Have you tried working with a planner, calendar, or list type system and haven’t had much luck? Have you tried system after system only to end up in the same place, which is with your system, planner, or list collecting dust somewhere while you try to make your way through your day by winging it?
If so, I know exactly what you are experiencing because this was my experience for years as well. I tried systems, I tried notebooks, I tried planners, and they never really “worked” for me.
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What I didn’t realize at first is that the problem wasn’t in the tool I was using, such as the planner, but the problem was in how I was using it – or not using it in my case.
It was after floundering with what I thought was the wrong tool for a number of years that I finally started dissecting the situation, which is when I came to discover that I was in fact the problem.
If you are wondering why your planner or planner system might not be working for you, perhaps you are guilty of making any of all of these same mistakes that I had been making.
1. Not being consistent in where you are writing your schedule, plans, and list
Let’s face it, grabbing whatever scrap of paper I could find to write important things on wasn’t really ever all that smart. Sometimes I would write things on a scrap of paper, sometimes I would write things on a sticky note, sometimes I would write things in this notebook, sometimes I would write things in that notebook, sometimes I would write things on my calendar…and on and on it goes.
Once I figured out that writing the same things in the same place was beneficial, I was over the first major hurdle that was always standing in my way.
2. Not being consistent in where you keep your planning system
What good is a planning system if you have no idea where to find it? I can answer that – none. You planning system, lists, and important information will be of little to no value if you don’t know where to find it. Keeping these things in the same place or couple of places ensures that you will be able to write things in the right place.
If you have a wonderful planner that you use most of the time, but not all of the time, information that you need will be missing at times. Not only will you be missing information you need, but you may also be quite discouraged since your system still has flaws. I have one of three places where my planner will be all the time, and one of them is in my car right alongside me.
My planner is actually usable when it is within reach at all times. Choosing someplace that is both easily assessable and logical are two things to keep in mind.
3. Not having a system or planner that you love…or that works
If you don’t find a system or planner that works well, will you really want to use it? I’m guessing not. Having a system or planner that you love really helps. Wanting to use your system is a huge plus to making the effort of using it worthwhile.
If you try a planner or system being mindful of these suggestions and it still ins’t working, maybe a new system would be helpful. Determine why your current system is coming up short and address that problem. Search for something that will solve the problem that you are having with your current system.
4. Not taking your planner with you when you go places
Again, if you can’t access your planner, notebook, or system, you can’t use it and are left with writing things in a different place or relying on your brain to remember it. In my case, this generally doesn’t work too well. This is where having a to go bag comes in handy. You can throw it in there and go in a flash!
5. Not looking at your planner, notebook, or system
This can seem rather obvious, but in all honesty, it wasn’t to me. For a long time I went through all the bother of writing things down and even making them pretty, only to then not look at what I’d written. I assumed that I knew what I had written since I really had looked at it so many times, and it really did seem to be in my head. I discovered more than a few times that I didn’t really know what I thought I did. Keeping a planner and then actually looking at it are both good ideas.
If you have been looking for the missing piece in making a planning system or planner work, perhaps one of these things things are to blame. I am truly amazed at how much of a difference having a planner that actually works for me has made in my life. It truly is my brain!
If you’ve been struggling, check these things out to see if they are holding you back as they were me.
Wondering about the planner pictured? It’s a planner from Ruth Soukup over at Living Well Spending Less, and I LOVE it! You can find one by clicking on the graphic below:
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