so you can accomplish your goals and write something meaningful each day. It could be something small that took only a few minutes but it will force you to get something done each day.
There are different versions of this planner. They will help you set and track your goals and/or establish new habits.
Before you move to a new page, scan the page for unfinished tasks. Consider each of these unfinished tasks. Is this task still vital or meaningful? If it isn’t, then cross it out. If it is, then move it to the next page. This is based on the migration system detailed in the bullet journal method.
At the end of each month, you will find a monthly reflection section. This is an opportunity for mindful reflection. Use this time to compare the way you spent each month to the way you would have liked to spend it. Have you spent too much time and energy on things that don’t give your life meaning? Think carefully about the tasks and habits you want to try to focus on in the next month. Pause to reflect on the goals that you set at the beginning of the month and evaluate the progress you made toward them.
On the goal setting version, you will set monthly goals each month. The idea is to clarify and prioritize your goals to make them a reality. This year planner template will help you achieve your goals. It will also ensure that your goals are balanced and relate to the different areas of your life (such as self-care, relationships, career, financial goals, family, etc). Setting and working toward concrete goals can fill your life with purpose and meaning. It should be noted that just because you set your monthly goals it doesn’t mean you have to achieve them at all costs. Check in with yourself periodically and reevaluate whether these goals still hold meaning. Once you have set your monthly goals, schedule them in your monthly planner for that month. For example, one of my goals is to spend quality time with each of my children alone somewhere fun once a month. I will then write it in on the day on which I want to do this as one of my three priorities for that day. If I want to go to yoga once a week then I will schedule the yoga session in the daily priority each day that month.
Try to get your three daily tasks done as soon as possible in the day. Ideally, you will want to complete them first thing in the morning. This is based on the eat that frog theory that describes the benefits of getting these things done first thing in the morning to get them out of the way early and save the fun stuff for afterward. This will make the rest of your day feel more manageable and enjoyable.
One of the versions has a year-at-glance tracker at the beginning of the planner. If there is something specific you’re working toward, daily tracking can help keep you on target. For example, if you are trying to do yoga each day, practice mindfulness, exercise, eat clean, etc. make a checkmark in the tracker each time you do it. You’ll be able to see how well you’re meeting your goal. You can also cross-check with other events to see how they impact your goal. For example, you might notice that on days when you focused too much on productivity, you didn’t exercise. Seeing this year at a glance will help you calculate how often you reached your goal. You might want to keep up the streak or do it 80% of the time. Either way, it will help you see your progress over one year.
There is also a section for gratitude every day. This helps you appreciate everything you have so that you will lead a fulfilling life. The self-care section ensures that you don’t prioritize productivity over your own needs. It encourages you to sharpen the saw, be mindful of your own needs and take care of them.
When you look through your planner you will see what you planned to do, and what you did and achieved over one year.
The yearly planner is typeable if you want to use it on your computer or as a digital planner on your tablet.
If you want to add some color to your planner then see our free planner stickers. You can also embellish it with markers, stickers, or Washi tape.