Best Planner for People Who Can’t Stick to Planners
So Many Planners
The Best Planner for People who can’t stick to planner is often the simpler ones. Here is why, planners can be daunting, and you can loose time trying to plan. Fallow the tips below to find the best planner for you.
Trouble Keeping Organized
I have gone through so many planners, I have stopped counting. In fact, I have tried making them a part of my life for the better part of my twenties and thirties. Still, I couldn’t figure out how people could stick to using them.
Admittedly, about the only time, I could use one correctly was when I needed to use one for my job as a nurse, and the only reason I used one then, was because I was an on-call nurse and if I missed my shifts I would be fired. So it was a given that fear drove me to stick to my simple planner.
My troubles with keeping organized began after I had kids and stayed home. You see, not having to be somewhere really puts a damper on the urgency to get things done. But none the less things still need to get done. Unless you like having smelly dishes everywhere and the house a pigsty.
Subsequently, I then began my search for the perfect planner. Everything I could look up and try I did, from those pretty designer planners to the bullet journal. I have to say I did like the creativity of the bullet journal. But like every other Planner in my life, that urge to stay organized also left me. And so my list of journals grew and grew and my frustration with a planned life just become frustrating.
I Thought It Was the Planner
To be truthful, I just assumed it was the planner that was lacking and not me. I mean they made them so enticing like your whole world would improve overnight if you just found the perfect planner. Well, I am here to burst yet another bubble (I have a tendency to do that with my How-to articles), but there is no perfect planner. The issue is not with the planner but you.
Unfortunately, it is your lack of commitment that is the problem, and until you learn that just like any habit you have formed in your life (the good ones of course) this is yet another, that must be established.
How to Form the Habit of Using a Planner
The first part of this planner conundrum is creating a pattern of repetition. As a rule, try to follow the tips below for best results.
1. Five Minutes a Day
Pick a time daily to sit for at least five minutes and plan your day. I suggest this in the morning if you are first starting out. The morning seems to work better because of its conscious process you have to do to begin your day. If you do it in the evening, you might forget to look at it in the morning when you first start your routine.
2. Attach it to Another Habit
Attach it to another habit that is readily identifiable to starting your day. For example with your morning cup of coffee. After you get yourself going with your cup of coffee open your journal/planner and begin to plan your day.
3. Keep Your Planner Within Reach
If you keep your journal by the kitchen, you make it easier to associate with a morning task. It is also the spot of your home where you find yourself the most (second to the bathroom). Keeping it handy and within a visual field will ensure you use it.
4. Forget All the Fancy Gadgets
Don’t go for a complicated planner if you haven’t ever developed the habit of using a planner. If you do, it will be more of a distraction, and pretty soon you will blame the planner for keeping you occupied and away from the actual Doing.
5. Use Mindfulness to Kickstart Your Habit
You need to use mindfulness for habit-forming. When you first get up each morning, and you have your cup of coffee look around your kitchen before living it and look for your calendar. Concentrate on pushing yourself to get to planning for just five minutes. Attempt to push all resistance to avoid this. If you feel boredom kicking in, stop and remind yourself that only two minutes is better than missing or forgetting something important. Bringing thoughtfulness into habits can often help through that hard push point.
Repeat the above five methods daily, don’t stop and don’t take breaks but if you do, please forgive yourself and move on to the next day. Just missing one day does not mean it doesn’t work, it means it didn’t work that day. But I guarantee you. It does work and the more you push past that urge to ignore it the easier it will become.
I Will Never Go Back to Winging It
I still do not love scheduling, but I have benefited from it so much from it that I would never go back to winging my day. Begin by finding an okay planner, even your phone works, just as long as you remember not to check Facebook or any other social media. Once you get accustomed to having a planned day and see the results of actually getting goals accomplished just because you wrote them down, you will not doubt it was a habit long overdue.
The second part of our journey here is finding the best planner for you. I created the below list after compiling a list of qualities that I saw as essential for goal attainment.
Here is a quick list of my favorite planner and Why. This is not a list of your typical planners because those only work if you like planners, to begin with. And if you like planners, then you probably already have a ton at home and don’t need me to clarify which one is your favorite type.
