Planning, Productivity, Tips

Planner Routine – When It’s Not Working and What To Do About It

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With planning comes the inescapable “planner routine” where you find the groove of how and when you’ll use your new stationary friend within your life. It all starts out great with checking in with it consistently and not forgetting important tasks. And the best part is that it helps you increase productivity and sets you on the path to achieving your goals!

But unfortunately, every planner routine is not a one size fits all. And with our lives constantly changing day in and day out, so will our planning styles. Some people are fortunate enough to use the same exact planner for years and years and YEARS. But many of us, at one point or another, will need to venture into other options to find what suits us which is not a bad thing. After all, a planner really only serves one job. And that’s to help you be more productive!

And if it’s not doing that then… is it really doing anything?


In a previous post, I discussed my tips about positive planning and how to create an atmosphere that would make you WANT to plan in your planner. But what if you did, and the planner you had worked for awhile but suddenly… things are going awry.


The Effects of Negative Planning


Is your planner routine no longer effective? But you’ve been using it for awhile now, maybe you’re just in a rut. Sometimes, it is hard to pull away from something you have really gotten used to and figure that maybe it’s a phase that will pass. So, how can you tell if your planner routine is no longer working for you and not just a phase?



The biggest and most obvious sign is that you are procrastinating with using them. And not to say that skipping a few check ins from your natural planner routine means it’s bad planning, I mean you can go weeks and months without looking at your planner. You’re barely using it and deep down, you may not even want to use it for whatever reason. Perhaps the prettiness of it intimidates you. The size of it irritates you. The fact that pens bleed through on the other side of the page leaves you writing with pencils, but you hate writing in pencil. Whatever the reason it is, you’re not using it.

Even when you have big projects, looming deadlines, and other events starting to cramp up your schedule, you STILL don’t find yourself looking into your planner that often. You start trying to remember things, keeping sticky notes and random notes in your phone. Using basically everything besides your planner… to plan.



You use it, but really sporadically. Whereas some months you use it, and some months you don’t. You find yourself being really good at sitting down to write in all your tasks, events, goals, etc. But when it comes time to check in, you don’t really stay consistent with it. You tend to check in when you feel like it or whenever you have time. And for the most part, it IS working, but not as much as it could be.


Negative Atmosphere

Sitting down to plan means getting to have a little quality time to yourself. For the most part, that is a good thing. But having quiet time for some people means that all their negative thoughts begin to seep in. You look at your planner and instead of seeing all of the things you accomplished, you see all the things that didn’t get done. It makes you feel unproductive and unfulfilled. But you continue to use your planner because you know you need to, but deep down, you really don’t want to either.



Your planner routine leaves you feeling anything but organized! You’ve got so much information in so many places and your mind just can’t handle that! You either have too many or too little planners or feel like you have too little time to do the little nuances that many in the planner community enjoy, such as decorating it. Your mind feels more cluttered with each planning session and it’s driving you CRAZY.



You just flat out forgot. You wrote down everything you needed to, stashed your planner away, and never saw it again. Out of sight, out of mind. And you don’t really think about checking in again until it’s time to plan out the next week.



Make Your Planner Routine “Positive” Again


Have you found that your planner routine isn’t as great as it could be? Well, here are some tips to help reverse that!


Procrastinating? Try A New Planner

Yep, I’ll go ahead and say it. You might need to try out a different planner format if you are constantly procrastinating in your planner routine. Be sure to understand what it is about your current planner that is leading you to not really want to use it. Maybe you need a more simplified planner without the foil and beautiful doodles. Or perhaps you need to focus on finding planners with thicker pages so that the bleed through won’t irritate you so much. Research your options in regards to different planner sizes and really know the guts of the planner you choose to go with next.


Inconsistent? Create A Schedule of Checking In!

If you are inconsistent in your planner routine, then you need to create a schedule to check in with it. Be specific, as in ‘everyday at 8pm I’ll check in with my daily planner’. You’ll either need to create a routine of checking in with your planner daily or find a more suitable planner where you can comfortably check in with it a couple of times each week.


Depressing? Re-Route Your Planner’s Purpose!

Your planner routine can depress you if you are more prone to look at how you aren’t using it. That was my issue with my previous planners and that’s why I’m very into creating positive atmospheres for my planning style now. Brightening up your planner routine could really be as simple as decorating it first to allow yourself to really “clear your mind” before you jump into the meat of planning.

Other ways to re-route your planner’s purpose is to just switch up the way you plan. Instead of writing down only things you want to do, make sure to leave an area in each day to write down things you’ve done. If you are more of a journalist type, keep track of gratitude, or just special events that happened each day. Incorporate more ways to help you feel more accomplished so that it will help you want to continue to do more productive things.

Because really, nobody enjoys being reminded of how they’re NOT being awesome. That planner would depress me too.


Overwhelmed? Simplify It!

No, you don’t enjoy keeping up with 765 planners. Or you’re just not into over-saturating it with washi, drawings, and stickers. You don’t care to save up for that pricey planner every year. Or you may not care to plan on paper at all. Whatever you need to cut down or cut out, do so. Your brain should be able to understand and take in all the information with ease and not feel like it’s spinning out of control. Multiple planners means you have more access to keeping a ton more of information about those specific topics.

If you are someone to easily be overloaded with information, multiple planners are just not going to work for you. Decorative planning won’t be your thing either if you feel like it takes up too much of your time when all you wanted to write down was that you needed to wash the dishes. Simplify your planner routine and make it easier for your mind to handle without being all over the place.


Forgetful? Keep It Visible and Easily Accessible!

If you generally forget about your planner routine just moments after you’ve planned in it, than you need to keep it in a more visible and easily accessible place. Perhaps your gratitude planner would get more use if it was on top of your nightstand table and not inside one of the drawers. Maybe your home planner gets forgotten about when it’s on the coffee table, so move it to the kitchen counter… right by the coffee machine. 😉


The Bottom Line Is…

It’s Okay To Change It Up


There are planners out there for EVERYONE. And they all want to be there to help you be more organized and efficient in your life. So don’t feel bad that your planner routine is no longer benefiting you the way it used to. Things change, and that’s okay. Perhaps you’ll find yourself looping back to that planner before the year is out. Or maybe you could just try undated planners and not feel tied to keeping up with it constantly.

The choice is yours! And for many, that’s a wonderful thing! But if the thought of having so many planners at your fingertips is just daunting to you, read this post first to see where you should start.


Have a great day, people! 🙂

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