The first rule of planner club is: Obey Your Planner. The second rule of planner club is—well, you know where I’m taking this dated pop culture reference. 😋
In all seriousness though, obeying your planner is THE cardinal rule of effective planning. A planner is a tool and like all tools, it’s only as effective as the wielder is. You can have the best planner in the world and more washi tape & stickers than you can shake a stick at but if you don’t use it correctly, you’re in the same boat as you would be with a Dollar Tree planner (not knocking those, btdubs, I used a $1 planner all last year to track social media work I did for a client and it worked fine).
So let’s chat a little today about how to obey your planner!
1. Your planner is your boss.
For me, it helps to think of my planner as a work log I need to present to my boss. If I don’t finish something that was scheduled, I literally punish myself. Whether it’s by cutting my “fun” budget, running an extra half mile that night, or skipping dessert, I need to experience a tangible repercussion. Especially because I’m my own boss, it’s too easy to roll tasks over to the next day without immediate consequences, which is a dangerous practice to indulge in.
2. No excuses.
When you have a difficult boss, you either quit or bite the bullet to get the job done. Even when your boss makes demanding requests, you do the task at hand. As long as it’s not impossible or damaging to your well-being, you should stay committed to your planner like it’s your job. My personal planning mantra (–is that a thing? Let’s make planning mantras a thing) is: “If it gets written, it gets done”.
3. Make it a habit.
I’m a flaky person by nature. It’s not that I mean to be, I just tend to get distracted way too easily. Over time, however, I’ve developed the habit of committing to my planner. It’s the first thing I look at when I wake up and the last thing I look at before going to bed.
Habits don’t develop overnight. Mine is the result of keeping a planner since the 3rd grade. If you’re just getting started with planning, or if you haven’t been able to stay dedicated your planner, force yourself to open your planner at least once a day. The more you look at it the more you’ll find yourself using it. Over time, checking in with your planner will become a daily habit.
4. Make it fun.
Because I treat my planner like it’s my boss, sometimes I resent it. On super stressful days I become irritated simply looking at the endless to-do lists and project notes. Your planner shouldn’t be a source of misery and if you constantly feel hassled by your inanimate planner, try to make it fun!
This is the part that you’re probably most familiar with. Decking out your planner’s pages with stickers, motivational quotes, or even writing down a gratitude are all ways to make planning an activity rather than a chore.
5. Never forget your Reason.
Why do you go to work/school? Why do you put up with a difficult boss or teacher? It’s because you have a good reason. The same applies with using your planner. If you’re committed to your reason, you’ll stay committed to your planner. Some planner girls like to create vision boards or write down a list of goals to stay focused. Both are great ways to get inspired and stay motivated.
Do you have any tips or tricks to getting the most out of your planner? Or maybe you’re having some difficulty staying committed, I’d love to hear from you too! What kind of planning problems are you running into?