Starting to plan or journal? Here’s what you should focus on.

My friend, Patty, recently decided she wanted to start using a planner for future planning and journaling, and this is a little list I managed to organize for her in order for her to begin her planning path.  One of the things that I love doing is to ensure that I have all my planning and journaling supplies ready when I’m about to start in a new planner. I will gather my planner, my favorite pens that must be include dark ink, preferably fine tip gel pens, pretty stickers, washi tape, deco tape, pencil and eraser, and colored markers with a fine tip.  I also like to keep these all in one place because I typically use these over and over again, so I have a stationery wallet big enough to handle all my things. Now if you’re lucky, you can even purchase a portable printer, one of the tiny ones that are out these days so that you can take a pic of something on your phone and quickly print it out to insert in your planner. That’s if you want to keep a memory handy. I have an LG one and LOVE it!

  

Here’s a side note about picking a planner. It’s just my personal preference, but I love planners that have stitching as opposed to glued. The reason behind this is that the planners lay flat and pages don’t fall out. If you’re a binder planner person, which I was for years (and still use), the benefit of this is that you can take your pages out and work on them one at a time.  Just make sure you understand what you’re getting before you spend a boatload of money on these.

This is a picture of our Macaron Planner that I gave to a friend of mine who posted this picture. Didn't she do a great job?

Once I have all these items together, I ensure my planner has the following information:

  • Monthly Planning Calendar
  • Dedicated daily planning section
  • Notes section

Here’s what you’ll do:

  • Fill in all your important dates, such as birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, or anything else that you know will never change.
  • Block off vacation time you already have scheduled for the next year, so you accidently do not plan something during that time.
  • Write in appointments or events you know are coming up. For Moms, this means going through your children’s school schedule and jotting down days off, half-days, field trips, and other events coming up. In addition, this also means any lessons or practices should be automatically listed as well.
  • Is there something you absolutely do every year? Christmas activities, visit to the pumpkin patch, or a trip to the beach? Write this down. Reserve that time.
  • Also, add to-do’s and goals to your planner. For example, at the beginning of the month, I will look to see whose birthdays are coming up and take a trip to the store to purchase cards or gifts for that person. If I know Christmas is going to be expensive, I start saving $100 each month to cover this expense when the time comes to go Christmas shopping.  The idea is to write it down to hold yourself accountable because otherwise it will be difficult to accomplish.
  • It’s also super important to reserve me-time or even a special date night. Jot these down.
  • To-do list. You’ll want to utilize a little section of your planner to list all the things you need to do on a daily basis. Whether that is your daily section or your notes section, start out small – listing big things you need to start taking action on. As you begin to use your planner more, you’ll notice that you’ll begin to get more and more detailed on these. To show that I’ve completed an item, I highlight my completed items so that it makes me feel accomplished. I love seeing highlights now. Others like to put check boxes next to their tasks and check items off as they’re complete. And yet others like to just cross their items off. Use whatever works for you.

One of the important things to do as you go through this process and begin planning in your own style is to ensure you have time set aside every day to glance over, revise, or jot things down.  Reconcile your planner once a week, check for revisions, and check your to-do list.  Good luck starting your planning!

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