Daily Goal Planner
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- January 24, 2020 Updated
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- What Is the Daily Goal Planner?
- How to Use the Daily Goal Planner
- How to Customize the Daily Goal Planner
- Use Your Daily Goal Planner Consistently
How do you track the things you need to do each day? A daily goal planner (also known as a goal setting journal) is one method you can use to ensure you get everything from your to-do list checked off. Having a planning system increases your productivity, builds good habits, and helps you achieve better work-life balance. Writing down your goals also makes you more likely to achieve them.
Having a system in place for tracking your to-do list and habits is important. While there are many systems out there, you need to find one that works for you. You need it to be:
- Simple to use,
- Quick to update,
- Editable in case your priorities change during the day,
- Easily accessible throughout the day, and
- Motivating so you use it consistently.
The Excel daily goal planner we have created meets all of those requirements. A downloadable Excel spreadsheet, this template is simple to use.
Once you get the hang of it, you can update it quickly. If something comes up in your daily schedule, you can easily go back into the file and make changes.
Since it’s an Excel document, you can pull it up anytime on your computer. You can also use Excel on your phone or tablet, making this sheet portable.
As far as motivation goes, this daily goal planner has three different encouraging components:
- It has a motivational quote that changes whenever you update the planner. You can customize the quotes, so you can ensure the one showing is one that inspires you.
- You can cross off each item on your to-do list. Each time you mark an item off as being done, it gives you a sense of accomplishment.
- There is a progress bar at the bottom that shows you what percentage of your daily goals you accomplished. Watching the green bar get longer as the percentage goes up is motivating.
Are you ready to increase your productivity and find daily motivation to slay your goals? It’s time to learn more about the Daily Goal Planner and how it can help you to create positive habits and stay committed to your goals daily.
What Is the Daily Goal Planner?
Designed to be an efficient way to track your goals and habits, the Daily Goal Planner has eight components.
- To-Do List
- Status of To-Do List
- Progress Bar
- Daily Goals (this can be used to track Habits)
- Motivational Quote
- Greatest Achievement of the Day
- Lesson of the Day
With these sections, you can create a powerful tool to help you schedule your day (and your life!), and to get more done.
How to Use the Daily Goal Planner
Each day, you will need to open up your Daily Goal Planner template in Excel to plan and schedule your day by listing your daily goals, tasks, or habits.
Some people prefer to create a copy of the workbook to use for each day. That way they can go back and track their progress over time. Others prefer to use the same version and just update the information.
Decide which method works best for you. If you’d like to create a copy each time, follow the directions in this article:
Change the Date
When you have your template up, start by changing the date. Simply click on the date and type today’s date into the cell. You can type it in standard MM/DD/YYYY format and Excel will automatically switch it to this written out format: Month DD, YYYY.
Create Your To-Do List
Delete the prepopulated text on the to-do list and type in a list of the tasks, goals, or habits you want to focus on or get done today. To create your list, make sure your most-important-tasks, goals, and habits are on there, and break everything up into bite sized chunks.
Remember you only have 24 hours in your day, so don’t plan too many things. You want attainable short-term goals, so keep the time commitment for each task in mind as you add items to the list.
Creating a focused to-do list will help you be more productive. Instead of jumping aimlessly from task to task, you can quickly see what needs done. Your to-do list offers reminders about what you should focus on next.
As you add items to your list, take time to prioritize them. You can copy and paste the items to rearrange them. That way your most essential tasks are at the top of the list, and lower-priority tasks are towards the bottom. Then you can start at the top and work your way down the list.
Cross Things Off Your List
Next to the to-do list is a column to indicate the status of each item. At the start of the day, use the drop-down menu next to each one and change it to “To Be Done.”
Now, as you complete items on your to-do list, head to this column again. Use the drop-down menu to change it to “Done.” Now you can see at a glance which items are done and which ones you have left to do.
This can motivate you to cross off more, and be more productive in your daily routine.
Watch the Progress Bar
A progress bar may not seem important, but psychologically speaking, it is. There are many benefits to showing progress. Having a progress bar:
- Provides constant encouragement,
- Gives you a visual representation of how much work remains, and
- Encourages you to complete more tasks and move the bar closer to the right-hand side.
The progress bar in this spreadsheet is simple to use. It’s been created with behind-the-scenes formulas to be completely hands off for you.
Each time you add an item to your to-do list, or delete one, it automatically calculates the remaining percentage.
Then, when you change an item from “To Be Done” to “Done” in the status column, the progress bar automatically moves forward.
When the progress bar reaches 100%, it means that every item on your to-do list has been marked complete.
Record Your Daily Goals
Your to-do list offers a series of tasks you want to accomplish. They are things you want to prioritize to get done today.
Unlike a to-do list, your daily goals are typically bigger. They are things that help move you closer to your life goals.
In the upper right-hand section of this productivity planner, you will find a section that reads:
“Today I Will”
Here is where you can record your daily goals for achieving, or habits you want to build, such as:
- Learning something new,
- Reading a chapter of a book,
- Doing weekly planning for your blog,
- Connecting with one person,
- Laughing more, or
Many of these items relate to bigger goals. They are tasks that impact emotional wellness, dreams, and long-term goals. This section is where you can dream big, but then take actionable steps to help you prioritize your life goals.
