Professional organizers suggest, when using a day planner, to prioritize the most important actions and schedule them into your day as you would a meeting. When that time arrives, treat it as a meeting with yourself, as you would a commitment to your boss or client. Start by planning the month, recording concrete events like holidays and deadlines. Next, break that month down by the week, and determine that week's priorities. Last, plan each day including evenings and weekends.
Time management experts recommend that, to achieve results, you go beyond a simple "to-do" list; instead, make a commitment to yourself. Carve out blocks of time for working toward your goals.
Occasional interruptions to your schedule are unavoidable, so be realistic and keep your schedule flexible, but continue to maintain your schedule as best you can. If your work is prone to being interrupted, estimate how much time you will need to work on a project, and increase it by 50 percent. If you anticipate you will need breaks, build those into your schedule.
Remember to customize your planner to reflect your personality and lifestyle. Work around high-priority tasks to schedule less urgent tasks, even scheduling things like cleaning, exercise, meeting friends or shopping. Scheduling your priorities and planning for down time allows more time for fun and spontaneity.
Professionals also recommend choosing a time of day every day when you work on managing your planner and sticking to that routine.