My daily planner page is way more than just a to-do list. This week I’m getting into the bottom half of that page (you can find my overview of the top portion here) and why it’s so important to everything else I do.
This section of my daily planner serves many purposes. It’s a sleep/gratitude/mood tracker, mini journal, and a space for reflection and grounding in the present moment.
When I track all that in one place, I can better understand how all the different pieces of my day intersect. How do the tasks I’m doing affect my mood? How does my sleep schedule affect my ability to get things done? Am I enjoying my days or just getting by? I can more clearly see where I need to make changes and what I should try to replicate.
Here’s a quick overview of what I track each day and why.
Tracking my sleep patterns is a pretty obvious one. There are two things I’m looking for here. I want to make sure I’m sleeping the right number of hours and my sleep schedule—when I go to sleep and wake up—is staying consistent.
We all know these two factors can have a huge affect on your mood, energy, focus, and more. Often, if something isn’t going right with your days, the first area to reevaluate is your sleep patterns.
Summary of my day
Even before we were in quarantine and the days started blending together, I needed some help remembering what I did each day. It can be a little too easy to breeze through the week, going about your regular schedule and not keeping track of specific moments. I was often frustrated at the end of the week, not being able to fully recall what I’d been up to those past 7 days.
Once I started jotting down a mini journal entry for each day, I was able to more clearly reflect on how I was spending my time and readjust when necessary. I have a tendency to get itchy and restless if my daily summary looks the same day after day. That’s when I know it’s time to do things differently.
How I felt
Reflecting on how I felt each day is probably the most rewarding and challenging part of my daily planner. This space helps me see how things like my to-do list or my sleep patterns affect my mood and vice versa. If I was in a good mood for a few days in a row, I can check out what I was doing on those day and try to replicate it. Alternatively, if I’m consistently in a bad mood, I know I need to switch things up.
This section is not always easy to fill out. It really forces you to sit for a moment and assess your mental state. I’ve realized that I often don’t pay attention to how I’m feeling until I sit down to fill this in. It can be surprisingly hard to put into words how you’re feeling. But it’s a good practice to bring your mind back to the present moment. If you don’t reflect on the fact that you’re feeling bad, you won’t be able to figure out the cause and remedy it. You’ll just continue your day feeling bad without fully recognizing it.
It can also show you patterns in your mood. If I’m in a bad mood every time I have a certain task on my agenda or every time I sleep in too late, I can make changes and improve my mood.
This is my gratitude list. I decided to call it “good things” because “gratitude” sounds a little too serious for me. I felt silly listing out things like pizza and a long nap (which OFTEN make it onto my “good things” list) as things I’m “grateful for”—they didn’t sound important enough to count for my gratitude list.
“Good things” also feels more specific to me. I’m not thinking of high-level gratitude—like the fact that I have a loving family and a roof over my head—when I talk about “good things.” Rather, I’m thinking of anything that I’m glad happened that day—like seeing a cute dog on my walk or lighting a candle that made my house smell amazing. Those high-level moments of gratitude are great too! But it’s important (and often easier) to appreciate the small, specific things that make each day brighter.
Plus, since these “good things” are so specific, you can use this list to figure out what you should be adding more of to your days. Your “good things” list is basically a to-do list of things you should try to make happen more often.
Want the daily planner printable I mentioned in this post? You can shop it in my Etsy store!