Planning is a great way to get organized, be more productive and get things done. Do you love to decorate and plan, but find it hard to actually use and be consistent with it every day? Or maybe you just keep forgetting to use your planner? Consistency simply put is just about repetition. It’s about repeating the same actions over and over again. Being consistent with using your planner will help you to be more productive in the long run. To be consistent with planning you want to make it a habit, but you need help with creating that habit.
As you probably know by now, planner provides a lot of amazing benefits for your life, but becoming more organized is one of the best. Even if you are someone that tends to write down a lot of notes and to-do lists, do you find that you write it down, then never look at it again?
This is exactly why you should be using a planner.
The planner doesn’t just help you “plan” what needs to be done and when, but it details tasks that are required for each goal, and requires you to check in, check off items on your to-do list, and really keep up with it.
In this post, I will be sharing with you some ways you can make using your planner more consistent by adding it to your daily routine.
1. Know your why
The very first step in becoming consistent with anything is first knowing your why. What is your goal? Why do you want to plan everyday? Do you want to finish a planner? Perhaps you’d like to document and see how your year went? Or maybe you want to be more productive and get more done? What’s your why? Figure that out, write it down and remind yourself of it daily.
2. Schedule it
When you start planning you need to make sure to use it every day. To make sure you use it daily you should schedule it in. Find a time that works best for you. I personally like to plan the night before. Each night around 7pm I plan my day for tomorrow. I check and review my planner. I even set reminders on my phone! It’s a blocked out time in my schedule so I make sure it gets done. When you schedule anything, it highlights the fact that you have decided to start taking action. Take a look at your schedule, and find time for “planning time”. It can be as little as 5-10 minutes. Just make the time!
When you add it to your schedule you won’t keep putting it off until you feel like it or when the time is right. When it’s in your schedule it’s already decided and therefore HAS to get done!
3. Make it a part of your routine
A daily routine is a great way to focus your mind on one thing and set yourself up for a
productive day. If you want to use a planner every day, just add it to your daily morning or evening routine.
The key to making planning a daily habit is by integrating it into your daily routine. Try to make it a habit to do it at the same time every day, and soon it will easily become a new habit.
Be sure to also make checking into your planner a habit in your routine. Regular check-ins or reviews about your plans will ensure that the plan is moving in the right direction. It will hold you accountable and help you review what is happening and make changes if necessary.
Here are some different ideas sand tips for figuring out the best time:
- Use it Before or After Journaling – If you have a daily habit where you write in a journal, this is perfect! You can simply add a few minutes to this daily routine by also checking in with your planner. Both of these are effective at improving your life.
- Start Your Day with Your Planner – It is great to use your planner at the beginning or end of your day, trying to do it at the same time each day. In the morning, find a few minutes when you are just sitting and relaxing, perhaps during breakfast. Use this time to write in your planner or just see what the plan is for the day.
- Use it Before Bed – Another part of your daily routine that could fit in a planner habit is by using it at the end of the day before bed. Give yourself a few minutes to relax, write in your planner, and cross off what you got done that day.
- Use the Planner During Your Lunch Break – For some people, they prefer to use their planner at work. Bring it with you and remember to use it during your lunch break or another time during the day when you have a little quiet time to focus.
Start by figuring out your daily routine and how to add using your planner to that routine.
Do you find that you sit at your kitchen table in the morning with a cup of coffee, and have a
few minutes of quiet time? If so, this is a great time to start a daily routine where you write in the planner, and maybe your journal as well. For others, they prefer it to be during their lunch break at work, or maybe in the evening before bed to mentally prepare for the next day. There are no rules here except consistency.
Read more about why planning a daily routine will make your life easier here..
4. Use a checklist
People who fail at planning consistently may not have a checklist to follow. When you don’t follow a checklist you often miss things and your plans can slip through the cracks. Notes or important info that you needed to remember never got written down and all those papers in your inbox has been sitting there for months, unprocessed. Instead of planning haphazardly, focus instead on building a system. Set rules for when you will plan, how you will plan and what you will plan. An awesome checklist for planning weekly is from David Allen’s Getting Things Done.
Another great one with much more detail is from The Olden Chapters here.
If that’s too much for you just use the ones that pertain to your lifestyle, keep it simple, for example:
- Write down everything on your mind in an inbox or to-do list
- Decide where each task needs to go or get done
- Decide on goals for the month
- Check tasks and calendar for next week
- Schedule all tasks into your planner
- Take the first next action now
I have another post all about setting up systems in your life that you can read here. If you want more ideas about lists to set up and use be sure to check out my video here.
5. Ignore your negative feelings
There will be times when you just don’t feel like planning, but you must push through this discomfort and keep planning! There will also be times when you feel like the way you plan just isn’t working, whether it’s not functional for you or not pretty enough. This is when you need to just ignore it and focus on your planning.
