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?

Letting Go: My Beginning Journey to A New Level of Planner Peace

I personally happen to LOVE, LOVE, L-O-V-E, the Olympics.  I go a little crazy and practically chain myself to my television every two years just to see each and every event.  I print out schedules so I don’t miss anything and set my DVR as soon as I can just in case.  This last Olympics in Rio I thought seeing everything was going to be a cake walk because I had my planner and my Olympic stickers I had created and I was ready to go.  olympic-info-boxes-2016_72Yet this Olympics has a side effect I didn’t foresee.  I was so caught up in watching the Olympics I stopped planning and when they ended I was like “now what do I do?”.

It was like I had forgotten how to plan or something.  I couldn’t get back into the swing of things.  I had lost my planning mojo.  I couldn’t create, I couldn’t think, I just couldn’t do anything with my planner.  It sat empty and desolate for weeks without not even a drop of ink between it’s wonderful pages.  I looked at it almost daily and with a heavy sigh each and everyday I closed it and when about my work.

I tried watching planner videos but they weren’t holding my interest and I tried searching Etsy but just nothing was doing it for me.  When I finally hit a week where I knew I was going to be crazy busy I gave up on making my planner pretty and just dived into making it functional with more of a bullet style and that was when a light bulb went off.

Before I tell you my aha moment, I want to clarify in advance.  I have nothing against decorative planning.  I actually really love it, but in that moment I realized that I had become so caught up in the way that my planner looked and not how it was helping me organize my life that I could plan without the pretty.  In those weeks where my planner was put to the side it wasn’t that I didn’t have plans that I needed to write down or events I needed to keep track of.  On the contrary.  Those were weeks were I desperately needed to plan but I simply couldn’t without the perfect spread or the absolute right stickers.  I had become attached to the look more than the reason.

I know we all get started using paper planners for different reasons but for me it was so that nothing feel through the cracks of my life.  I wanted so see what was going on, what I wanted to accomplish, and what needed to be done to get where I wanted to go.  Yet in the mist of planner kits, washi tape, and sticker overload I lost my personal reason for planning.

With this in mind, my goal now is to find a way to combine the functional with the pretty.  I thought I had before but it was more of taking a few stickers away then really trying to combine them.  I know I will still have washi and stickers and other fun things in my planner but when I look back through my planner I want to see where my goals started and how they were accomplished more than which lovely paper I used during which week.  I want to know that I used my planner for it’s intended purpose and I want to see that I succeeded.

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How are you using your planner?  Do you have any tips for me as I change my planning style?  Let’s keep the conversation going below?  Leave a comment and let me know what your personal planner style happens to be?

The Best I Ever Had…Don’t Go There; I’m Talking Advice

Me & My Big Ideas Happy Planner

I know, I know but in my defense I was sitting here watching an interview with that “50 Shades of Grey” guy and well that can put thoughts into anyone’s head.  Did you know he was married?  Oh well I digress.

Let’s get to it.  Welcome to Planner University or Planner U.

I debated long and hard about what would be the first posting here and believe me it was a tough decision.  I mean should we start with which planner to get or which style or what is planning.  That last one almost won out but then I thought about it and figured you must know what planning is or else why would you be here.  Now that doesn’t mean that it might not pop up later only that it doesn’t get the dubious honor of being first.  That honor starts right here with this post.

See I started thinking and I realized if you were going to start at the beginning then you might need a few tips.  You might need someone to come and hold your hand and talk you down off the sticker ladder or out of the washi aisle.  When you are starting out you need advice.  You need that person that is going to stop you from having to figure out a way to write off Etsy as a business expense or a donation on your taxes because the amount rivals half your yearly income.  Therefore we are starting with some of the best advice I have found in the planner community.

  1. YOUR PLANNER IS FOR YOU & THE ULTIMATE GOAL IS TO HELP YOU BE ORGANISED.  This I think might be the best of the best.  So many times we get caught up in the way we see others planning. We look at their planners or their videos and we want to be just like that.  Yet each of us are different and our lives are different.  So why do we think that our planners should be the same.  You bought that planner not just because it looked good but because you wanted to get a handle on your life.  You wanted to keep things from falling through the cracks.  Therefore make sure that it is working for you because that is all that matters.
  2. IT DOESN’T HAVE TO COST A FORTUNE. Again we get so involved in the look that we sometimes forget the purpose.  Of course it is amazing to get new stickers or weekly sets but don’t be afraid to go simple in the beginning or even now.  Don’t be afraid to check out dollar bins in different stores or look around your craft room to see what you might have that will work.  You don’t need to start right out the gate with every sticker on Etsy or every washi Michael’s carries.  Even if you have been planning for years you can still find deals that will make you want to jump up and down like a fan chick at a boy band concert(One Direction anyone?).  The point is don’t break the bank trying to keep up with the Jones’s.
  3. TAKE THE TIME TO FIND YOUR GROOVE.  Without argument young Michael Jackson was killing it.  Those beginning songs with the Jackson 5 were, are, and will forever be classic.  However when he came out with Thriller that was a WHOLE NEW LEVEL!!  My point is that even some of the greats need time to come into their own.  Don’t worry that your first few spreads might not be what you thought they would be or that you’ve had your planner for months and you still aren’t sure exactly how to use it.  That is okay because you are learning.  It takes time to figure it out and find what works for you.  In the meantime, use those spreads or weeks to mark what you love and disregard what don’t.  Let your groove find you and you will be dancing in no time.
  4. DON’T LET A SPREAD YOU THOUGHT YOU’D LOVE BUT DIDN’T GET YOU DOWN.  We have all been there.  You get that kit in the mail or you plan out exactly what you think you want to do.  Maybe you saved those stickers especially for this one week and when you get in there and put them down you feel like a balloon that has lost it air.  It’s like that rollercoaster ride that you hate but keep getting on because you think this time it will be better.  Look, doll, it happens.  Sometimes things just don’t work and that is okay.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  Let it sit, let it get you through the things you need to do that week, and let yourself figure out why it doesn’t work for you.  It could be that you miss your white space or that you felt overwhelmed by the pressure of the week.  Relax and move on to next week.  As the song goes, it’s only a day away.
  5. MOST IMPORTANTLY-PLAY!!  While we all got into this to keep organized and to run our lives or our business let’s keep it real, this is fun :).  It’s like someone set an extra arm on the clock and for a few hours in the day, week, month it reverses and we get to travel back to our elementary school days when we had no worries.  We could sit with our friends and draw or write our name a hundred different ways with a thousand different pens or colors.  We could put stamps or stickers on our jeans, shoes, shirts, or skateboards.  We could mark your world and make it standout as ours.  We could show our style, our personality, our love in our own way.  At the end of the day or week that is what this is about.  Being you and having fun while doing it.

Well that is it my Lovies.  The intro and beginning to PlannerU.  I hope that this was helpful for you whether you are a beginner or have been planning for awhile.  It is always good to go back to the basics and I personally find that I learn a little something new each and every time.

Like with all classes the Q&A is just starting.

If you have any questions or would like to add something to the conversation then be sure to comment below.  Look forward to seeing you next class.