Let’s face it… a task management system is only as effective as its user. You’ve got to use a system in order to reap the rewards, right? If you’ve already purchased a paper planner for this year, you’ve taken the first step. Now, it’s time to lay the groundwork to effectively use your planner so that it doesn’t collect dust before the year is over.
Plan to Plan
Take it from Benjamin Franklin, one of our favorite paper planners in history; “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” If you want to get the most out of your planner, PLAN to use it. Figure out a time each day that’s optimum for planning, one that can easily become a habit. For me, during the week, I like to plan at the office before I open my emails. And if I have it my way – I pair this planning session with a cup of coffee. I read my daily inspirational quote, review my hourly schedule, jot down my to-dos, prioritize my Big 3, log my exercise and journal my gratitude. Whew – that’s a well-rounded start to the day if I do say so myself! On the weekends, I leave my planner out on the kitchen counter and enjoy a little quiet time with her on Sunday afternoons.
So find your time, and pencil it in (literally!). Even if you can’t set a specific hour, try to pair this planning time with an existing habit; ie “with my first cup of coffee” or “right before bed.” Before you know it, opening your planner will become second nature. And for some (me, me, me!) you’ll feel lost without her.
Use A Single Planner
Some planner aficionados may disagree, but using a single paper planner for every aspect of life might give you a higher chance of “sticking with” your new organized lifestyle. Think of your planner as a control center; “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” You’ll have one unified space for all of your thoughts, activities, deadlines and appointments. You’re simply more likely to SEE your tasks when everything is organized in ONE location. And you know what’s just as important as the task at hand? Remembering to do it.
For some of us, putting everything into one spot is easy – as long as it’s organized. Kitlife planners are setup with separate sections for the aspects of life that we find most important – but you could also get wild and use planner stickers and/or color coding to add some structure.
Now, don't get us wrong. Having more than one planner can certainly have its benefits. But if you're asking us a tip on how to start and stick with getting things done ... baby steps, people!
Leave your Planner Open
We could talk time management tips for hours (and if you’re interested in that kind of thing – check out our popular online Time Management Course). With dozens and dozens of tips and tricks at our disposal – USING A PLANNER will always be our number one tip in properly managing your time. A planner is your greatest tool in staying organized – and it’s simply no good to you if it’s closed. So, find a spot near your work space, clean it off and open up that planner.
Why is it that we hear people say “I stopped using my planner after just a couple months?” The excitement a new planner brings to a New Year is unparalleled (OK – I admit it – I’m a planner nerd) – but that excitement can wear off. It is the habit of using that planner that will keep you WITH IT all year long.
Choose a Planner You Love
Paper planners have recently experienced a bit of a renaissance. And along with that renaissance, comes a slew of great options. Whether you like Daily Planners, A5 Inserts, Weekly Planners, Bullet Journals, colorful pages or monochromatic – you’re sure to find planner peace in the wide world of planner options.
As you pick your planner for the year ahead – just remember a few things. Your planner will spend all year with you. That means you’ll be looking at the same planner 7 days a week…for 52 weeks. Do yourself a favor and make sure you choose one that you’re going to love to look at. And, perhaps more importantly, one that you will be able to effectively plan in.
If you’re working a full time job, managing your household and perhaps enjoying a side-hustle or two – you simply need the space a Daily Planner offers. And, if you’re often on the road, or constantly back and fourth, make sure the planner you choose travels well. Remember while you shop – you shouldn’t have to adjust to fit a planner, your planner should fit YOU!
Alright girls, you’ve got the tips you need to succeed in the year of planning ahead. Let us know your favorite planner and any tips and tricks you’ve discovered for keeping planning front and center in your life.
Photograph courtesy of our #kitgirl at http://jennifershopeblog.com/