Planning has made a huge impact on just about every part of my life. I feel more purposeful, more organized, and more creative. The truth is that I’ve been planning in one way or another for a lot longer than I actually realize. I had lunch with a professor I had 10 years ago who informed me that I always had a planner with me to write down assignments. After I moved back from Colombia, I started up again using a simple planner from Target to make sure I was completing all my tasks.
It wasn’t that far of a jump to move into the more thoughtful use of planning to track habits, note patterns in my work and moods and feel more satisfied at the end of a day. So – how do I recommend starting?
- Start small. Yes – this may seem obvious but it is seriously helpful. At first, I was using this $5 planner from Target. As I realized how much more effective planning could be for me with more room to write things down, I started to research a new planner. I set my mind on the Erin Condren Life Planner, a popular choice among the planning community. After biting the $70 bullet for a new planner I bought all sorts of superfluous accessories and decorations. I barely used them. I could have saved a lot of money by considering what would best work for me after using the planner for a longer period of time. That being said, after some time I figured out my method for using my Erin Condren and I’m on my 4th planner.
- Pick a Planner. Think about what sort of planner with fit with your lifestyle. Would it be helpful to have a large planner like the Life Planner or a pocket planner which you could bring everywhere with you? What sort of layout works for you? Do you prefer horizontal or vertical? Think of function first.
- Speaking of function – what will you actually plan? Do you have multiple calendars that you have to consider from your family? Is it just you? Do you prefer to look at long term or shorter term goals and tasks? Personally, I am not goal oriented. A planner which focuses on goal tracking would not be helpful for me. I’m also someone who only needs to manage my own calendar.
- Put aside time to fill in your planner – start with five minutes a day to think about the tasks you completed and thinking about your next few days. Come up with a system to mark completed tasks.
- Make planning an enjoyable activity – once you have a general process, start to think about ways that you could make planning a more enjoyable activity. Do you want to use different colored pens or highlighters? Maybe you would like to get a few stickers to mark different types of tasks. The less of a chore that planning is, the more likely you will stick with the process.
Hope that this all helps you get started! If you have any other comments or ideas – leave them in the comments below! Happy planning 🙂