One of the things I struggled with when was to keep using my planner consistently – even though it’s crucial to my organization. When I don’t use it – I just lose track of things that need to be done. So I developed some habits to make sure that using the planner is now part of my routine.
7 Tips That Helped Me Use a Planner Consistently
ONE. Have a routine for when you use it – same time, same day, all the time. For me, since my planner is for work, I make sure to start using it within the first hour of the work day. I used to try to pick the “Top 3” things to do, but that doesn’t work for me. For my job, I just need to get shit done. There may be something that needs immediate attention – then I start with that. Otherwise, go in whatever order is best for you. For the house, I plan weekly on Sundays in the afternoon.
TWO. Have a dedicated space where you keep and use your planner. You should always know where to find it – in your bag, at a desk or table in your office or home. For me, my planner travels with me to work, or it’s on my desk at home, or it’s in my work bag. It doesn’t go anywhere else.
THREE. Write every task that needs to be done – not what’s already completed. If I get something done immediately, it doesn’t get written in my planner. It’s too complicated to write every single thing down, so I don’t.
FOUR. Look at your planner with JOY. Don’t stress about how it looks – unless you want to. My planner is not cute. It does not have neat handwriting, but I feel so happy to have a system to record what needs to be done, that I only look forward to opening it up and getting things crossed of the list. For many others, that act of embellishing a planner makes it a happy place – and thus more useful to them. Opening your planner should not stress you out. if it does – adjust your thinking or you will eventually stop using it.
FIVE. Figure out your planner needs – do you even need a planner – is digital or paper better for you. I bought many planners before I figured out I really didn’t need one for my personal needs. I just don’t have that much to track. For the family, we keep a calendar on the refrigerator. For work, I’m now using a planner after starting with a bullet journal.
SIX. Combine systems and automate what you can. There’s nothing wrong with using a pen and paper planner AND a digital system. Having appointments on my digital calendar works better for me – I can set alerts and also appointments on my phone.
How do you stay organized? Are you using a paper planner – compeltely digital or both?