how to start using a planner

5 Tips That Will Help You Start (And Keep) Using A Planner This Year

How to start using a planner this year and build a habit that can help you for a lifetime.

I absolutely love that so many people are making planners part of their lives. Planners seemed to get lost in the shuffle the more we adopted technology into our every day lives. Fortunately, many people are realizing that writing things down on paper (or in an online planning system), goes a long way in helping them stay focused on reaching their goals. Having a planner is great, but using it is what makes all the difference. If you want to stick with using your planner this year, here are some tips that can help.

1. Choose a planner that fits your needs.

This seems obvious, but I can’t tell you how many people I talk to in person and online that chose a planner only because it was pretty or because it was the planner everyone in their circle was chattering about. While there are tons of planners on the market you can find for under $20, most people are investing $25-50 on planners these days – and some are even more than that! Planners are an investment. So, make a wise one – choose a planner that fits your day-to-day needs.

If you only write down a note or two every day or just jot down major goals and milestones, a monthly planner may be all you need. If daily details are your thing, a daily planner with an hourly layout may be more your style. There’s something for everyone. You just need to understand what kind of planner you are – that will make finding the right planner much easier.

panda planner daily planning pages

2. Pick a planner that’s portable.

Part of using your planner on a regular basis means that it needs to be easily accessible. If you’ll be planning outside of your home or office, something that fits in a purse, backpack, messenger bag, and hey, even your pocket, can really help you stick to your planning habit. One of my favorite planners wasn’t portable. It was chore to take from place to place, but fortunately, I mostly worked at home. That company (Day Designer) now makes planners in a variety of sizes – most of them are way more portable than the original one I had back in 2014!

3. Fill in important events and dates right away.

You might not be ready to do your day-to-day planning yet, but I’m sure you have some ideas of upcoming holidays, vacations, birthdays or business milestones that you want to track. Crack open your planner as soon as you get it and start getting those things in there. An object in motion tends to stay in motion – and so it goes with planning. Once you get your feet wet, you’ll think of other things you want to log and track and then you’ll be well on your way to making your planner part of your daily life.

4. Schedule regular planning time.

I plan my day every day, first thing in the morning. I highly recommend it. But if you prefer to plan at night or have one big planning session once a week, that’s fine too. Whatever works for you, decide and speak to it. And yes, write your planning time down in your planner! If you use an electronic calendar, put your planning time in there too. Commit to investing this time in yourself.

organized planner

5. Keep everything in one place.

If you tend to write on Post-It notes or scraps of paper, it can be a habit that’s tough to break. That’s okay. Corral those notes in your planner. I feel much better when I have 10 Post-Its in my planner than when they are scattered around my work space. Plus, it makes it easier for you to transfer the notes into your planner if everything is in one spot.

If your planner comes with note pages, use those to the fullest. If you’re using the planner for business, note pages can be great for jotting down product and service ideas, ideas for blog posts and videos, preferred vendors, longer term to-do or project lists and more. The key to staying organize is having a home for everything. Your planner can help you keep everything in one place.

 

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