Previously, I discussed how you could identify whether your planning routine was no longer working for you. And if that happened, I also provided some ways you could combat it. Check that post out here.
But if you are new to planning in general, you might not know where to start when it comes to maintaining a planner. You’re not sure where to began and there’s just so much to dive into that you’re afraid of messing up.
Well, luckily, planners don’t care about being fashionable, so you’re okay there!
Here in this post, these are a few tips that might help you when it comes to starting your new planner. We won’t delve into the accessories and fountain pens that you should try, just overall tips that will help you in your planning in general.
Tip #1 – Don’t Stress
It’s unnerving to get your hands on such a beautiful planner and fear you’re going to mess it up someway, somehow. Please take a few moments to release your planner anxiety (is that a thing? It is now lol).
But this tip doesn’t just apply for the first time you plan, but for every planning session. It sounds weird to say but… don’t plan when you’re angry. Don’t plan when you’re hurting, frustrated, stressed, or sad just like you wouldn’t do anything else when you’re fueled with blind fury and emotions.
Planning under so much emotion, negative emotion at that, is only going to make it harder to focus. You might end up skipping over several important appointments, tasks, etc because you’re not concentrating on the task at hand.
Not to mention that your brain might start connecting “planning time” to anger and other negative emotions. And in a subconscious way, it might cause you to start procrastinating and avoiding your planner altogether.
So please, take the time to de-stress before you dive in.
Tip #2 – Set A Time
Get consistent with your planner and set a date and time to use it.
As you may have heard before, your planner is not your phone. There are no vibrating notifications and fancy ringtone alarms to remind you that something needs to be done. Alexa is not going to open your planner and say “you have unfinished tasks that need to be completed”. AOL won’t sprint in screaming “YOU’VE GOT MAIL!!!”… did I just give away my age?
No. There’s none of that.
So the first couple of planning sessions will either be rigid or flexible as you develop your planning style. Make sure to keep your planner visible so that you can remember to reference it throughout the week. The more you keep up with it, the more it will become a habit. And if it doesn’t become a habit, it’s just a signal that you may need to switch it up. You may need to try a different layout, or change the time you plan. Or you can lengthen or shorten the planning session, etc.
After a couple weeks of using it daily, your brain will let you know what works and what doesn’t.
Tip #3 – Pre-Plan
This is a very important tip!
Pre-plan for your planner. This could be most useful for those who decorate their planners, but it’s still very useful for those who just write in it with no regards.
Before you start planning, take a scrap sheet of paper or an army of sticky notes and just brainstorm all and everything you have to do for that week. Write out the appointments you’re expecting to go to, things you need to clean, cook, make, buy, visit, research, etc.
Don’t go planning just yet. Something I like to do is write down things that probably are not time sensitive, but I would like to squeeze in throughout the week. These things are mainly tied to personal goals, but I want to make sure I get them done.
No matter what your planning style is, make sure you pre-plan (or at least try it). Having that sheet handy when you go in to set up your planner will allow you to plan your week accordingly and stress free. It will especially aid you in making sure one day isn’t task-heavy whereas other days aren’t (I did that a lot in my planners when I first started out). It’ll also be a good way to schedule in a “free day” where you don’t really want to have anything to do and you just want to let life be.
Yes, try incorporating pre-planning into your routine if that helps you.
Tip #4 – Don’t Be Afraid To Use Things Outside Your Planner
Just because you are a paper planner doesn’t mean your phone can’t be of use.
Lets be real, our phones are pretty much with us (and probably in our hands) most of the day. While I personally still can not get into digital planning, I like to keep note-taking apps on my phone where I can quickly type in some tasks or appointments or whatever and later transfer them into my planner.
Others might do better using sticky notes only. I would, though, use sticky notes to pre-plan for future weeks and months. That way nothing is permanent and if plans change, you just toss out the sticky note.
And That’s All!
So those are just a few of my tips for you to create a planner routine suitable for you. Although I am sure there are plenty more articles out there, I hope that this helped you. Have any other suggestions? Leave them in the comments below!
Have a great day everyone! 🙂