Keep using the same system for at least a month before switching it up. Switching planners or systems too often will lead to never finding planner peace. & stop comparing your planners to others. Everyone’s lives are different! Focus on yourself and your planner and think about how much more organized you will be once planning becomes a habit.
6. Plan for failure
When you run into an obstacle, don’t allow yourself to get emotionally down. Whether you get sick and stop planning for a week, or if you lost your planner. When you run into a problem, you get an opportunity to learn how to fix problems.
Your failures don’t have to define you. Your emotional stress doesn’t have to derail your forward progress to eventually victory. Focus on the big picture and, most importantly, focus on solving problems in the here and now to take you one step closer to your eventual goal.
7. Keep it visible
By keeping the plan in front of you the focus is maintained. I like to keep my planner open and standing up on a tablet stand on my desk. That way I am constantly reminded to check my planner and use it.
Just like the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind”. So keep your planner visible and that will help you use your planner more consistently.
8. Keep it simple
This probably won’t be the last time you hear this advice, but keep it simple! If you are just
starting your own planner and struggling to use it every day, don’t make it so complicated. You don’t 5 planners, or a planner with 500 pages just to be effective. Start with a plain notebook, then when those pages fill up or you get new ideas, gradually add in more to your planner.
Stick to Just One Planner for Everything. While there are planners for specific things, many people benefit from just one. With just one planner you’ll be able to see your entire life at a glance. If you use multiple planners, there is often overlap. You won’t cross over appointments from work into your personal calendar, and having to keep up with more than one planner can be time-consuming and repetitive! This also avoids any confusion with which planners to write in or which you one you need to use each day.
Simplify the process by having just one planner.
9. Use a planner you love & make it fun!
Using a planner you absolutely love will encourage you to use it. You will be excited about opening it up every day.
If you want to be more organized, color coding is highly recommended. I am a visual person and seeing all the colors at a glance really helps. Think about the difference between having a calendar in all black pen, or having different colors for different types of events. This really helps your entire planner to be organized and easy to spot the various plans, tasks, or to-do lists.
Planners are fun and being creative with your planner will help your productivity as well. You started this planner journey because of how cute and pretty it was but now you also want to get organized. It’s a win-win situation. So don’t stop decorating your planner if it helps you to be more productive and organized. Find a planner you love!
You might need to switch things up, whether that means taking a different approach, printing new planner pages that are more enjoyable for you to use, or getting a little more creative with how it looks. Make it fun!
10. Start Now
No matter what’s going on in your life, you have to commit to starting now. Do not hold things off until tomorrow. Tomorrow will never come. The more you keep saying to yourself there is always a tomorrow, the more you doom yourself. You’re just giving yourself an out. You’re giving yourself excuse after excuse not to start. You’re giving into your fear.
Don’t do that. Resolve to start now.
Other tips for staying consistent with planning
Remember using a planner is all about improving your life and making it easier, so all of these suggestions are optional. However, they can really help when you are just getting started and learning how best to use your planner to its full potential.
- Write Everything Down.When you are working in your planner, from setting it up to the review planning days, make sure you are writing everything down. Everything going on in your life should be in that planner. This allows you to use it more efficiently, and have it work for you. Even if something seems insignificant, there is no harm in adding it to your planner. You never know when you will need this information. I use a page in my planner for handling everything and call it my inbox. It’s simply a notepad where I list everything down! With this list I’m able to write it down right away without having to think about where it should go or if it belongs here or there. It’s out of my head and ready for me to take action on.
- Be Intentional and Specific.Every time you write something down, do so with intention and be as detailed as you can. Don’t just write that you have an appointment, but write down the date, time, place, who you are meeting, how long it will last, and any other information you have.
- Have One Planning Day a Week.Not only will you do your short reviews each day with your planner, but you should also do some planning each week. Have one day a week where you spend an hour or so adjusting your schedule, and looking at the monthly calendar to work on to-do lists and tasks for the next week.
When you commit yourself to doing an activity or task at the same time every day without fail, you are at that moment building a powerful habit that will over time grow and help you to get the desired results you are after.
This will take time though. You most likely will not see a difference today or even next month. But over the course of a few months or years you will find yourself in a far happier, organized and fulfilling life!
If you liked what you read and want to keep learning more about planning effectively then be sure to sign up and get this free guide all about planning!
The Ultimate Guide To Staying Consistent with Your Planner!
Thanks for clarifying the issue of planning.I never thought it to be possible to plan your days.
When you said that we should plan for failure,it made it more realistic
Great Tips. I totally agree with using a planner you love. I always say if your planner isn’t working, switch. I feel it’s worth the investment if you will actually be using it!
such Kindness shown by you, I just want to say Thank you very much for all the effort and joy 🙂
Really useful advice…thank you!
I love these tips! I plan for the next day in my planner after I write in my journal.
– Pixie | Productive Pixie