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How I Use My Daily Planner

My planner is super important to me and I’m somewhat picky when it comes to which one I choose. It has to have a monthly view, weekly notes, and a note section in case I need it. It has to be somewhat small so it can go with me, and I prefer a spiral bound. I use it for planning my to-do list through the week.

I’ve tried a lot of different ones but nothing too fancy. I’m picky about the features, but I don’t have to have something super customizable. Who knows, maybe that will change! Sometimes I switch planners halfway through the year because the old one is just not working for me.

Using a planner has always been really important to me. And because I can be very forgetful, it’s important that I have things written down in multiple places. When I was at college, I had my phone planner for jotting down quick things, I had my desk planner that was bigger and had all of my assignments on it so that I would always have that information in front of me, and then I had my smaller planner that was more for daily things and for writing notes in class or at work. Some of my teachers questioned me for this but as long as I looked at each one at least twice or three times a week to remind myself of things coming up. And I really looked at them multiple times a day most weeks.

That was just what worked for me but it doesn’t have to be exactly what works for you! There are so many tips and tricks out there that tell you that if you just do this, your life will be more organized. And they could be right! One trick could work for 20% of people! Great! I’m happy they found something that works for them. But if something doesn’t work for you, don’t feel like it’s your fault or that you’ve failed. You haven’t! The real trick is to find what works for you and keep at it, refining it till it is yours and is so easy for you that you could do it in your sleep.

So how do I use my planner nowadays? A little bit differently from my college days but it’s similar. I have my phone planner and a planner that I can write in. It’s smaller so I can take it with me, but it’s not too small that it doesn’t have what I need.

Every Monday I sit down with my planner and consider what I need to get done that week (and sometimes for the rest of the month.) I sometimes use a scratch piece of paper to do a mind dump of all the things I need to get done, and then I’ll put those things into the weekly planner section and plan each day. I don’t put the pressure on myself to get through as much of my to-do list as I can before the end of the day. That is vital to my mental health so that I don’t get overwhelmed.

When I only have a couple things to do that day, it helps me to be able to get those things done to the best of my ability. It’s about quality, not speed. It’s like in school, if you have 10 assignments due tonight and you haven’t started them, you’re going to put out much less quality work than if they were due spread out over the next 5 days. Obviously, in this example you probably should have started these earlier but we have all had this happen to us, right? Or just me? Okay, cool.

The bottom line is, what works for me might now work for you. And you might take half of what I do and make it your own. I’m so glad! And I’d love to hear how you did it! Because it’s not about having the fanciest planner with the best stickers and calligraphy. I’ve tried having a beautiful planner and it really did not work for me at all! I need the mess. I need to be able to cross things out and not feel like I wasted the whole page. Maybe you’re a list maker and need to write things out a few times to remember them. Cool! Do that. Maybe you have to have it more visible that a hand held planner so having a bigger calendar is important. Whatever you do, make sure you’re doing something that will help you and not hinder you in your desire to be more organized with your time and priorities.