The Top Thing You Must Do for Functional Planning

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We all say that we want our planners to be more functional but how many times do we get caught up in the pretty of it all. I for one an not immune to the gorgeousness of the sticker selection on display both on Etsy and YouTube. How can you be when we are getting hit left and right with colors and styles and washi’s of epic proportions. However, if we want our planners to be more functional I am going to share with you what I think we have to do first. Are you ready because this is going to be beyond belief? It is going to change lives. It is going to knock you back on your heals and make you sit there in stunned silence for about two seconds. Okay here we go….in order to make your planner more functional this is what you have to do…are you ready…here it is…

I know, simple right? Are you okay? Do you need a minute? Maybe a sip of water? I mean it really is mind-blowing right? That something so simple could be the key to having a functional planner. Maybe you would like me to explain.

See so many times as we are getting caught up in the pretty of stickers and washi and kits we might not ever use we forget why we bought the planner in the first place. Now if you purchased your planner just to decorate it and use every sticker you could find then by all means continue on and God speed. However, if you bought your planner to journal, to scrapbook, to God-forbid plan, then this is where we sometimes jump the track.

Full disclaimer here. I am not against decorative planning. In point of fact I use quite a few stickers in my own planner and have a golly good time doing so. I peruse Instagram and Facebook planner groups same as you and oh and ah over the pretty spreads like every other planner girl out there. I even will admit that I have a planner girl crush on a few sticker designers out there and flock to there pages, YouTube videos and Instagram accounts like a good little planner girl should. That being said I just believe that their is more to planning then how pretty your spread looks. I think it can look good and function at a high rate of return also. There, I hope that clears the air.

Getting back on track, I want to talk about getting to the heart of why you plan and using your planner to it’s fullest potential and to do that you need to start with function. Look you would never buy a cup and expect it to act like a plate even through they are both dishes. Everything has a purpose and to get the most out of your planner you have to use it for what YOU INTENDED IT FOR (GREAT TWEET)!

So let’s get real. Not all of us bought planners for planning. That is perfectly fine. No one ever said that “pure, traditional planning” was the only thing a planner was good for. There are any number of ways that you can use your planner but first you need to sit down and figure out why you have your planner and how you want it to function.

To start here are a eight questions that should help you figure out if your planner is functioning the way you intended and if not then you might want to think about how you are using it and if you can re-work it so that it can.

  1.  For what purpose did you purchase your planner?
  2. When you look back over the last month or two months have you been using it as you intended?
  3. If not, what is causing you not to use it as you planned in the beginning?
  4. Do you have the tools, supplies, and resources to use your planner the way that you want it to be used?
  5. If you could plan your perfect week in your planner as you intended when you bought it, what would it look like?
  6. Do you find yourself worrying about what others might say about how your planner looks if you shared it?  Does that hold back how you are using your planner?
  7. If you could describe how you want your planner to work to someone else how would you do it?  Looking at your planner, is your current style living up to that description?
  8. What can you change to bring your current style more in line with how you want your planner to function?

If you picked up your planner as a journal but you cover every inch of the page with stickers that leave no room to write then it isn’t functioning the way that you intended. If you wanted your planner to act as a scrapbook or memory keeping book but you have no pictures or stories in there then once again it isn’t functioning as you wanted. You have to figure out what you want your planner to do and then do it (GREAT TWEET).

For me I want my planner to work as a planner. I want to be able to look at it and see my plans for the day and the week and to use it to keep me on the right track to reaching my goals. Yet it has taken me almost this whole year to come up with a system that works for me in that direction. I had to realize that I needed to move beyond the pretty and go back to just writing down my day before I could figure out which stickers could work for me and which couldn’t. Sometimes that is what you have to do.

At the end of the day, we each think differently so we each plan differently. We each have different goals and challenges in our lives so no two people’s planners should look alike. You have to find what works for you to achieve what you want your planner to function as. Once you do that then you are well on your way to staying on track; wherever you are headed.

Let’s keep the conversation going as always in the comment section below. What have you found that helps you keep your planner functioning as you intended? Do you have multiple planners? How do you keep them all running separate and correctly to achieve what planned?

The Number One Reason I Decided to Create My Own Inserts

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With so many planners and planner inserts out there is there ever really a reason to create your own? I think that depends.

Sure you can go from planner to planner or from insert to insert but that doesn’t mean that you will achieve that allusive “planner peace” we are all searching for simply because you picked up a prettier insert than the last.

I know that this may sound a little counter productive since I happen to have a line of planner inserts that I sell but the reason why I designed the inserts that I did was so that they give you a freedom that I didn’t feel was there in most of the other planner inserts that I had found.

For me there was always something missing with the planners and inserts that I was finding. I couldn’t put my finger on it but I knew that I wasn’t getting what I needed from them. I would find myself searching in every office store I walked in for something different or spending hours on Etsy trying to find a layout that really spoke to me. I was like that new Tinder member searching and hoping to find Denzel, Chris, or Liam waiting just for me. I wanted that one insert that said “I’ll work exactly like you need”.

Part of the problem was that I had worked for a planner company before and I absolutely loved their planners. They worked for me in every sense of the word. Did I have complete and total planner peace? Was I running through the mountains with my planner clutched tightly to my chest singing “the hills are alive with the sound of music”? Not quite but I was going most everywhere with my planner in my purse feeling confident that I was on track and and on schedule. That is the same thing right?

So the number one reason that I decided to buckle down, fight with my graphics program, and do the dang thing myself was for the freedom to make it completely personal.

