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6 Easy Ways to get the Most out of your Planner

In this image, an Erin Condren life planner is laying next to a 3-wick candle, and a ton of felt-tip markers from Erin Condren.

6 Easy Ways to get the Most out of your Planner

January 20, 2020

There’s something special about a brand new planner that makes me so happy. It’s one of my favorite things to organize in the new year. I’ve been using a classic paper planner for as long as I can remember. A few years ago I found the life planner from Erin Condren, and have been repurchasing it every year since! I’ve found a lot of ways to utilize my planner and get the most out of it, so if you purchased a planner in the new year and need help getting into the habit of using it, this is for you!

Step #1: Pick a planner that suits your needs & goals

There are so many planners out there. Pink ones, frilly ones, business ones, personal ones, and truthfully it can be overwhelming to pick the right one. Make sure you’re looking at a planner that fits your needs and helps you achieve your goals. If there’s not enough room to write down your daily to-do list, your goals for the month, or your appointments for the day, it’s probably not the right one. Trust me, I’ve seen so many planners in various online shops and in bookstores and I could tell I would not have enough room to write my appointments for the day, let alone any goals. There are a lot of things to get done each day, so make sure your planner helps you stay on task and allows you to cross off your to-do list. You know how satisfying it is to cross something off that to-do list.

Step #2: Write everything down

The first thing I do when I get my new planner is write in all the events, birthdays, anniversaries, and appointments I know I have. I usually pull the birthdays and anniversaries from my last planner since they never change, but if this is your first planner add what you know off the top of your head. Then you’re going to want to head to Facebook for the rest of the information. Nowadays, Facebook is the best way to confirm someone’s birthday since everyone had to enter it upon signing up for the platform. By adding in all these dates, you create a handy resource for all the important dates you want to remember throughout the year. Be sure to add in all events and trips that are confirmed, as well as specific timeframes that are important. For us (as an example) New York Fashion Week is always important so I write those dates down well in advance since Ada will likely be in New York City, and there will be more to do during that week.

In this image, the life planner from Erin Condren is open and filled with tasks, birthdays, events, appointments, and motivational stickers. It's laying flat next to a 3-wick candle, and a vase filled with a ton of felt-tip markers and pens.

Step #3: Add monthly inspiration

A lot can happen in a year, so make sure to incorporate some inspiration throughout your planner in the beginning. Everyone is always so excited about their resolutions in January, but have you ever heard someone talk about their resolutions in April? Serious question. Keeping yourself motivated and inspired is super important, so add some things to your planner that get you excited! Quotes, photos, and stickers can help you feel more motivated and excited about crushing goals even beyond January. Your future self will thank you for the fun quotes later on when you’re needing a little extra inspo. 

Step #4: Schedule self-care

Yes, you do need to schedule the fun stuff too. Oftentimes we get so overwhelmed and the work never seems to stop. Moms, shout out to you because my mom friends barely have time to shower and put sunscreen on and I totally understand how quickly the days can go by. To some, self-care is a sheet mask, a yoga class, a day with your besties, or just time to yourself to do a little binging of your favorite Netflix series. Whatever your self-care routine is, be sure to add it to your planner to make it a priority. There have been several studies that show if you write it down, you’re way more likely to actually get it done. Pencil in some time for yourself, and make it a habit. I schedule some time for self-care each Sunday, and to me, it’s usually unplugging on social media, spending time with loved ones, and a bath bomb. 

 

“There have been several studies that show if you write it down, you’re way more likely to actually get it done.

Step #5: Add in your monthly budget

Once you get into the habit of using your planner, you’ll be looking at it each day. I add in my budget for each month, and financial goals so I’m constantly reminded of them. I’m going to be doing several no-spend weeks throughout the year, and I’ve added in some washi tape to remind me to stick to my goals. If you don’t want that to be visible to other people, hide it underneath a post-it note and voila it is hidden from others’ eyes! 

Step #6: Write in some of your favorite memories from each month

I did this in my 2017-2018 planner, and it was so much fun to look back on! I wrote in a little blurb each month of goals I accomplished, how I was feeling, or something funny that happened. Right now, add in five bullet points in your planner to write down the good things that happen over the year. It’s honestly so much fun to look back on and remember the memories that made you feel good, made you smile or just made you laugh so hard you spit water out of your mouth (totally guilty of that.) 

How do you uniquely utilize your planner? What is your favorite planner and what are your favorite planner accessories? 

this image is a collage of the various products we talked about in this post including stickers, felt-tip markers, the life planner from Erin Condren, planner charms, and various planner accessories!