Can I just let you know that this topic excites me!? I have kept a planner most of my life and cannot function without it. However, I know there are people out there who have a challenging time keeping up with their planner. That's okay! I know you are great at other things. I do want to encourage you to start keeping one and guide you on how to.
Honestly, there is no secret that turns you into a planning wiz, and it does take some time and work to make it a habit. To me, it is worth it. Living life with a planner takes the stress away of "What do I need to do next?" panic. I also know that I am human and forget things as soon as people tell me. Keeping a planner helps me tell people they are worth my time. Because they are! Life is just so busy sometimes that you can forget to show up to the events of those that matter to you. Keeping a planner to me is all about making the most of my time and remembering to do the things that are truly important.
So if you are feeling discouraged about your planner and have a stack of unused planners, let's change that. You truly can become a planning wiz with a few easy steps.
Step 1: Buy a Planner that Fits Your Needs
There are an endless amount of planners that you can buy. I have started using a new planner every year to figure out which one works best for me. If you are still in school, I would advise the Passion Planner (https://passionplanner.com/) or the Living Well planner (https://livingwellplanner.com/). I used both of these as I was in school because they had an hourly breakdown for each day. This seriously helped me manage my time and see where I had gaps to nap, study, and hang out with friends.
If you are recently engaged, I advise the Erin Condren Wedding Planner (https://www.erincondren.com/wedding-planner-learn-more). This really helped me break down each month, and helped me know what I needed to be working on for my wedding. I planned my wedding while I was still in college, so it was a super busy time for me. If I wouldn't have had a planner during this time, I would have been completely and totally DONE FOR. I have been thinking about doing a blog post on how I kept myself organized in the chaos of wedding planning. And...share my mistakes I made along the way.
Anyways, you need to find a planner that works best for your lifestyle and preferences. I would advise buying one that has a goals section included in it. I don't know about you, but setting goals is what gets me places in life. If you have no goals, you will never be working towards anything. If you are a goal setter, I would advise using the Passion Planner because it truly makes you set and define your goals. I would say buying a good planner is worth the money if you are willing to set time aside daily/weekly to use it correctly.
I have been doing some big thinking about creating my own calendar templates to share with all of you. Because I have used so many planners, I think that I can bring all of the great aspects of each together to create one that I think works very well. If this is something you would be interested in, please comment below or on one of my social medias. I appreciate feedback because I am trying to decide where to take my blog.
Step 2: Make Your Planner Yours
This truly is important. Go through the pages and see all of the features it includes. If you bought a planner with a goals section, start there. Set daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. These will help you see where you want to be. What you TRULY want from this next year. Let me show you an example of how I do it.
Goal: Grow my blog so one day it can be a full time job.
Why this goal is important to me: Being a full time blogger will allow me to one day spend time with my children and not have to work during that time. I truly want to internationally adopt and this takes a lot of time, travel, and money. Being a blogger will give me the flexibility to do something that has been on my heart since I was a little girl. I also want my family to have many opportunities to do the things that make us happy. I want to travel and explore this amazing world. I want to have a home that is able to host people.
Goal Timeline: I would like this goal to be accomplished before I have children. My husband and I have discussed starting the adoption process on my 25th birthday. We are truly open to what the Lord has for us though.
How to Accomplish Day to Day: I can accomplish this goal on a day to day basis by taking time out of my day to pour into my blog. Continuing to press into God and believe He has put this on my heart for a reason. To brainstorm ideas daily to feature on my blog. To do some research every night before I go to bed. Put in the work TODAY, not tomorrow.
Ex. I will publish a blog and a Instagram post. I will also try and get 20 new, relevant followers.
How to Accomplish Weekly: I can connect with like minded individuals and learn their story and what they did to get where they are. To push myself to release at least three/four blogs a week. To post on Instagram daily and share my story with people. To ultimately be vulnerable and love on the people who follow me. To be a refreshing, encouraging person who shows people the love of God.
Ex. I will publish 4 blogs and try and get 3 subscribers.
How to Accomplish Monthly: I will look back monthly and see where I succeeded and failed and figure out why I failed in certain areas. I will set more daily and weekly goals that help build my following. I will plan my blog calendar and stick to the dates I give myself as if I were being monitored by a boss (I typically make Shea keep me accountable haha).
Ex. I will post 28/31 days of the month. I will incorporate a new way to monetize my blog.
How to Accomplish Yearly: Set goals at the beginning of every year. Big goals that aren't easy and push me to be the best I can be. To look back on the year before and praise God for the growth and pray for more growth over the next year.
Ex. I will make $100 a month by July. I will have 50 new business connections this year.
This step is totally up to you on how you set goals for yourself. There should be a place in your planner where you can do this, or if you need more room you could create a page to insert in it. Goals are super important to growth. Growth in your spiritual life. Growth with your spouse. Growth in your job. Take the time to honestly write out your goals. No one else has to see these so be real. Be realistic but also make sure your goals push you. It is great to be as specific as possible so that your goals are actually ones that can be accomplished.
