No matter how many times I’ve tried, I cannot seem to full switch to an app for my planning needs. I’ve found ways to use them in conjunction with my tangible planner, but it never works on it’s own. There’s something about crossing things off and physically writing the tasks that just helps keep me organized and on track.
And without my planners, I’d be lost. I have multiple to be able to easily manage this blog, the Gnarly Whale, and our personal lives. And for me, these planners are so much more than just a spot to write down dates or my never ending to-do list. They help me keep track of my accomplishments, milestones and sometimes even memories. Even with a pretty decent memory, writing all of these things down keeps the overwhelm at bay.
While I think planners are a great idea for anyone looking to get organized, there are ways to best utilize your planner that make it so much more beneficial.Write In It Regularly | It’s really easy to find a new, pretty planner and write in it for a week or so then forget all about it. Set a time aside to write in it (even include it in your nighttime routine) and make it easily accessible. Check it throughout the day and make sure that you’re sticking to the list that you’ve written for that day. Jot down moments you don’t want to forget or your gratitude list. Cross tasks off and write down tasks that are due in the next couple of days, weeks, or months.
Don’t Write Everything Down | This is something that I wish I would have learned much sooner, but do not try to capture every single thing in your planner. Do not fill every time slot and do not fill out the entire list of tasks to do that day. And if you feel like you need to, make sure at least one of the time slots or tasks is downtime. Unplanned, do-anything-you-want downtime. Without this, you’re likely to get overwhelmed and walk away from using the planner.
Get Creative With It | Utilize the space available however you see fit. Just because it lists times doesn’t mean you have to utilize them. Cover the times up with washi tape. And maybe they’re just wide open boxes with no lines or check boxes. Get some planner stickers and place them wherever you need the lines or boxes. Planners provide a great template to really make it your own. Make sure it reflects you and your personality so you want to use it regularly.
Plan Ahead | Use a monthly planner or a monthly section of a daily planner to set goals for the month ahead. Then breakdown those goals into weekly and/or daily goals that build to achieve the goal. This’ll help ensure that you meet your goals and that, at the end of the month, you won’t be feeling like you didn’t do anything that fits the bigger picture.
Review It | It’s great to write down your hopes, dreams, memories, goals, to-do lists, shopping lists, important dates, etc in your planner. But if that’s all you do, then you’re not utilizing it’s full potential. Planners capture everything we feel important. And if we feel it’s important, isn’t it worth reviewing? Whether it’s just to reflect or whether it’s to plan out the following week, we wrote it down for a reason. And that reason is so we would have it documented in an easy to review location.
Do The Hardest Things First | For me, it’s natural to want to cross off all of my small tasks so I can check off a bunch of tasks. But then I’m left with the long tasks that I don’t always look forward to. To fight this, I try to do the hardest thing first – whether it’s short or long. Once it’s done, if possible, I do the next hardest thing. That way, after every task is done, I know my list only gets easier from there.
And if you’re looking to get organized for the new year, I would HIGHLY recommend AT-A-GLANCE®! I switched to one of their planners in the middle of the year because my old one just wasn’t cutting it and I am in LOVE with it now! What I really appreciate about AT-A-GLANCE® is how many options they have. For 2016, AT-A-GLANCE® has updated their collection and the fashion line of planners by carefully selecting materials and colors to offer the latest in design trends. Most lines include weekly and monthly formats to help manage busy schedules and keep an organized life for the entire year. You can check all of them out at ATAGLANCE.com
For the daily planner, it has some great features like:
Weekly/monthly planner with fashionable design an appointment times makes it easy to stay on top of your plans
Column ruled weekly spread includes appointment times from 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. for hourly planning. Ruled notes space also included for weekend days.
One month per two page spreads include ruled blocks for neater notes and monthly tabs
Notes space plus past and future months reference on each two page spread
Special pages: holiday listing, 3 year (past, current, and future) reference calendars, event calendar, contacts, notes, and future planning pages for next year
For the monthly planner, these features are fantastic:
13 months (January – January)
Tabbed months with one month per two-page spread
Open writing blocks and space for notes each month
Re-pin the AT-A-GLANCE® #Sweepstakes Announcement pin on a new board called “It’s My Life.” Include pins that demonstrate what you are motivated to achieve, and use #MyAAG #Sweepstakes in each pin description.