How to Change Your Life with a Planner (When You’ve Failed in the Past)
Using a planner to organize your life sounds like (and is!) a wonderful thing. Wistfully, you dream of having your deadlines, appointments, and important tasks in a single location for reference. Plus, you’re finally ready to live a more productive and change your life with a planner.
But once reality sets in, you find planning overwhelming or too difficult to keep up with for more than a week. You may have great intentions, and even buy a sparkling new planner with lots of fun pens and stickers. (I am a sucker for cute planner accessories!)
Then real life swoops in, and the the task of planning gets pushed aside. One month later, when you’ve finally caught your breath, you remember your new planner and wonder how use it effectively. Can you really thrive and change your life by using your planner consistently?
Friend, I understand! Most years I would feel like a complete planner failure and think there was not a way to make a planner work for me.
But I promise, it is possible to learn to rock a planner, even when you’ve failed in the past! Here’s a few secrets that finally led to my own planner success and helped me achieve many dreams last year!
Find a planner that works for you
When I first started looking at planners, I was almost overwhelmed by the options. Before I could make a choice, I had to evaluate what I really needed out of one. These questions helped me process and think through my choices:
- What would I mainly use it for? (homemaking, family life, business, or all of the above)
- Which layout do I prefer?
- What feature is most important to me (lots of writing space, goal setting pages, etc…)?
- How much do I want to spend?
Choose what features are most important to you and find a planner that meets your needs. Here’s a few of my favorites that offer space to write and dream, while keeping you focused on your goals!
Switch to a Digital Planner
I know, I know, all my paper and pen girls just groaned a little. But using a digital planner has so many amazing features that make it SO convenient to use!
First, a digital planner is an easy and portable way to make sure your planner is always with you. It uses the Good Notes app for iOS and the Xodo app for your Android/PC. TO use it, you simply upload the digital planner to the book reading app of your choice.
You can write on the planner with your finger or stylus, or type a text box. Each time you enter the app, all your important information will be saved from the time before.
While I don’t use a full, hyperlinked digital planner, I simply use the mix and match pages of the Abundant Life Planner for Christian women in my favorite book reading app.
It makes using the life-management checklists and pages even easier!
For example, in the Abundant Life Planner, besides your typical monthly and daily planning, there’s also sections for:
- Cleaning routines
- Meal planning
- Grocery shopping list
- Routine checklist
- Goal setting and tracking
- Habit tracking (and SO much more!)
As someone who has struggled being consistent with a planner in the past, I LOVE the flexibility of using planner pages as a psuedo-digital planner! Check out this complete life-management system for Christian women and how it can help you create a planner you love, too!
It’s not necessary to go from never using a planner to expecting your life to be completely organized in a week. Take your new planning adventure slow. Start by filling in your planner with one area of your life at a time. Maybe you’d like to start planning out your meals each week, or use it as a way to track your finances.
Pray that the Lord will help you create habits of a modern Proverbs 31 woman and help you honor God with your time.
Over time, you’ll learn the most productive ways to use your planner and can start to incorporate more aspects of your life.
Buy Only the Necessities
When you are beginning to use a planner, you really only need the book and a pen. Forego all the coloring pencils, stickers, washi tape, and other decorative elements in the beginning. Having too much “stuff” can push you into overwhelm before you have your planning routine really figured out.
After you’ve mastered using your planner, here are few accessories you may wish to incorporate.
AGU Foil Gold Skinny Washi Tape DIY Japanese Masking Tape Supplies Set Of 16me & my BIG ideas PPSV-09-2048 Create 365 The Happy Planner Sticker Value Pack Planner, ProductivityRedi-Tag Divider Sticky Notes 60 Ruled Notes, 4 x 6 Inches, Assorted Neon Colors (29500)MyLifeUNIT Fineliner Color Pen Set, 0.4mm Colored Fine Liner Sketch Drawing Pen, Pack of 10 Assorted Colors
Don’t Compare your Planner to Others
Don’t expect to become a planning rockstar overnight. Those beautiful, organized layouts you see on Instagram took weeks, months – maybe even years of practice for the experienced planners to perfect.
Avoid overwhelming yourself with the idea that your planner must be a masterpiece. Experiment with different ways of doing your layouts. Hold off on the heavy decorations and sticker usage until you are more comfortable using your planner.
Take Planning One Day at a Time
You eventually want to get to where you check your planner a few times each day. However, while you are still developing the habit of organizing your life, you may go 2-3 days without opening the book at all.
Don’t beat yourself up about that. Every day is a new opportunity to use your planner to increase your productivity and make your life easier. When you miss a day or two, let it go and move forward with your planner. Just don’t give up on the habit altogether if you want your planning journey to be a success!
Schedule in Time to Plan
It’s vital that you treat your planner as an important part of your daily schedule, if you’d like to be successful at being more organized. You don’t have to spend but about 10 minutes with your planner, reflecting on your day and taking a look at your to-do list for tomorrow.
Many people find it best to open their planners first thing in the morning and before bed each night. In the morning, you can see what you need to do for the day, so nothing is forgotten. At night, you can review and move around any tasks that weren’t completed.
Hopefully these tips for using a planner will help you in your quest to become more organized in your life. Like any new hobby, you should practice your planning skills and don’t be afraid to fail a little along the way. Eventually, you will have a planning routine that works for you!
How do you use your planner for maximum efficiency? Do share your ideas below!
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