I also like to go through my planner and add quotes, stickers, and encouraging things throughout it. This helps me to learn to love my planner because it represents who I am. This time is for you to do you. Pinterest is your best friend (it is mine) if you cannot think of things to write/put in your planner. The internet has so much info, so take an hour or so to do this part. You have time! This is important, so make the time.
Step 3: Fill out Your Planner with Important Dates
When I first get my planner I like to go through and write birthdays, events, and other important days in it. The things that are truly important and you want to show up to. This is the part where I say a planner helps you show people they are important to you. Don't let your fuzzy memory end up hurting those you love.
Because my hours are not regular, I like to write the days and times I work down in my calendar. The purpose of a planner is to help you make the most of your time. My planner allows me to schedule my time and find the time where I can do the things I truly love. Like hang with the hubs and have a date night.
Some other things you may want to write down are dates when you want your goals to be accomplished. I like to write down my paydays so I know when the $$ is coming in. This is for you, so I would put everything that needs your time in here.
This step can take some time, but I encourage you to do it right because it will make a huge difference in your whole year. These first few steps are only yearly, so do them! I like to color code things and use certain colors for work dates, important events, and birthdays. I learn these as I go throughout the year and typically keep them the same from year to year. This is just something that helps me.
Step 4: Plan Your Week Weekly
My day for planning my next week happens on Sundays. I truly love Sundays because it is the beginning of a new week. New start. I like to sit down with some coffee and go through my planner for that next week. To refresh my memory on what I need to do that week and to add anything I have forgotten. At this time you can schedule coffee dates with friends, find times to exercise, etc. This time can be short or long. That is up to you!
Honestly, I would encourage spending some time with your planner at the beginning of every month too. I like to do this because it shows me where I have time to visit family or go do something fun. I also get to look forward to this date from the beginning of the month and get excited.
One other thing I like to do weekly is plan my meals. Things do get swapped around depending on how much time I have that day, but this helps me so much. Every Sunday I order groceries from Walmart and Shea picks them up on his way home in the mornings. This is one of my goals as a family. We try not to eat out more than one time a week, typically Sunday lunch. Because Shea and I are only two people, we usually have leftovers and this helps us get through the week only buying about 3-4 planned meals. So my planner not only helps me remember things, it helps us keep to our budget.
Step 5: Plan Your Day Daily
Yup, you heard me. This does take some work. I would advise you look at your planner the night before because this allows you some time to prepare for something you may have forgotten. This can literally take five minutes and will take so much stress out of your life because you know what your day is going to look like.
Honestly, I would say this is probably the hardest part of keeping a planner. This is the part where you have to decide you will take time to plan and then do it. Set a nightly alarm if you need help remembering. I promise you that this step will change your life dramatically. No matter how sharp your mind is, there is always something to forget.
Do this step. You got it girl! Or boy! I have actually begun to realize that I have some men viewers and this truly excites me! Thank you guys! You don't have to admit who you are. :P Honestly, you can learn a lot about women through my blogs and how we work. Just some hint hints for y'all.
Step 6: Look Back
Look back daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. This is up to you. But when we look back we are able to see where we lacked and this gives us room to grow. If you don't know where you failed, how will you ever succeed in that area? In the Old Testament, there are several times where the Lord requires His people to look back on their failures. For instance, before the Israelites went into the Promise Land, God uses Moses to remind the people of their failures. This is not because God hates His people, it's because He loves them. He wants them to remember how faithful He was even in their failures. We are human and we will fail, just like the Israelites. God does not leave them in this place though, He CONSTANTLY reminds them of what they should be doing and how to please Him.
I believe we should look back at our failures. Even the painful ones. We grow through this. It's okay to be sad about the areas where you didn't do your best. Grieve and grow. Don't stay in that place though. You are powerful and so so strong. You can do better and you will do better. I will be honest, I am embarrassed by my failures sometimes. I don't like to disappoint people or be misunderstood. But we can be redeemed. I have begun to turn my failure into determination.
I know some of this does not seem relevant to a planner. But a planner is a tool to direct your life. Life is messy. Life is hard. Life is beautiful. Life is busy. I even use my planner to write things that happened on that day. I want to remember. The good, the bad and the ugly, because that is what caused growth.
I am hoping you decide to go and buy a planner today. This is not a sales pitch. I am not making anything from this. I am being honest with you. I want to help you in your daily life because that is why I have this blog. People are my passion. Loving people is my passion. I see the beauty in all of you and want you to see it also. So let's grow together. Let's be vulnerable.
Feel encouraged today. You have a mighty God who has never looked away from you. Not in your dirtiest most shameful places. His eyes were still on you and He was not surprised. He loves YOU. I am always willing to share my story with any of you who would like to know more.
Thank you for reading continuously. Y'all love me so well! The weekend is near. Praying for rest and blessings upon all of you.