Five ideas to make a planner work for you

Everyday I seem to be finding new planners either on Instagram, Facebook or Youtube, planners of all kinds. As I have mentioned before, I am a planner veteran, or so it feels, someone who has carried a planner in her backpack since junior high school, who learned to manage her time by a teacher during a “productivity” class. I enrolled in that class because I was failing some courses and I had to learn to combine both, sports – being part of the triathlon team – and a heavy course load.

Today, I have learned what works and what doesn’t work for me. I also learned what layouts in a planner are good and which ones will never work, based on my lifestyle. I know my preferences, I know how my mind works and I know what sections I like to have, either on a page or a layout. I do love the fact that more and more entrepreneurs come up with new planners. I admire these women and small businesses for their new proposals, their ideas and creativity. While I love the idea of also planners being a creative outlet for those of us who can’t draw, don’t do scrap booking and are not creative enough to come up with a new master piece, I also realize that some planners, in my case, would only be a waste of time, they simply would not work for my lifestyle.

There are many planners out there that have sections for anyone looking for particular things or very specific layouts, there also printables if you prefer printing your own inserts. There are bound planners or ring ones, there are midori style planner or book-like ones. Whatever it is that you like, there are also a few things to bear in mind to make a planner work for you. I came up with a short list of things that one should NOT do to make a planner work.

Before I dive it, let’s define what a planner can do for you:

  1. A planner is a tool that can help us manage our time better, more effectively and get things done.
  2. A planner should be a tool where we can visualize how our days will break down
  3. A planner also will help us know what we have to do today and plan those tasks that need to be done in the future
  4. Planners can carry as much or as little information about different areas of our lives, for example: Work, work, family, business, school, etc. – sometimes all of them together.
  5. Planners can be destined for one particular area, or many at once.

This said, for a planner to work for you, whatever it is destined for, and to help you meet your productivity timelines, goals, finish projects or simply know what you have to do on a particular day, there are a few things that one must NOT do with a planner to work, here are five of these things:

  1. Don’t keep your planner hidden, out of reach or unaccessible – this might seem obvious but it isn’t. Planners need to be at a hand’s reach, where we can have access to them when something comes up or when we think of something we need to remember or do.
  2. Don’t forget to look at your planner! This is similar to the first point, if you want to remember what you need to do on a specific day, you have to create the habit of looking at your planner and writing down whatever it is that you need to do do or remember
  3. Don’t over think it. Planners should make our lives easier and should be easy to read and navigate. Create a system where you are familiar with the content, where you know the sections in your planner and where you will remember where you wrote something or where to find a task when you need to.
  4. Write it down! There are many benefits that come with writing things down. Planners can help you keep track of tasks, lists, notes, reminders, schedules, emergent tasks, urgent tasks and so forth. If you don’t write it down, you will never remember them!
  5. Make it a habit, use your planner! If you buy your Filofax binder with fabulous inserts but never use them, what is the point? You need to create the habit of sitting down in the morning/night and jotting down your tasks, to dos, lists, reminders, and so forth. If you don’t take 10-20 minutes to sit down and look at your planner and actually PLAN your day and future tasks, no matter how fabulous your planner looks like, it will never work for you. Use your planner and make a habit of looking at it.

There you go, these are only a few things that can help you find your way around how best to use your planner and how to take advantage of it.



2 thoughts on “Five ideas to make a planner work for you”

  1. Great tips! I love the idea of a productivity class too, I learned later on and the hard way to plan effectively. Finally no longer feel like a juggling act!


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