Planning, Productivity, Self Evaluation, Tips

Planners Not Working? It’s Not Your Planner – It’s YOU

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Planners not working for you? Stickers got you stuck? Layouts getting in the way? Or just that dang color scheme distracting you!

You see that planning works for so many others, but yet it’s not working for you. It’s not helping you stay focused. The productivity hasn’t budged and it’s not helping you build better habits.

I have previously discussed signs that a planner isn’t working for you, but what if you are flipping through several pages of numerous planners and still can’t find THEE one? Well, I hate to be the one to tell you, but…


Maybe YOU Are The Problem.


There. I said it. You’re the problem.

A planner cannot fix you. It’s purpose is to help guide you while you work to fix yourself. It is to help you structure your life, to help you compartmentalize and prioritize all the things that matter to you from most to least important.

A planner is an accessory. And should be used as such.


When Planners Are Not Working


Outside of what type of planners to use and all the different customization that come with it, there are underlying fears that we all face.

And it’s my personal perspective that this is the reason why we wholeheartedly love some of our planners, and sparsely use the others. The ones we rarely touch, we tend to switch out more. Thinking that maybe a new design, a new style, a new something will keep us interested in it.

And sometimes, just doing that works. But other times… it doesn’t seem to help.


For instance…

Social media planning is probably the one area of planning I just cannot get a grip on.

I’ve been through so many different types when it comes to planning for my side hustle. From using a bullet journal (two of them), an erin condren hardbound (vertical and horizontal), the erin condren deluxe monthly planner (standard and frankenplanned), and now to a big horizontal happy planner.

If I wasted ANY money buying planners for one area of my life, it’s definitely been for social media.

And after studying myself, I realized the cold hard truth.


I’m Scared.

I can’t seem to stick to a social media planner because I’m pushing myself to commit to something I internally don’t feel 100% ready to commit to.

Yes, I have a fear in pursuing my own business and it resonates in me by not consistently using my social media planner.

And so I find myself constantly compensating for my fear by making it pretty, or switching it up and buying a new planner. But in reality, I am doing the very thing in my planners that I tend to do in real life.


Start Over.


I’ve been doing it for years. Sitting on ideas for an ETERNITY because I feel like I’ll never be able to present them the way I envision it. And if I can’t get people to see it the way I see it, then I’ve failed.

In a way, I love to set the bar high for myself, but I rarely ever reach it. It’s… quite the conundrum.




I went on that little tirade so that I could explain to you that yes, I have said to myself dozens of time that “social media planning just isn’t for me!” “It’s too spontaneous, too flexible, too big, too small, too bland, too busy, too etc” when in reality, the biggest issue was just that I wasn’t ready.


Was it the planners not working? No.

I wasn’t ready to USE a planner.

Because I hadn’t addressed my fear of being public and transparent, I had subconsciously already closed myself off to any “help”. I wasn’t ready to be helped, which is what a planner is supposed to do.


You know the saying. “You can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped“.


And yes, the same also goes for all the planners not working for you.


Now, I’m all about the self-evaluation and figuring out ways to overcome an issue. That’s part of the reason why I love planning! Here are some signs I’ve gathered on how to tell if you are actually the problem, and not your planner.


planners not working tombow dual brush markers


Planners Not Working?

3 Signs It’s YOU!



You’re back-planning more than you pre-plan

Using your planner to build habits requires that you actually plan ahead of time for the things you want to make sure you accomplish.

But when the planners are not working for you, you find yourself preferring to go back to fill in the planner with everything that happened more often than you actually plan in it.

It gives you more satisfaction to fill it with things that you did regardless of whether or not it pushed you toward your goals. Perhaps it’s the fear that you won’t do what you set out to accomplish which shows that your willpower to do those things is not as strong as it could be.


Try This!

[box] Start with small goals.

And I mean very TEENY TINY goals.

For example: If you are having trouble keeping a fitness planner, make your goal to put on your running shoes everyday you want to work out.

If you are having trouble keeping a blog planner, make your goal researching a topic you want to write about or checking your analytics. Do something easy that will encourage you to want to do more.[/box]


Thinking about updating your planner causes you dread

Your planner is not the problem if every new planner you get ends up with you sitting in front of it and still drawing a blank about how to use it.

In this post, I discussed several signs that could show you have a fear of success. And if you had any type of fear of becoming successful, it would show itself in your ability to pre-plan in your planner.

When your planners stop working and stress you out more than they relieve you, it’s time to step back and self-evaluate whether you are really ready for the goals you have set out to achieve.

Goals, no matter how big or small, are not usually a linear path. They come with a lot of breakdowns and breakthroughs.

They are almost always attached to a certain stigma that either we, or others, place on ourselves.

And when we internalize those fears, they manifest themselves one way or another.

If you find yourself not being able to think clearly and separate your goals into manageable tasks that you can do daily/weekly/monthly, then you might be dealing with a mental roadblock more than you’re dealing with a malfunctioning planner layout.


Try This!

[box] Take a deep breath.

Instead of forcing yourself to plan out of fear, take a few moments to think about why you wanted to improve this area in the first place. Create a positive atmosphere in your planner.

Allow yourself the freedom to mess up and be imperfect.

This planner is a breakthrough for you. So it will be challenging to build better habits and to deal with any mental roadblocks holding you back.

Just remember that everything will be okay. And whether you do a little or a lot, be proud of everything you achieve.[/box]


Despite your planners not working, you just can’t let it go

This has to be the kicker.

Usually, within the first few trials and purchases, people can figure out what is and what isn’t working. You’d be able to figure out if you need a separate planner for one area or if you should just combine it with another planning system you have.

Or maybe you just don’t need one at all.

But when YOU are actually the problem, than you will constantly seek out reasons to have a planner for THAT area. You will come across myriads of ideas for that planner, be inspired by so many different layouts and other creative planners.

Perhaps you’ll go back to your old planner and try to revive it, or you will go on to buy another one in the hopes that this one will work better than the last!

In the end, you can’t live without a planner for that specific purpose. And it haunts you, that you have so many half-used, re-purposed planners that was initially supposed to help you. You can’t stop wanting a planner for that specific reason.

And if that is the case, then perhaps the planner has never been the problem. It’s the fear you haven’t been addressing.


Try This!

[box] Get the one planner that feels the best for you in this moment and plan to use it for the next 6 months.

Do not get wrapped up in trying to beautify it. Use your planner to build better habits, willpower, and consistency.[/box]


Well, It Had To Be Said…


You aren’t alone in this, and will never be alone. We are all holding internalized fears and self-imposed stigmas. And again, planners not working out for you may have absolutely NOTHING to do with a fear you’re not addressing. It could absolutely just be the way the planner was created.

But if you’re nearing your wits end trying endless planner brands, styles, layouts, and color schemes. It might be time to examine whether the planner is causing you stress, or if you’re needing a mental breakthrough.

Much love, as always!


Has planning allowed you to recognize fears you didn’t know you were hiding? Care to share in the comments below?


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