You have room to record four daily goals and habits, but don’t feel like you must use each space. Sometimes less is more when it comes to goals. You want to set yourself up for success, so pick attainable goals.
Breaking Down Your Goal Planning
Setting goals is important. But, you can’t just write goals down and wish them into existence. Goal planning takes effort. Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (read more about SMART goals), and you need to break down big dreams into attainable steps.
How are you going to reach your goals? What can you do monthly, weekly, or daily that helps you focus on what really matters to you? Take time to think about your goals and break them down a bit.
These baby steps are what you want to write in the “Today I Will” section. They’re each a task you can prioritize that helps you reach your life goals.
When you make this goal planning process part of your daily schedule, you create a powerful habit that will help you achieve dreams. This planner can help motivate you into taking action.
Prepare Your Motivational Quotes
On the right-hand side of the planner is a motivational quote. This quote is programmed to change each time you update something. So anytime you:
- Open the file,
- Add an item to your to-do list,
- Cross a task off as done,
- Add a daily goal, or
- Save the file.
Basically, anytime you interact with the form, a different inspirational quote will appear.
And while the template has been prepopulated with 35 motivational quotes, you may decide to change some of them. To do this, you need to access the second worksheet of the template.
Here you can read through each quote. You can easily delete ones that don’t speak to you and replace them with new ones. To help you, here are two lists of quotes you can visit:
As long as you keep the list of quotes to 35, you do not need to make any other changes to the file. But, if you want to add in additional options, there are five steps you must take. They do require a bit of formula changing.
1. Use “Tab” to Add New Rows
In the Motivational Quotes table, use the tab key to add a new row. Simply click on Row 35, and hit tab. This will extend the table instead of creating a row underneath the table.
2. Add a Number and a Quote
In the row you just created, add a number and your quote. The number should be one higher than the row above it. In this case, you’d add 36. The quote goes into column B. You can copy and paste it in or type it directly into the table.
3. Update the Formula
This is the trickiest step. You need to navigate back to the Daily Goal Planner worksheet. Then, click on the motivational quote. You will see a formula in the formula bar:
The formula sets the range where it is pulling the quote from and tells it to randomize the quote as you interact with the file.
You need to change the “A30” to represent the final row in your Motivational Quotes form. To accomplish this, you need to change the formula to AXX, where XX represents the number in your final A row.
In the image below, the final row is 38. So, in the formula, I would change “A30” to “A38.”
4. Change the Font
Making changes to the formula will revert the text in the Motivational Quotes box back to default.
You can change this back to Papyrus, the font used in the template. Or you can select any font you’d like. Since the black text is hard to read, you should also change the font color.
Follow the directions in this article to change the appearance of the text:
5. Save the File
Make sure you save the file when you’re done, so you don’t lose your work.
Reflect on Your Greatest Achievement
The final two sections of the planner are more of a self-journal. They help you look back on the day and think about everything that happened.
In this section, make it a routine to record your greatest achievement of the day. What is the thing you are most proud of? Write it down.
Knowing that you did this can help you feel better about any tasks on the to-do list that you didn’t accomplish.
Record a Daily Lesson
What did you learn today? Successful people learn from their achievements and their mistakes.
Contemplate your day. Then, select one lesson you learned and write it here. Since this is the final section, remember to save the file.
How to Customize the Daily Goal Planner
Now that you know how to use the Daily Goal Planner, you’re almost ready to dive in. But first, you can customize it. You want the colors to be visually pleasing for you.
Currently, the section headers are all on a blue background. If you want to change that, follow the directions in this article:
You can also change the green color used in the progress bar and the status column. However, this step is more complicated. If you aren’t comfortable working with conditional formatting, it’s better to just leave the green.
Change the Color of the Progress Bar
To change the color of the progress bar, you need to follow these four steps:
- Click on the progress bar.
- Click on “Conditional Formatting” in the Ribbon and select “Manage Rules.”
- In the dialogue box, select “Edit Rule.”
- Select the color you want and click “OK.”
Now your progress bar tracker will be the color you selected.
Change the Color of the Status Column
The process of changing the color of the “Done” items is similar to the process above, but requires you to select different options. You will:
- Click on column F.
- Click on Conditional formatting and select “Manage Rules.”
- Select on “Edit Rule.”
- Click “Format.”
- Choose the color you want and click “OK.”
- Click “OK” a second time, on the manage rules dialogue box.
Use Your Daily Goal Planner Consistently
Now that your Daily Goal Planner is customized for you, it’s time to get in the habit of using it. Each morning set a reminder on your phone to spend a few minutes planning.
Go in and update your to-do list and daily goals and habits. Save the file.
As you accomplish tasks, check them off. Watch your progress throughout the day.
Before bed, take time to record your greatest achievement and lesson. Look over all you accomplished and be proud of yourself.
The next day, do it again. Using your planner daily will help you slay your goals.
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