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Best practices for using a planner

Here are my best practices for using a planner. Also known as 10 reasons not to give up on your planner! IYKYK.

I hope these ideas help you make the most of documenting and organizing your life!

Best practices for using a planner (and reasons not to give up)

Do you have a planner? Maybe two? Or even three? I know I do. Sometimes I have trouble keeping them updated, so I made a list of best practices to keep me on track. These also serve as reasons to start fresh if it has been a while. All good reasons not ot give up on your planner!

Whether you are a seasoned pro with stickers and tabs galore – or just starting out, there is always room to try new techniques. Mastering the art of using a planner can transform a simple notebook into a powerful tool for organization, creativity, and everything in between. 

Choose the Right Planner for You

Finding the perfect planner is like finding the right pair of shoes; it needs to fit just right. Consider what you need from a planner. Do you prefer seeing your whole week at a glance, or do you need room for detailed daily notes? Maybe digital is your style, syncing across your devices. Think about size, layout, and style—this little book is going to be your daily companion, so you’ll want to love using it! Check out my ‘guide to planners’ post, it goes over all the different styles!

Know your why

Write a letter to your future self in your planner. Maybe a back page, or in the middle so it can surprise you! Describe why you are taking on this commitment. How do you want it to change your life? Answering these questions will motivate you to stay on track.

Make It a Habit

The secret sauce to effective planning is consistency. PLEASE – stick with it for a week, no matter what. See how it goes. Ultimately, you’ll want to incorporate your planner into your daily routine. Spend a few minutes each morning or evening reviewing and updating. Morning checks can set the tone for a productive day, while evening reviews can help you wind down by preparing for the next day, ensuring nothing slips through the cracks.

Color Coding: Your New Best Friend

Who doesn’t love a bit of color in their life? Using different colors for various types of tasks (work, personal, appointments, etc.) not only makes your planner look pretty but also allows you to scan your day or week quickly and efficiently. Plus, it’s just fun. Get yourself some colored pens or markers and start painting your days in color! My fave? This pen set by Zebra.

Let loose

Make the most of your beloved blank pages by giving them some love. Doodle, draw, note take, color, add stickers, whatever – use each spread as an opportunity to play, practice, be goofy and mark the day with your creativity.

Embrace the Space: Notes, Reflections, and More

Your planner isn’t just for appointments and to-dos. Again, use the margins or dedicated sections for jotting down thoughts, sketching, or even pasting in little keepsakes like ticket stubs or photos. Hello, washi tape! This makes your planner more personal and enjoyable to use. Additionally, reflecting on your achievements and setbacks weekly or monthly can provide valuable insights for future planning. 

NOTE: Even if you skip a week or month, go back and decorate the pages as a vision board or art journal.

Keep It Up-to-Date and Tidy

Every now and then (monthly), declutter. Erase unnecessary marks, remove old sticky notes, and rewrite any messy pages that bother you. Keeping your planner tidy is like tidying your room—it can seriously lift your spirits and improve your productivity. On the flip side, go in and refine or add…

Sync with Digital Tools If Needed

If you’re juggling lots of tasks, don’t be afraid to pair your physical planner with digital tools. Use your phone or computer for reminders about big deadlines or appointments. This hybrid approach ensures you’re covered from all angles, and you’ll never miss a beat.

Celebrate and Revise

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Last but not least, celebrate the little victories you record in your planner. Crossed off all today’s tasks? Give yourself a pat on the back or a small reward. Not everything going to plan? That’s okay too.

Your planner is a flexible tool, so tweak your methods until you find what works best for you.

Remember, the goal of using a planner is to make life easier and more joyful, not to add another chore to your list. So, keep it light, make it fun, and let your planner reflect who you are and who you aspire to be.

Here’s to planning for success in the most delightful way possible!

Happy planning! 📒✨

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