Planner tips and tricks to get and keep your life organized
If you are feeling lost when it comes to organizing your life and using a planner, then you are in the right place! The planner tips and tricks that I have learned over the years have helped me tremendously and I know they will do the same for you. Listen, your life may still be a bit crazy, but it will be a more organized crazy. Are you ready to get to planning?
A few years ago I wasn’t using a planner and my life was just crazy. There are probably more reasons to it than the lack of planner, but it sure didn’t help! My to-do list was never ending and I actually wasn’t planning my days efficiently and effectively…go figure. When I finally discovered the power of a life planner, I was hooked!
How to start a planner
I started off with a really great, but kinda pricey planner. And you know what happened? Being my first ever planner, I figured out I didn’t love it and I stopped using it. I wasted the money on a really pretty planner. Now I make my own planner, the Intentional Life Planner, which you can check out here in my shop.
If you don’t have a pricey planner budget or you are just really unsure of what type of planner you will do best with, inserts and printable planners will be your best friend! So there are some things you need to take into consideration when choosing a planner or planner inserts/printables.
How to start a planner Step 1: Choose purchased, premade planner or printables/inserts.
How to start a planner Step 2: Choose which type of layout you like best (how much space you want for the daily plan, etc). This is why I offer 3 different weekly layouts in my own planner. There are choices:)
How to start a planner Step 3: Just as important as what you like best is deciding what you don’t like in a planner. Be sure to choose a planner without those things.
How to start a planner Step 4: Put your planner together using the next tips on organizing your planner.
Planner tips and tricks: Organizing your planner
The organization of a planner makes all of the difference when it comes to functionality and using the planner effectively. In most planners, this layout cannot be changed. If you are buying a prebuilt planner, be sure that you like the organization and it flows really well for you.
If you are organizing your own planner, I suggest having goals, a list of important dates by month, and routine planners in the front of your planner. This way, you always know exactly where they are.
For each month, having a full calendar so you can see the month in one glance is important. Then have a weekly planner for each week. The weekly planner will help you plan your weeks and plan each day.
Planner tips and tricks: Weekly planner tips
At the beginning of each week (or at the end of the week prior), take 10-15 minutes to do a brain dump of all the tasks that you need to do for the upcoming week. I tend to not put the “normal” duties on my list because I know I need to do things like a load of laundry each day, cooking 5 times a week, grocery shopping, morning routine items, evening routine tasks, etc.
As you are jotting tasks down in your weekly planner section, think about things like appointments, phone calls you need to make, special dates (from your important dates section, remember), errands you need to do, special home care activities, and family needs.
To make your weekly planner really work for you, review each task and be sure that it is something that absolutely needs to be done. If your schedule is too full, you are probably not able to live the life you truly love. Make time for your own needs and passions.
Planner tips and tricks: Daily planner tips
Remember when I said that I use to just use a massive to-do list before ever using a planner to stay organized? What I didn’t realize was that this made me feel defeated almost daily because I was putting too much on my list each day. Over the years I have corrected this habit and I feel so much better and more productive at the end of each day.
At the start of each day (or the night prior, whichever works best for you), review your weekly tasks from your weekly planner and assign some tasks to that day. Spread out your exhausting tasks so you aren’t too stressed each day. Also, be sure to group your errands, phone calls, and household chores so that you can be more efficient.
One of the best daily planner tips that I have for you is to plan your day with 3-5 tasks only. If you are a work at home mom, a stay at home mom, or a working mom, this all applies to you! This is the reason that I only put 5 spaces on each day in the Intentional Life Planner. Use this daily planner tip to help you feel less stressed and less overwhelmed.
Planner tips and tricks: Monthly planner tips
Having a birds eye view of your month is so important in organizing your life. I actually use 2 planners for my monthly planning: my digital calendar (iCal or Google calendar are both great!) and my paper calendar. Having this helps my hubby stay up to date on certain things and it helps me plan for a more efficient month.
The most important items to put on your monthly planner would be:
- Work days
- Big projects (at work, at home, at school)
Once you have all of these big picture items on your monthly planner, you can then make better decisions about everything from your budget to your meal plan to family fun days.
How to continue to use your planner even when you don’t want to
If you are new to using a planner and are still learning how to use a planner or trying to use a planner more effectively, I realize that it can get stressful. When planning isn’t “easy”, it is so much easier to slip into your old habits of making a to-do list or just putting out fires when they spark. That is no way to live though!
The best thing to do if you are getting to the point of quitting is to look back and review your monthly planner, your weekly planner, and your daily planner pages. Do you have too many tasks? Are you giving yourself enough time for each task? Are you filling your days with a lot of energy sucking days?
As you get use to planning, you will notice what a good, productive day feels like and you will be able to replicate that in the future. Don’t give up on your planner just yet! You may need to add pages to your planner or take pages away. A good example would be the hour by hour daily planner page that I have in the Intentional Life Planner. I loathe using these! I just can’t plan my day well, but so many people LOVE them!
I know these planner tips and tricks will help you succeed with your planner!
Give these planner tips and tricks a try, create a planner using printable like the Intentional Life Planner, or buy a prebuilt planner. Whatever you choose to do, just get started! It will be sure to make a world of difference to you, I promise!