Most of you know I am a planner type of person. I love planning out my time and my week ahead. When I don’t make plans or write things down, I feel totally lost, forget things, and just can’t visualize my life well.
I got a Happy Planner in August 2016 and finally feel like I’ve found the perfect planner. I used to just use cheap ones from Target or whatnot, but I wanted to finally treat myself to a “good” one that had organization that actually made sense. It’s exceeded my expectations and has truly been working for me unlike any other planner for the past few months.
I always get comments on how I maintain sticking to using a planner, so I thought I would share that today. This post is specific to how I utilize The Happy Planner, but these tips can almost all be applied other planner types too.
Sit Down With Your Planner Once a Week
This is a no-brainer to me, but it’s probably because it’s been a habit of mine for so long. Non-planner people usually ask me how I manage to ever actually use said planner. Sitting down with it at least once a week to map things out is a great place to start.
I usually sit down sometime over the weekend to plan out the next week. I write out all my activities and appointments going on, meals we have planned, workouts I hope to do, any pressing to dos, etc. It helps empty my brain so that I can take a look at each day as one day at a time instead of looking at time in big chunks that overwhelm me.
The best place to start is just checking in with yourself with planner in hand once a week. But after this becomes habit, checking in every few days to update appointments that got moved or canceled and account for real life happening is useful too.
Have a Reason to Revisit Your Planner Daily/Throughout the Day
This is my biggest tip for people who want to start using a planner but weeks go by without touching it. If you don’t have a reason to go back and look at your planner, you’re simply not going to use it.
I make a daily and weekly to do list in my planner that I check back on frequently. It’s truly the only way I get anything done. The night before, I use a certain space in my planner to write out my goals/to do list for the next day and review my schedule so I know what to expect.
You do have to make it a habit. I find it’s been pretty easy for me to come back to it because I like to check my lists off. If lists don’t do it for you, then maybe reviewing your schedule to better prepare you for the next day would work. Whatever you do, you just have to find some reason to come back to your planner daily or it will just collect dust.
Break It Into Usable, Useful Chunks
The reason using a planner has often failed in the past before for me is that it was just one big blank space to write everything in. While space is good, space without a method of organization always ends up being useless to me or becomes disorganized quickly.
With The Happy Planner, the one I bought came with three distinct sections to use for whatever I wanted. This could be broken into morning, noon, and night or a myriad of other options. I break mine into what is most important to me, what I want to accomplish most. For me, that’s tracking my workouts, knowing what I’m making for dinner, my daily schedule, and daily to do lists.
I have called my categories “Fit & Food,” Daily Schedule, and Daily To Dos. I sit down with my planner once a week like I said above and write out what we’re having for dinner, my workout plan, and anything I have on my schedule. I add to it or adjust as needed, as each week seems to have some variations to it.
This system has been working well for me for about six months now. I can clearly see the most important aspects of my life that need to be “checked off” so to speak all in one organized place.
Make It Fun & Appealing
When I used planners just for work purposes or wasn’t really consistent in using one, I always just used a black pen and wrote everything in the same pen and color. After actually writing everything down, it was a sea of writing I could never decipher.
Making using my planner fun and colorful also helps it be even more organized to me. I recommend using color coded or just different color pens and stickers.
I use the Happy Planner brand stickers and absolutely love them. I also use very fine felt tip pens in three colors to make sure all my text isn’t the same color, making the text stand out easily when I need to refer back to things. Having the right tools to make my planner more organized has helped so much. You can get cheap sticker packs and nice pens at most craft stores or even Target.
I hope that sheds some light on how I make the most of using a planner. It was not always habit and even now, some weeks are just crazy and at the end of the week I realized I didn’t really touch my planner. That’s life and it happens! But when I’m really wanting to get a lot done, sticking to my planner has helped tremendously in keeping my life organized and also seeing what I do actually get done (important for this stay-at-home mama!).
Questions for You:
- Does using a planner work for you? Why or why not?
- How do you keep your day to day life organized?