When navigating through a packed schedule, it’s easy to get so busy that you blink and the day is over! If you feel like your life is on auto-pilot, we totally get it. When you’ve got a lot on your plate, it can be difficult to find time to accomplish goals, spend time with friends and family, or simply polish off that to-do list.
A great way to take back your day and keep track of your time more efficiently, is by starting an hourly planner. Plan out your whole day in advance, either by hour or by a designated block of time. This can help relieve stress by avoiding over-committing and overwhelming yourself: by planning hourly, you’ll know exactly how to allocate your time, every day.
If this sounds like an avid organizer’s dream come true, then keep reading for how to create the best hourly planner and boost your productivity in a creative, engaging way.
Step 1: Pick a Customizable Planner from the Happy Planner Website
First, the fun part: shopping! At Happy Planner we have a ton of customizable planners to choose from. For detailed time-tracking we recommend something like our Classic Lined Vertical Layouts. These were made for you to plan out a week at a time.
We also have styles and moods to fit every personality. Check out our bright Bold and Bright designs, which features a bold color scheme and playful graphics, or the more subdued Neutrals, which displays a dark color scheme and inspiring atmospheric images.
Of course, the great thing about any Happy Planner is that you can make it your own! So if you already have a favorite, simply snag an appropriate filler paper (like our dotted lined paper) to draw your own column and make the best hourly planner for you.
Step 2: At the Top, Create a Column for Each Day of the Week
In the top row, write down each day of the week in every column. If you purchase an undated planner, the day of the week will already be there, so all you need to add is the date.
If you’re creating your own hourly planning page on blank filler paper, measure out nine equally spaced vertical lines with a ruler. This will give you eight columns: one at the far left to write out the time, and seven others for each day.
Step 3: In the Far Left Column, Write Down Hours or Time Blocks
In the column on the left, write your designated hours or time blocks. If you have a hard time knowing how long a task takes, make sure to start tracking by the hour. Say you need to water the plants every Wednesday. If you only plan for an hour, but it ends up taking two, you now know how long you need to set aside for the task and then can adjust your planner accordingly.
If you’re looking for a little less structure and just want a more general sense of time, the best hourly planner for you would be using time blocks. Create individual blocks for morning, afternoon, and evening, and make small to-do lists of what you’d like to get done during each section. Then you can add in specific times if you have a meeting or need to schedule an in-person get-together.
Step 4: Save Time and Organize the Entire Month at Once
Give yourself the gift of planning ahead by sitting down to write out the whole month at once. It’s okay if this feels hard at first—that’s totally normal! Use a pencil for the first few times you do this, so that you can erase and make changes to your month as you go. Eventually you will find the best, most effective way to plan out your daily routine, and can commit to checking off your to-do list with your favorite pen.
The most important thing is that you have a game plan set for each day, so that you can make the most of your time and can prioritize your most essential tasks and goals.
Step 5: Track your Accomplishments with Fun Accessories
Happy Planners are a creative way to express yourself, and since our planners are customizable, feel free to decorate with our catalog of fun accessories, ready to boost your imagination and celebrate your accomplishments. Our functional and productivity stickers encourage you to keep going when you hit challenges, and highlight big milestones like road trips, bucket lists, and success at work (just to name a few!).
Have you found the best way to plan by the hour? We love seeing your creative hourly planner pages, so follow us on socials @the_happy_planner, and tag us so we can see all the great work you’re doing!