Having a planner is a good thing – as long as you actually use it. If it just sits in your purse or briefcase it won’t help you. Even if it’s open on the counter but you never look at its pages it has limited value. And if you never write in it, it’s not worth having.
So if your planner is just taking up space in your purse, briefcase or on your counter, maybe it’s time to actually dust it off and start using it to make your life better!
Here’s what I’m talking about:
1. Consider it your brain. Yes, your brain. Or you can call it your control center if that’s less offensive. But everything goes there. It’s the go-to place when you need to record, remember or retrieve information. Even if the actual information isn’t in your planner, your planner will tell you where it is. Your planner needs to be so important to your daily survival that you will be devastated if it’s lost or stolen (and that’s a good reason to back it up – check out this video by Kent of Oz about how he backs up his Filofax).
2. Keep it open and visible. When you’re home or at work, keep it out in the open. It needs to be easily accessible or you won’t access it. When you think of that brilliant idea or the thing you forgot you need to do, your planner needs to be easy to get to so you can write it down ASAP. And when you think of those things, you need to write them down in your planner ASAP. Not later. Now. You should be writing in your planner on and off all day long.
3. Have a designated location for your planner. Mine is almost always on my desk or my kitchen counter – depending on where I am. If it’s always in one of a couple of locations, it’s easier to track down when you need it.
4. Carry it with you. It’s best if you carry your planner with you because you never know when you’ll need it. But if that’s not practical, at least carry a notepad in your bag or have an area in your smart phone so you can jot anything down and transfer it to your planner later.
5. Look at it often. Some people are lucky enough to be able to make a list and then remember what they need to do without ever looking at the list again. But most of us can’t do that. We need constant reminders. If you’re one of those people who needs reminders, you probably need to look at your planner frequently. And if you can’t remember to look at your planner frequently, set up reminders on your phone to remind you to check your planner. It will probably become a habit eventually (especially after you see how much better your life is when you use it) and you won’t need the reminders anymore.
6. Write everything down in your planner. Once you stop writing everything down or you get sporadic about it, you’re in trouble. At that point your planner is no longer a complete record of your appointments, tasks and information and you probably don’t trust it any more or think you need it. And that’s when your life will start falling apart and your ducks will no longer be in a row.
7. Personalize it. Some people buy a planner from the planner store and start using it as is and never look back. But that’s not the case for most people. Most people find that the store-bought planner doesn’t quite do it for them. They either need more color or custom pages or a different format. Whatever you need to make your planner work for you, DO IT! Don’t put up with a generic planner if you need more. There are tons of ideas on Philofaxy for ways to customize your planner.
8. As much as possible, only write things in your planner. Be careful using extra note pads or post-its or scrap pieces of paper. Those things can be handy but they distract you from using your planner. When you start writing notes in a bunch of different places, your planner will no longer be completely trusted because everything might not be in there. If you do have to use other papers, try to transfer the information into your planner or attach the note or post-it.
9. Don’t be afraid to make changes or tweaks. But before you go crazy making changes and/or spending money, analyze the problem. Figure out what’s wrong or what you don’t like and why. Then come up with a solution or two. Maybe do a trial run. Whenever I make a custom page, I print one out and then fill it out. Many times I find problems with the page that need to be fixed before I print a bunch. Or I realize it’s not going to work at all. Once you start tweaking and changing, it can get out of control fast. So do it thoughtfully and carefully.
10. If you think it’s not working and start itching to make big changes, WAIT. Give it a few days or even a week. Often it’s not the planner, it’s YOU!. Most of us tend to have a knee jerk reaction when our planner starts displeasing us and we want to chuck it and start over. But wait a few days and if you still think it’s time for a change, then do it. But make sure it’s the planner and not you.
11. Don’t give up! I’ll admit that sometimes I get tired of using my planner. I don’t want to write anything else down or look at another list or make another list. I want to do what I want to do and not worry about it. But you know what happens when I do that? My life falls apart. I forget things. I miss deadlines. I worry that I forgot to do something I need to do. No, it’s not worth it. I want my ducks in a row and I want my life as smooth as possible. Maybe you can do that without a planner but I can’t. So when you have one of those days when you just don’t want to use your planner, do it anyway!
Thank you, Homemakers Daily
Come join us for encouragement and support at https://www.facebook.com/groups/GiftoftheHome/