Welcome to Episode 003 of The Planner Podcast!
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- How to Remember to use a Planner
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Hi, this is Mim Jenkinson and you’re listening to The Planner Podcast.
Welcome back! Today are we going to talk about remembering to use your planner. I’ve spoken to so many of my readers and customers who really want to get into planning but one of the biggest things, which sounds really simple, but it’s actually a big challenge for some is just remembering to use it. You know, making using a planner a habit.
Sometimes you just don’t know where to start with using a planner. Sometimes you just forget to use it regularly. Perhaps you just can’t seem to make using a planner work for you and you think that perhaps you’re not an organized person or you’re not really a planner person and give up quite quickly.
I think is a bit of a shame because planners actually, in my opinion, help you become organized so you don’t become organized to start planning. It’s the other way around!
So, I wanted to give you a few tips on how to remember to use your planner more so that using it becomes something that you automatically do and that you want to do because you are really starting to see the benefits. I’ve got some practical ideas on how you can start to remember to use your planner a bit more.
The first one is just to make sure that you are actually using the right kind of planner. Sometimes this is going to take a little bit of trial and error and it isn’t as simple as just going into Kikki K or Erin Condren or Kmart or Target and looking at the planners and picking the one that you think is right for you or that that’s the prettiest or will fit in with your desk or your handbag.
These things are important but it’s more what’s inside and how actually using the planner is going to work for you. For example, I’m a big list maker so for me, a vertical planner where you actually write your plans in a vertical list each day, that’s perfect for me. A horizontal planner or one with only a small of space to write in is not going to work for me.
You might be someone who’s more into bullet journaling or even just being a bit more creative and doodling and perhaps a vertical planner hasn’t got the right kind of space capacity for you. You may need more space. You might have your planner like I do on my desk every day. It doesn’t really move. I actually don’t even take it away with me much anymore. So it doesn’t matter to me how big my planner is, but if you’re someone who takes yours out and about every day, you want to make sure it fits in your bag isn’t too heavy. There are lots of different things to consider when making sure that you choose the right one.
My second tip on remembering to use your planner is to find a time and a place to plan and then stick to it. That might be first thing in the morning and you might decide to keep your planner on your desk if you work from home or if you have your planner at work. It might be that you have your planner in your handbag all the time. So you know that when you finish with it, that’s the place you always put it back. What time works best for you to actually use your planner? Is it first thing in the morning? Last thing at night? Before the kids get home, when you’ve got a few minutes to spare? When is a time that works for you and that you can consistently stick with every day or every week?
For me, I actually like to plan my week ahead on a Friday afternoon. It took me a while to actually find this sweet spot and I used to plan on a Sunday evening for the week ahead.
Now I find that last thing on a Friday when I’m a little bit kind of sleepy and not really focused, is actually a really nice quiet time for me to wrap up the kind of week’s work and then think about what, I have in store for the week ahead.
On a Friday afternoon I will plan for the Monday to Sunday the following week. For me, I love to use planner stickers and I like to spend about 15 minutes on a Friday afternoon, decorating my planner. It’s a little bit of therapy time too! Having the opportunity to reflect on the week I’ve just had and then work out what I need to do for the week ahead. That means that on a Friday when I finish work, I don’t need to think about work the whole weekend and when I wake up on a Monday morning, all of my plans are already in place. So I know exactly what I’m doing. There’s no kind of scramble like, gosh, where do I start?
You need to find a time that works for you and a place to actually store your planner that works for you as well. Which brings me onto the third tip because it really is where you’re going to store it properly.
Where are you going to keep your planner all the time. It needs to be somewhere, again, that’s easy for you to reach and easy for you to put away. So, whether you’re getting it or putting it away and Could it be your kitchen counter or in your handbag? Where will you use it the most? Maybe it’s next to your bed. Trial a few different places to find what works for you. I like to keep my planner on my desk and I actually have it open on the week that I’m within as well so it’s always open and ready. All my notes, all my plans and lists are there. They’re in my face constantly. So there’s no getting away from the fact that I know what I should be doing and when.
Tip number four, remembering to use our planner is to really train the habit. Don’t expect to decide what planner you’re going to use, where you’re going to keep it and when you’re going to use it and just stick to that from day one. I think it takes a little bit of trial and error to find a system that works for you.
I read an awesome book recently called “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. One of the things he talks about in the book is ‘habit stacking’. I’ve tested that in a few different areas of my life recently. Basically habit stacking is when you take a good habit that you’ve already mastered and then you add something else to the chain of habits that you want to become a habit next.
For example, it might be when you start work in the morning, if opening your inbox is the first thing that you do automatically, maybe that’s the first good habit you have. Maybe you can add a rule onto that, that you don’t open your inbox until you’ve checked your planner first. Perhaps that’s a way of incorporating your planner into your daily routine.
Or maybe before you go to bed every night, do you load your dishwasher and pack your work bag? Like Perhaps that’s a habit stack that you’ve already got. Maybe you can add to that the habit of opening your planner to the following day’s page and leaving it open on your desk or wherever you’re keeping the planner so that the first thing you do when you wake up is look at your planner and know what you have to do for the day.
Have a think about the good habits that you already have and how you can add some planner habits to that stack. Anyway, I love that. I’ve been using it for loads of different things in my life.
The fifth tip on how to use your planner is to set yourself a reminder to use it and do it often. I know this sounds a bit strange to remind yourself to remember to use your planner! But if all else fails and you have to set a reminder on your phone or an alarm clock somewhere for the first week or so to really make using your planner a daily habit that you automatically do, then just do it.
Give it a try and see because if you decided on when you want to use your planner and then you set a phone alarm to go off at that time every day or every week to do it over time, you’re not going to need that alarm anymore. You’ll eventually just adopt the habit over time and stick to yourself and then you’ll start to see the benefits of using your planner and that will help you continue to use it more. So give it a go.
I hope my five tips on remembering to use your planner have helped!
I think most mostly it comes down to the fact that when you found the right planner that works for you and when you start to see results or you start to be more organized or feel less overwhelmed or more on top of things, you’ll really enjoy the process of planning. Then it’s inevitable that you’re going to want to do that more because you see that something’s working for you, you enjoy it and you continue to do it.
One of the biggest challenges is if you haven’t quite found the right planner for you yet. If you are struggling with that, you check out my course here.
Reach out with any questions you have about using a planner or making it work for your life and lifestyle. I’d love to help if I can. Thank you so much for listening!