A few years ago, when people were telling me they were using a planner they would instantly turn into royalty for me.
I had this stupid idea that planners are only for extremely busy, fancy people that don’t even fill them in themselves – they pay someone else to fill in their agenda and keep track of it. This happened until I started using a pocket planner when I was volunteering as an AIESEC member and I had lots of meetings to attend and notes to take.
Later on, getting a real job, experimenting with a blog and working as a freelancer simultaneously felt overwhelming at a certain point. So I decided to use a planner again to organise my blog, freelance work and life overall. Even when freelance tasks were not that many, or life was not that crazy, I kept using it for small things like “call the doctor for appointment”, “do laundry” and so on.
It turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made – and I know it sounds as a cheap teleshopping commercial, but it truly helped me. A lot.
Here are some things my planner helped me do and might help you as well!
Frees Your Mind
… and not in a yoga-meditation way.
A good few years ago, I watched an online training about time management and there’s where I learnt about gathering points.
We usually use our mind as a gathering point. We want to remember all the things we have to do and we put quite some pressure on ourselves by doing so.
Instead, we could write down everything we have to do and free our mind of the stress of remembering everything. You don’t have to remember it: it’s there, on the paper, it won’t go away and you don’t have to worry about remembering it. You can check your planner when you want to remember something.
Keeps You Accountable
I don’t know how to explain, but that little piece of paper has so much power over me.
If I write it down, it has to be completed that day. If I set a task in my planner that’s due today and I have to write a blog post, I will write it even if it’s in the middle of the night.
Also, it kind of affects my self-esteem if I don’t tick everything on my list from that day. Not in a dramatic way, of course. But we all feel good when we thick off everything from our list.
Sometimes we feel useless. Nothing seems to go well and we feel like we’re constantly failing.
A planner where you keep track of small achievements can put you in a good mood quite easy. Seeing all the things you’ve done so far can give you that boost of motivation you need – I know it works for me most of the time.
It’s so amazing when you run out of space for a day and you achieved everything. You feel like Wonderwoman or Batman.
Writing down small plans will keep you accountable and will also help you keep track when you’re trying to form a new, healthy habit.
People who use bullet journals have quite elaborate trackers where they add different notes. What I like to do is create a quick list of achievements for the week where I write what I’ve accomplished. It’s easy and it doesn’t require lots of time and talent.
Of course, you can choose a digital solution as well. Tools like Asana, Trello, Wunder List or Meister Task are also great options. I guess it depends on what type of person you are: a digital or a traditional one. I personally believe that using a classic planner (or a notebook) feels more “real” and it holds me more accountable than a digital tool.
Do you use a planner?