When it comes to paper planning, there's one thing that a lot of people get stuck on: They set their planner up for the week, maybe check in with it until Tuesday and then it sits, gathering dust until the weekend rolls around.
If this is ringing true for you, don't worry - it's totally normal for this to happen and you're not alone!
I put together our top 5 ways you can make sure to consistently use your planner so you stay on track with your plans, weekly actions and intentions.
Find a style that works for you
Just like one size doesn't fit all (who came up with that anyways?! *eyeroll*), one planner won't fit all either.
Your perfect planner layout will depend entirely on your unique situation, not what's currently trendy. Do you notice how, when most people jump on the newest trend, they often revert back to their tried and true system? When it works, it works, so spending time finding the perfect layout for you is worth it.
With so many styles to choose from, finding a layout that works for you can feel overwhelming. That's why we've made our Vertical Weekly, Horizontal Weekly and Daily Planner spreads available as Free Printable's on our website!
Download them and play to see what layout works best for your brain and your needs before you invest in a planner.
Don't overcomplicate it
Just like one persons' perfect planner layout may not be yours, often how someone actually plans may not be for you either.
When I first joined the planner community I went all in on stickers (How could I not?! My inner child was screaming with excitement that I could play with stickers as an adult!). I quickly fell in to no-white-space weekly spreads and needing a sticker for everything.
While there's absolutely nothing wrong with that style of planning, I found that it was actually limiting how much I was using my planner throughout the week. I couldn't quickly jot something down because I didn't have my stickers handy. When plans changed I'd get frustrated because my planner wasn't accurate with what I was doing or needed to get done.
My style of planning was actually making me use my planner less.
Now, I've found that pen and Makse Markers work best for me. I embrace imperfection when plans change and cross them out without worrying about how it will look on Instagram.
But, the best part? I'm actually using my planner without hesitation or perfectionism in mind.
Keep your planner somewhere you go often
Your bedroom may be your happy place where you go to plan, but it's likely not the best place to keep your planner day to day. Once your day gets going you likely don't go to your bedroom until it's time to sleep. By then you're tired after a long day and the last thing you want to do is check in with your planner or finish a task you had scheduled for the day!
Find a safe place to keep your planner where you know that you'll see it everyday.
I've found a safe spot on the counter that's away from water and dirty kid hands where I can keep mine open to the current week. Whenever I go to make my morning coffee or grab a snack I can quickly glance and make sure I'm on task with my plans.
While we may be lovers of paper planning, some digital tools come in handy too!
If you're struggling to keep up with your planner throughout the week, try some reminders in your phone (you can set these using alarms or calendar reminders)!
Here are some reminder ideas:
- A morning reminder to check in when you're making your cup of coffee
- An evening reminder to check in for when you usually hit the couch after dinner
- A weekly reminder to sit down for your weekly reflections (you can also add a daily reminder to jot down your wins of the day to make this process even easier!)
- A weekly reminder to sit down and map out your weekly actions for the week ahead
The beauty of setting reminders like this is that after a few months you'll probably find yourself naturally checking in before your reminders even go off! #habitsarecool
Find an accountability buddy
There's nothing wrong with asking for help, friend, and oftentimes accountability buddies are the best place to start!
Find a friend you can be accountability buddies with and set some parameters around the type of support you need. Do you need a daily check-in text? Will one check-in midweek work? A weekly video call to get reflections and weekly actions done?
There's no right or wrong when it comes to accountability buddies so have fun building that connection and staying on track at the same time!
If you need help finding an accountability buddy, ClubMäksē is the perfect place to start! Not only is our group is full of like-minded people ready to lend a hand and support your goals and process, but we also have 3 monthly opportunities to get together with your fellow Clubbies on Zoom! We host 2 monthly working Zoom sessions (designed to help you knock a few tasks off your to do list) and 1 monthly social Zoom session (designed to bond with your fellow Clubbies and get "in person" support too).
This may feel uncomfortable...
The biggest piece of advice I could give you as you start incorporating any of these ideas is this: It's normal for it to feel uncomfortable. Adding anything new to your routine will require you to be a little more honest with yourself and require a different level of effort and accountability.
Lean in to the uncomfortable-ness and know the steps you're taking will feel natural in time.