So What Makes a Good Planner?
The fact is, it doesn’t matter if all you use is a dated sticky note if you use that daily…that is a successful planner. To be successful at planning, you have to know where you have been and where you are going. Please do a life audit if you don’t see what you want your life plan to look like tomorrow of the next few years. See Below on how to do a Life Audit.
If you already have an idea what you need to do for your life but need the right way to keep yourself accountable…let’s do this.
A good planner is easily portable, has rounded edges, and a sturdy outer shell, but pliable at the same time to put into any bag or backpack.
Here Is a List of Planners That Get My Vote
Number One: Phone
This one is an easy bet, just because it’s the one thing you always keep with you would never willingly leave behind.
Google and iCal calendars are the simplest and easiest to sink to anyone and with all devices. All you have to do is set the intention to check your schedule daily in the morning with your coffee routine.
The best part of a digital calendar system is that you can print out a copy and place it on your refrigerator for your family or partner. Also, the digital version often comes with notes or list making capabilities so you can keep a record of to-do’s going. Once you accomplish a to-do that you placed in date do then, you can cross that off.
The downside to this method is that you might start out to check your calendar and somehow fall into YouTube or Facebook..oops! Use your will power and resist checking social media apps. Second, it’s not paper, that’s one of the most significant drawbacks. There is something about holding your pencil or pen and writing that is very satisfying. You will not get that with an online planning format, but heck at least you won’t lose it.
Number Two: Wall Calendar
Easy Wall calendars have my second vote because they are by far the easiest to see if placed right by your kitchen. Choose one that is large enough to have space for small to-do’s.
Check your calendar in the morning and add any must do’s or to-dos for the day. Learn to transfer the information you need to keep yourself organized to your wall calendar. Make it a habit when you come in the door to look at your schedule for any reminders. Broken record…the more you do it, the easier it will get.
Downside: You can’t take it with you. Its easier to let things fall through if you don’t have easy access to your calendar, so make sure if you are at an appointment and you make a follow-up appointment that you ask for an appointment card and write it down when you get home.
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Number Three: Weekly Planner
Weekly planners with time on the side are my favorite. You can use the time blocking system by highlighting with color pencils. The reason this is my favorite is that I need to be able to see the time things are going to take, and I can stay more organize by blocking my time into sections. See an example here …..
Choose a medium size weekly planner so you can place things in there and still be able to read it. Check your calendar daily, preferably in the morning and set your tasks in. Because it’s sectioned into blocks (if you want to use the block system), you will get more done, and it will make it easier to relax about what time it is.
Downside: The only downside to this method you might forget to check and stick to it. But its the same for all calendars and planners. Make it a habit, and it will stick, or keep doing it until it holds…etc.
Number Four: Sticky Notes
Yes, this can be a method too. Just write your stuff on sticky notes, one per item and write at the top, NOW, LATER, SOMEDAY, may I suggest you use colors to indicate this. Such as Red, for Now, orange for later and green for someday. Stick those sticky notes on your bathroom mirror. Do the Now ones first and then tackle orange then green. If you noticed a green sticky note never getting done and you need to move it up, rewrite it on an orange or red one.
Downside: Too many sticky notes everywhere and it only works if you are the highly artistic kind. I don’t mind this method, and I might give it another go (just for fun), but I am happy with my weekly calendar.
So the best planner for people who can’t stick to planners is the simplest one. But to be able to stick to planning, you have to create that habit. Practice planning daily, hook it to another morning habit to make it easier to do. Choose the planner from my list or even if you already know which is your favorite choose that. Then begin your habit, do it daily, don’t stop and if you do have a forgotten day pick it up the next day. The only way to fail this is by stopping altogether. Remember it’s not the planner but the person holding that pen, you got this…one day at a time. Happy planning.
If you have ADHD or Autism, don’t fret. Part of the problem with people who have neuro differences is that they feel that they have to see the whole picture all the time and if a planner is put down it feels like out of sight out of mind. Repeat the following statement “I don’t have to see the whole picture, just this first task.” Every time you feel anxious about looking or putting the calendar down repeat that statement.
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