Hey planner girl! I see you there, struggling to keep all of the facets of your life running smoothly. It's not always easy to do, am I right?! This is definitely something I struggle with and even though I use a paper planner (usually more than one), I still find myself getting frazzled and stressed at times. If this is something you have experienced, then keep reading, because today I am going to share a few tips that I have learned, that help me to maintain a more organized life.
1. Designate a day and time for planning.
It may seem redundant that you have to "plan time for planning," but for me, it is the only way I can remain consistent. We all start the planning process with good intentions. We buy our new, pristine, paper planner. We set goals and create a daily routine. We are ready to conquer the world! This may last a couple of weeks or even a month, but then life gets in the way. It's not that we are lazy. It's not that we don't want to plan. It's simply that we lose track of that time. The easiest way to not lose track of that time is to schedule it. Block off the time needed. Write it in that pretty planner of yours. For me it is Sunday afternoon or evening, depending on what our plans look like. Every week I write it down and that makes me accountable to do it.
2. Choose a system that works for you.
Planners are not a "one size fits all" concept. That's why there are so many options! I know the sheer amount of different types of planners can be overwhelming, but it is important to pick a system that will suit your needs. Think about what you will be recording in your planner and the areas of your life that need to be tracked. Also, think about the type of goals you want to set for yourself and how you will turn those goals into actions. If you find that you are going long periods of time without using your planner, then it may be time for you to reevaluate your system. Don't be afraid to try something new or to ditch something that hasn't been working well for you. Sometimes it's a game of trial and error.
3. Use sticky notes for future planning.
I don't know who was the first person to come up with this idea, but it is a popular one amongst the planner community. The reason I use sticky notes for future plans, is because quite simply, plans change. When I am doing my weekly planning, I write everything directly in the planner, but if I have an appointment or day-specific task, that is more than a month out, I will write it on a sticky note and put it on the day it needs to go on. This prevents a lot of chaotic scribbling out and rewriting of things and it just helps put my mind at ease. Obviously, there will still be some things that get written in the planner itself, that get rescheduled and have to be crossed out, but this practice just limits that.
4. Create categories or sections for different parts of your life.
Most of us have a life filled with appointments and tasks coming at us from different angles. Depending on what all you are involved in, it may feel impossible to keep track of it. Some choose to separate the big categories into different planners and if that works for you, then do it! I have a separate planner that stays at work, I have a home/blog planner that stays at home, and I have little pocket planner that houses my personal calendar that goes everywhere with me. Another way you can do this, is to have it all in one large planner, that is separated by dividers. Color coding your different categories is another great option, if you want to put everything on the same monthly and weekly views.
5. Make planning enjoyable.
My last tip is a fairly simple one: have fun with it! If you aren't into stickers and washi, that is totally fine. Decorating is one of the ways that I make planning enjoyable, but it's not the only option. Try creating a nice atmosphere for planning. Listen to music or your favorite podcast. Have a youtube video going in the background. If the weather is nice, plan outside. If you have the room for it, you can create your own little "planning space." Enjoy a glass of wine or a cup of coffee, while you plan.
Whatever you choose to do, don't think of it as something tedious or boring, because it doesn't have to be. Imagine what all you can accomplish, if you take just a little extra time to sit down, set goals, and plan it out!
Do you have any planner tips that help you stay organized? Let me know!
Until next time!