Your Cheat Sheet for Using Planners Consistently
Well, remember being little and begging mom and dad to buy you that cool new thing at your favorite toy store? But after a week or so, this cool new thing quickly became an old, familiar whatsit, doomed to sit untouched with the rest of your playthings?
Some habits — like purchasing things we promise to love forever, but end up abandoning — carry over to adulthood, and they definitely need to be broken!
Looking at the modern gal’s world, we can think of numerous examples of when this happens. When the new year rolls around, you’ll purchase a beautiful planner in hopes of using it to help realize your aspirations for the journey ahead. Maybe you’ll use it for a month or two, then your interest in organizing your life wanes until your planner sinks into the background, unused for the next 300 days or so.
Don’t fall into the inconsistency trap!
You might not realize it, but there are a ton of benefits you’re giving up when you stop using your planner. Think about how regular planner use improves time management, increases mindfulness, sharpens focus and retention, boosts productivity, stimulates creativity, exercises foresight, and combats stress altogether. Are these really advantages you want to say no to? Probably not!
To help you strengthen your planner practice and reap all these benefits, check out these tried-and-tested tips we swear by for efficient planner use.
1. Make it part of your daily routine
Incorporate planner use in established routines, especially those that get you in the zone for the day or week. Go through your reminders at breakfast or scan through your notes-to-self list before answering morning work emails, for instance. This way, using your planner becomes intentional — an integral part of your work process rather than a random thing that you do from time to time without a systemized kind of purposefulness.
2. Take notes often
Don’t delay note-taking. So often we tell ourselves that we’ll write down important details later on, until “later on” becomes “never” because we’ve completely forgotten what we said we would do. The sooner you write things down, the better, as this also ensures you maintain accuracy, completeness, and timeliness in your notes. Whenever you remember a crucial name, date, or to-do item, grab your planner, and don’t be a minute too late! The more often you do this, the more writing in your planner builds (mental) muscle memory.
3. Don’t worry about the mess
At the start, it’s enticing to make your planner notes as pretty as can be. But as you go along, this can get burdensome because noting reminders can be a pretty straightforward thing, especially when you’re in a hurry. If and when you get tired of beautifying your notes, it’s likely you’ll push aside your planner altogether. Alternatively, don’t pressure yourself to keep this up and only do it if you have time, for special occasions, or when you feel like it! (Plus, don’t be afraid of erasures and “blemishes” on pages — they just go to show that you’re using your planner as intended).
4. Revisit regularly
Revisit notes at the end of a busy day or when you’ve achieved a major task. Remember that a planner doesn’t only exist to help you plan ahead, but it’s also there to make you proud of what you’ve accomplished. There’s so much joy in being able to cross out multiple to-dos because this tells you you’ve worked to the best of your abilities. Consistent planner use isn’t limited to remembering responsibilities. It can be used to build self-confidence by reminding you to celebrate achievements, too!
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