Wake up. Pee. Brush teeth. Get dressed. Head to gym. Spin. Come home. Shower. Then what?
It is true for most people that we have a routine. Every (week)day consists of a pattern of things we have to do. If you’re anything like me, though, it’s the small details that get you caught. I hate when I have to get to the post office, dry cleaners, or bank, and I can’t seem to remember it- until after they’re closed, of course.
For this reason, I’ve joined the community of men and women who swear by their planners. I first started using a planner meticulously in my sophomore year of high school. My then-PE teacher required us to write our assignments down every day for a the second quarter as a way to earn extra credit. Being the Type A student I am (I mean, you don’t get to Princeton without it), despite the fact that I didn’t need extra credit, I decided to go for it.
You see, up to this point I did not write down my assignments because I could keep it all in my head. I was 15 years old. I had school, sports practice, and a fast food job. In the grand scheme, it wasn’t that much on my plate.
Despite not having much on my plate, every once in a while, things still fell through the cracks. I did sometimes miss an assignment or forget to study for a quiz. I’d remember a shift that I had offered to cover at work, but I didn’t remember to bring my uniform to school. It wasn’t all that time, but it was often enough. When Ms. Soltis, then, opened up this challenge, I was excited to get on board.
Just like that, things changed. I stopped forgetting things. This is important to note: Some things still didn’t get done. It wasn’t, though, because I didn’t remember to do them. It was because I was too busy or something came up. Things weren’t falling through the cracks. I was able to plan for them now.
Here I am, over six years later, still swearing by a planner.
The thing with planning, though, is that there is no right way to do it. Over the years, I’ve tried so many different planners. I’ve used a Bloom Planner, a Lilly Pulitzer Planner in multiple sizes (examples here), the free ones that show up at your door, and lots others along the way. There is only one, though, that I’ve felt has given me the freedom and flexibility to accommodate all the different parts of my life. That is my beautiful Erin Condren Life Planner which you can see below.
What makes planners really unique is the way they give you the power to organize your life. The EC Planner, as you can see from the picture below, gives you the power to categorize your life into three boxes. The planner comes organized in Morning, Day, and Night. Those, though, are not my needs. Instead, I customize it, based on my needs for that day or week. Usually, I use To-Do, Blog, and Work, which I use to keep track of both school stuff and work stuff.
You’ll notice that here I’ve added some embellishments to my ECLP, like the hedgehog paper clip, and washi tape in the pages. It’s just a little flair that makes it more exciting for me to plan. This gives me the opportunity to be both creative and organized in the same location!
My planner has become a place for me to not only be organized but push myself to be creative on a regular basis. For example, if I make a page design that I don’t love, I only have to put up with it for a week. Then it’s on to the next one!
Here are some of my favorite planning guidelines to help you be the best planner you can be:
- You are never wrong. Your way of planning is your way of planning. We can always try to be better, but that does not mean you were wrong.
- Make it suit your needs- don’t try to fit your planning style into theirs.
- There are tons of etsy shops that make planner stickers that can help you truly make your planner your own. Do it. Forreal. Find and customize however works best for you!
- Plan every week at the same time. Maybe you’re a Sunday night planner. Maybe you’re a Monday-gal. Whatever the case, find a day and time that works for you and stick to it every week. Rome was not built in a day.
- It should be something you want to do. Don’t do it because you have to. Planning should be helping you. If it’s not you might want to reevaluate your system.
- Sometimes you fall of the horse. It’s okay to brush it off and get back on. It’s not just okay- it’s expected. Sometimes you’ll miss a week. That’s why there’s always next week.
It seems to me like a lot of those tips could also apply to life… hmm.