The easiest productivity hack to stay organized and get things done is to create an action plan for the day. These apps and tools are the best free calendars, online or offline.
Calendars are handy for tackling overwhelming to-do lists that span weeks and months of tasks. Planning a day includes other rituals, such as prioritizing a to-do list, scheduling meetings, determining who you need to complete your tasks, brainstorming and reviewing, and maintaining newspaper. Find the right planner for your approach and you will find a way to calmly and efficiently execute actions every day.
1. Crush entropy (Web): Best Free Day Planner App for Time Blocking
Crush Entropy is a fantastic planner that lets you plan a simple text-based schedule and turn it into a visual dashboard on a daily calendar. It might sound a bit geeky at first, but it’s easier than it looks. It also works without registration, if you want to try it out.
The application is based on the principles of time blocking for better concentration and on the concept of “Unscheduling” by Neil Fiore. Essentially, you need to block an amount of time on your day’s calendar for each task. But first, start with the unprofessional things you want to do and block out that time. Then, in the remaining time, add work-related activities. LifeClever explains it succinctly.
Crush Entropy uses these foundational ideas to turn a notepad into a daily visual planner. In the notepad you will write simple things like “0730, 0830, coffee + plan #ritual” which blocks that time of the morning for this activity and turns it green to indicate a ritual. Different rituals have different colors.
Text additions become easier with shortcuts. Using “X” as the start time tells the application to start this task at the end of the last activity, and “+20” (or any integer) means it will last 20 minutes from the last activity. ‘start time.
Crush Entropy also allows you to change your schedule on the fly, as a normal day generates unexpected tasks. When something happens, don’t worry about rescheduling your day. Just add it as another row and the app displays it as a second column, added to the tasks of the first. This part is a little overwhelming at first, but you will soon get used to it and be more productive because of it.
2. Your Path (Web): Daily Goals, Tasks, Log & Water Usage Dashboard
Your Trail blends several popular productivity mantras for everyday success into one simple dashboard. It also has a few other features of a productivity suite, but the dashboard is where it shines.
In the first strand, you can use it for daily affirmations. There is space to write down what you are grateful for today to practice daily gratitude and set a goal to accomplish. It also has a journal to record your thoughts. And since it’s an ever-present journal, it’s a nice change to write thoughts down as you go through the day, rather than at the end when you’re thinking. The last part is a simple monitoring of daily water consumption.
The middle strand is to use time tracking for your to-do list. Add the tasks you need to complete today and give them some time. Whenever you’re ready to start a task, drag it to the top of the list and click the timer. Your Trail will keep you on schedule to complete this task and issue a notification when the time is up.
The app also includes a “Trail” for plotting long term goals. Here, you are encouraged to set a goal for yourself and break it down into small, achievable goals. Add these targets to your timeline to create a visual timeline of your progress.
3. Today (Android, iOS): set self-growth intentions to increase daily productivity
Todayist is a daily mobile planning app that asks you to focus on yourself, not work. By focusing on personal care, he seeks to make you feel better, with the idea that if you feel better, you will work better.
Thus, each day, you will define a new intention for the day, guided by three choices of the application. Todayist then lets you add tasks for the day (which works like a regular checklist). Your final planner screen keeps intention in the foreground and suggests practical ways to stick to it.
For example, let’s say the intention is to pay more attention. Todayist then explains why mindfulness helps and offers advice like “pick something you do all the time and try to do it like it’s the first time.” It is simple and useful advice, rather than theoretical information.
In the free version of Todayist, you can only choose one area for personal growth. If you think of it as an agenda, your best bet will be productivity as an area. Try it out with this, and if you like it, the premium version allows you to set unlimited areas.
4. Printable Daily Planners (PDF): Free paper agendas for daily productivity
The best productivity tool doesn’t have to be digital. If you prefer pen and paper, download some of the free printable productivity templates available on the internet. There is a wide variety of daily calendars out there, but two of them stand out.
Daily layout of Passion Planner can be used as a one-page or two-page sheet, with the second sheet being blank space. The first page will allow you to clarify the goal for the day, determine the goals for the day, set a mantra, add a bit of self-maintenance and learning, and track your mood. Along with all this, he has a breakdown of the day every half hour to complete the tasks. As you can see from the image above, this is a fantastic daily planner to use as creatively as you want.
Blue Sky’s daily schedule is a simpler planner for those who want to stick with tasks and blocking time for work. The daily schedule takes you from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., taking up half the page. In the other half, you can set the day’s top priorities, make a to-do list, add notes, and track your water usage for the day.
5. The daily mini-newspaper (Web): 5 minutes to plan your day and think about it
Task overload is often visual overload. When you see too much stuff in your to-do list app, it cripples you. The Daily Mini-Journal (TDMJ) divides the day planner into different stand-alone spaces, while also incorporating healthy practices like thinking and a daily journaling habit.
The four sections of TDMJ are Home, To-Do List, Notes, and Review. Go through them step by step to set goals for the day and take care of yourself by noting gratitude and affirmations. You can keep track of it with a simple to-do list and save notes. Finally, reflect on how you worked, noting what went well and what could get better.
All of this data is stored offline in your browser’s cache. TDMJ is the perfect kind of app for someone who wants to start every day over again with a new plan you set in five minutes. It’s not for those who want a powerful task manager and a recurring daily planner.
Plan your day in the morning or the day before?
Now that you have the tools to plan your day, don’t think that means you have to do it every morning. “Planning” is an activity that clarifies the actions of your day when you are overwhelmed.
In fact, several productivity experts recommend planning your day the day before. It allows you to start the next day without feeling overwhelmed and avoids feeling rushed in the morning. This is great advice for those who aren’t early risers or morning people.
Why not ditch your task app for a Google Drive planner? These online calendars made with Google tools prove their versatility.
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