Can we please talk about an extremely detrimental mindset that we all struggle with? It’s something that is ever apparent at the beginning of the year especially when we’re all eager to change our lives and get things moving. We get PUMPED and are chomping at the bit to make change happen.
It’s the all or nothing mindset.
Either you’re going all in, or you’re not there at all. And I see it happen all the time with using planners too. Right now, this time of year is about the time when a lot of people fall off the planner bandwagon and let their planners gather dust in the corner. Maybe you’ve said something like this:
“Ah, well. I haven’t used this for weeks! Guess it’s no use since I stopped using it for a while.”
“Shoot. What a waste. All this paper is blank and it reminds me that yet again, I failed to create another habit.”
So, maybe this is you and you’re cringing at the thought of yet another, unused planner.
I’ve identified a few ways to help you actually use your planner. I knew for so long that a planner was a powerful tool that could help me be intentional with my life and give me peace of mind that I was getting the right things done.
1. Make it a part of your routine
We all have routines, (whether we intentionally think about them or not). You have an order of getting ready for bed (wash face, floss, brush teeth, take vitamin, sleep). Or when you get in your car (get in, set down stuff, put water bottle in cupholder, turn on heat/AC, turn on radio, and go). Begin to think about making reviewing and writing in your planner every day. I plan my day in my planner in the mornings, right after I’m done doing my morning devotional time and reading. Then at night, I review it and write out thoughts, ideas, or reflections that I had that day. What time of day do you have a routine that you can take 5 minutes to write in it?
2. Put your planner where you’ll be triggered to use it
For me, this is on our TV tray in the mornings right where I have my Bible and devotional book. Right after I’m done with my devotional, it’s right there reminding me to look at it. I then write out my top 3 priorities for work and my personal life and any other pressing tasks that I want to get done. Maybe for you, this is your bathroom counter so when you’re getting ready in the mornings you’ll be reminded to write in it while you get ready for the day. Or maybe it’s your kitchen table so when you eat breakfast you can sit down and plan out your day. For some, they leave it on their desk at work so it’s right there, waiting for them when they start their workday.
3. Kick perfectionism to the curb
Make it messy people! Your planner is for you and you alone. I love that my planner is my own little world where I get to reflect, ponder, dream, create and write without judgment. I make it cute, so it’s cozy for me to look at it and write in. I’ve heard people say, “I’m so scared to mess it up! What if I miss a day?!” But that’s the beauty of a planner is that gives you a clean slate every single day. (Just like we get in life!) Who cares if it’s messy at first? In fact, you’re going to mess it up, because you’re a human being. We learn from our mistakes. So you may see that you really loved a habit tracker, but you found the top 3 exercise daunting and overwhelming. That’s ok! Pick and choose what works for you.
I hope this encourages you, friend, to keep planning and never give up. Your life is worth living and being intentional with. You have things to create and people to meet. Let your planner help you get there!