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There was a time when I only used a planner when I thought what I was doing was extremely important like when I was a college student and didn't want to miss a deadline for my assignments or when I ran my tutoring business and didn't want to overbook or miss any sessions. I didn't think keeping and using a planner was a necessity when I no longer did those things and became primarily focused on my home. One reason I thought this way was because I enjoy going with the flow. I didn't want to have to schedule out things like cleaning or teaching the girls because I knew those things would get done.
Well last year, I had an epiphany and decided it was time for me to resume using a planner for my everyday life in order for me to complete some of the things I have dreamed about doing.
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How does planning work when you don't want to be a planner? In order for planning to be a success for me, I had to be honest about my reasons for needing a planner. My top reason is I simply can't remember it all. The girls are getting older, and they have their own interests. In order for me to not over-schedule our lives, I have to be able to see what is happening in the weeks to come. Another thing is I am giving myself freedom to do the things I desire to do. Although my family, marriage, and teaching the girls come first, I still have tons of ideas that I would like to attempt. I can't invest in these things if I don't have a system set up because honestly there is only so much time in a day.
Tips for Incorporating Planning into Your Life Today
- For planning to be successful, you have to be honest about your intentions. Write a short note to yourself about why you need to better manage your time. Tell yourself the things you hope to accomplish in the next month or so of your life.
- Write a list of actions you want to take in the next week. Actions include cleaning the kitchen thoroughly, exercising, writing in your journal, taking a walk, etc. No action is too minute to not be listed. I once thought that writing down clean the bathrooms was minute, but honestly it isn't especially since it is my least favorite chore.
- Look at your plans for the next week. Do you have any activities or meetings scheduled? Plug them into your calendar. One area I struggled with was remembering that I actually had something important planned like a doctor's appointment. I would find myself rushing or not wanting to go simply because I forgot about it. If you write your appointments in your planner first then you can schedule other things around them.
- Look back at your list of actions. Pencil in two to three actions per day in your planner. Your list should not include everything that your ever wanted to do, but things which may be time sensitive and a few of the things that you always wanted to do but you haven't made time for.
- Refer back to your planner. This may seem like a no brainer, but there are days when I don't look back at planner, and I forget to do something that is important. The planner is here to help you; not to dictate you.
- As I end, I really want to drive home that the fact the planner is not a dictator. The things written were written by you. No one is telling you what you should or shouldn't do so if there is something written in your planner which is not beneficial to your life then erase it. None of our families, responsibilities, or schedules are the same therefore neither should our planners.
Are you apprehensive about using a planner? Tell us about your hang ups.
Are you a planner addict? Share your tips for keeping your life on track.