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Just about every planner or inserts claims that you can personalize your page and to some extent that is true. You can add the stickers that work the best for you, you can doodle or bullet journal your way through each day, or you can just washi the whole page and call it good. Whatever floats your boat. However, when you sit down and design each page you get to think about what you really need. For me I went through all my old planners that I could get my hands on and I looked not just at what I thought made each one work well but what I used most. Then I was able to figure out if I wanted those items in my inserts or if they were really necessary.

Let me tell you that there is a certain mad scientist high you get when you are Frankenstein-ing your way into planner oblivion. At first you feel like you can add everything and then you have to stop and get real. You find yourself fist pumping the air like a bad 80’s movie character when you get something to work and you get that Flashdance excitement when you finally get it done.

Now I just want to say for the record that I am not advising every single person to create their own planner. First off, it is a lot of hard work and if you are like me a few sleepless nights and at the end you still may not like what you have created. You could start to use it and figure out that something still isn’t right. So if you decide to go down this road then you have to be prepared for how it plays out.

The reason I am sharing my story with you is because I understand that some people might be nervous to give it a go. Some of you have wanted to put together your own planner for quite sometime but feel like maybe that isn’t something you could do or that no one would understand creating your own because there are so many already out there. Maybe you already own two or three of any of the popular planners and it just seems wasteful to do something like this. I want to let you know that it’s not.

If you feel like you could create something that can keep you on track, help you organize your life better and give you the freedom to plan as you like then I say go for it. Planning is about you. It is about what works best for your life and whatever might be needed. So if you are worried that you can’t then I am here to tell you that you can and I for one can’t wait to see what you come up with.

As always let’s keep the conversation going. If you have any questions are motivational stories about your planner journey be sure to share them below.

Hello June…Monthly Goal Setting

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It is hard to believe that almost half the year is gone.  I bet you can still remember breaking into your 2016 planner and thinking of all that you planned to get accomplished before the next new year.  I personally set quite a few lofty goals for this year and I am sad to say that I haven’t done so well, but I plan to more than make up for it in the next six months.  That is why for June I have decided to take a refreshing look at my 2016 goals and I am taking you along for the ride.

Recently I was talking with an acquaintance and we were going over business planning.  She had just read something about planning in ninety day increments that was inspiring her to look differently at how she worked her business.  Now one of my first jobs we did something similar that we called “quarterly strategy” but it had the same bases, and while I still implement this in my business for the most part I have never thought about it in my personal life.  However, when she was talking all I could think about was how well this could work for all aspects of my life.

For example, one of my goals was to post one picture a day that I took and didn’t edit.  See in addition to my love of planning I am also a photographer and I have found recently that I have stopped taking pictures for me.  Part of me feels like I am losing my creative edge and to take a photograph that you love and feel no need to adjust takes some creativity behind the lens. 

I was good for like the first week or two of the year and then got caught up in the day to day of life and lost focus.  Now if I had been reviewing my goals every quarter then I might have stopped and asked myself why I let this go earlier and not feel the need to play catch up half way through the year.  That is why I want to start taking a quick look at my goals per month and a longer look per quarter to make sure that I am on track.

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I have even designed new inserts that I can use to write out my goals and the action steps that I can take to keep on track.  I am also using the month at a glance and my monthly target list to keep me working toward what I want to accomplish.

So this month we are going to be taking a look at goal planning and keeping on track so we can go into the second half of this year more productive than ever.  Let’s get started.

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What goals are you working toward?  What systems have you put in place to make sure that you reach then?  Share below and together we can keep each other motivated. 

Something Special For You…A Little Valentine’s Day Surprise

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It’s February and love is in the air.  It is the season for joy and giving and peace on earth…wait that’s Christmas.  Oh well, since I already got them mix up and I don’t have any flowers to share then I might as well do a giveaway.  A little something to say thank you for dropping on in and taking a look around.  Besides it’s better to give than to receive, right?  But if you happen to have a box of chocolates just laying around I wouldn’t turn that down.  I’m just saying.

This month as an exclusive for new comers to our little community I am giving away my Valentine’s day spread.  It is in PDF format so all you have to do is click the links below the picture to download it.  After that simply cut and enjoy.

 

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I will say that I am absolutely in love with this set and personally I can’t wait to use it.  I hope once you see it then you will feel the same.

While it is set up for Valentine’s there is no rule that says you can’t use it for an anniversary or birthday or just because you are in a lovey mood.  Added bonus is that if you like pink this might just do it for you.  So enjoy and be sure to share with all your friends.

Let’s See Your Style…Planology Edition

I had to make that Barry Manilow up to you somehow so I decided a little TaTa would do just fine.  Although it does lead to almost the same question.

Why are we watching clouds float through Taylor’s neck?  And like before I am going to tell you.

No reason whatsoever that relates to planning.  However, I would suggest that you take a look at the abs on that guy in the video.  They do make me swoon just a little.  On the relevant side, the title of the song just happens to be what we are talking about and that is style.  Specifically you planner style, but as a side note you really need to check out that guys in the videos abs?  Yes please.

Okay back to our regular scheduled programing and welcome to our STYLE section.

Here is where you can show off your favorite spreads.  You know those weeks that are so dang blasted cute that it almost seems a sin to put pen to paper and you really wish that you could frame them and put them up so that people walking in will be like “OMG look at your life.  It is so amazing.  I think I just died”.  If you don’t get the reference click here.  Those are the spreads, layouts, weekly wonders that we want to see.

To share send them to yourstyle@theplanology.com.  I will be posting as many as I can and the one that gets the most comments at the end of the month gets to share all about how they put it together, where their inspiration came from, or just why they chose those stickers.  Whatever tickles your fancy.

Added bonus is that if you just aren’t really feeling that creative bug or simply can’t think of what to do for the week, this is going to be a great place to come and find some inspiration.

Questions?  Be sure to leave them below and don’t forget to send your spreads in and show us your style.