Me + my planner = ❤
I’ve had a planner since elementary school. We were taught to keep one and write down our homework every day. I remember my fifth grade teacher would set aside time for all the students to take out our planners and write down our assignments. This carried into middle school where a planner was on our extensive school supplies list. Did anyone else get super pumped about new school supplies ?? In high school I would write down all my homework and usually not look at it again. The physical act of writing down my work would make me remember it. I could write down the many assignments I had to do for the night, go home, and remember everything I had to do. Then college came along. I felt way too young to be saying, “my memory isn’t what it used to be,” but it was true. I had to consult my planner constantly to remember everything I had to do. And now I’m out of college and don’t have 3 projects, a paper, and two quizzes to study for (thank goodness), but I have rehearsals, Orange Theory classes, freelance work, and events to remember.
Apparently not everyone keeps a planner. And some people find it hilarious how much I consult mine. It’s a combination of my sub par memory, constant excitement for the future, and desire to get stuff done. I love to see what I’ve accomplished, what I will be accomplishing, and the concerts, weddings, etc that I get to look forward to.
Here are a few pieces of advice you can follow if you want more organization in your life through getting a planner (5 stars, strongly recommend, two thumbs up):
So you want to be a planner ?
Get a planner.
There are a million kinds. You won’t know what kind works for you until you try some out. So hop online or strut over to Target and find a planner that you’ll want to spend a whole year with. I know that’s kind of a big commitment. That’s longer than my past two relationships. All I suggest is that your planner has each month shown on a spread so you can see the big picture of everything you’ll be doing each month as well as spaces with room to write down a few things for each day. My planner also has a notes section in the back that I like to use when I need to write down information or ideas.
I like to go through Facebook and write down people’s birthdays for the whole year. I’ll also note days my office is closed, due dates for bills, pay days, appointments, vacations, concerts, local events, etc. I even mark down things I MAY do. For example I write down a lot of concerts in my planner when I find out about them so if I feel like doing something on a random Tuesday, I can look in my planner to see if there’s a concert or other event I could go to. In my planner each month has a small notes section next to it so I’ll write down something I have to do without a specific due date or a due date far away, such as: need oil change, buy flashlight, or get Sara bday present.
Don’t freak out.
All those events may have been overwhelming. Find the right balance of writing stuff down and not being bombarded with information. Having blank spaces on your planner is great. It’s probably a day you’ll still go to work and do whatever your daily routine is, but then you’ll have time to be spontaneous, relax, or be productive! The joy of planning means you’ll feel comfortable in what you’re doing. You won’t feel guilty for going out to eat and spending four hours there chatting with your friends because you know you’ve gotten what you need to done. Leaving room for spontaneity keeps things fun. If you know you’ll be free a certain evening, but want to be productive, use the section for daily planning to make a list of what you want to get done. Which brings me to…
Make monthly, weekly, and daily to-do lists.
Planners aren’t just for remembering you have to see Dr. Bauuer at 9am January 23rd, they help you accomplish goals. Writing down what you want to accomplish each month, week, and day and making a plan for getting them done will change your life. Take time to reflect at the beginning of each month. Ask yourself on February 1, “on March 1, what do I want to have accomplished ?” Make it achievable. Then make a plan. Break down your weeks into what you need to get done to reach those accomplishments. Then write down what you need to get done on certain days to reach your goals. And make it happen! Hold yourself accountable for those things.
Check your planner daily.
In order to stay on track, you’ll need to check your planner every day. Bring it with you. I like to look at mine when I first get to work and when I’m about to leave. That way I see what I need to do in the upcoming days and remind myself of what I need to do after work. In college I would check mine before bed and make a plan for the next day to help me fall asleep better at night. Once you become dependable on getting done what you write down, you’ll be able to sleep soundly knowing tomorrow’s problems are just that: tomorrow’s problems.
Find what works for you and stick with it. I don’t think there are any cons to having a planner.. this is risk free people. I definitely want to spend more time reflecting at the beginning/end of each month in order to make a plan for the following month. I’m also working on focusing on less. Sometimes I try to do too many things at once instead of spending more time on less activities… but that’s another story. Blog post idea maybe?