So you bought a paper planner to help you stay organized, manage your days, tackle your to-dos, and keep track of all the life and business things…

Now what?!

Here’s what often happens:

You buy a paper planner 📒… and wait impatiently for it to be delivered. When it arrives, you rip open the box, do a little dance 💃🏼, maybe even scream a little, and post a photo of it to Instagram. 🤳🏻

You think it’s the answer to your organization and productivity prayers!!

But then it sits out on your desk FOR MONTHS collecting dust. 💨

Girlfriend!! Your planner has a job to do… you need to put it to work for you!!

Alexandra of The Productivity Zone writing in her paper planner

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase using these links.)

HOW TO USE YOUR PAPER PLANNER CONSISTENTLY

Maybe you’re afraid you’ll mess up your pretty new planner. 🙅🏼‍♀️

Maybe you’re not sure how to use it or make the most of it. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Maybe you think (because you missed a few weeks or months) it’s now too late to use it. 🤦🏼‍♀️

Whatever the reason, I can help with that!! 🙋🏼‍♀️

In this post, I’m sharing my five best tips for helping you make the MOST of your paper planner (so you consistently use it AND benefit from it)!!

1 | GIVE YOUR PAPER PLANNER A PURPOSE

This might sound a little odd, but giving your planner a purpose gives it VALUE and ultimately makes it an IMPORTANT part of your life and business. I truly believe you’ll be more likely to USE your paper planner when you realize you can’t do life or business without it.

So take a few minutes to think about why you bought it.

Maybe it was to help you manage your day-to-day schedule, to keep better track of your projects, to tackle all those to-dos, to simplify, to stay organized, to help you find some sort of balance between your work and your life…

Whatever the reason, I guarantee that once you give your planner a purpose, you’ll find:

  • that it works better for you,
  • that you can actually get things done with it,
  • that you’re more productive and efficient,
  • that you actually want to use it,
  • and that you end up relying on it even more!!

2 | KEEP YOUR PLANNER NEAT (BUT DON’T BE AFRAID TO WRITE IN IT!!!)

So many people buy a pretty paper planner and then don’t use it because they’re afraid to mess it up.

But you know what?

Your planner’s sole mission in life is to be written in and messed up (aka USED)!!

If you didn’t get to a couple of tasks one day, cross them out and write them on the next day!! Love to use pen, but change your mind a lot? Let me introduce you to my best friend: wite-out!! Hate your handwriting? You’re the only one that’s going to see it—so get over it!!

Write in your planner. Mess it up. But (you had to know from the heading that there was a “but” coming) still try to keep it neat and tidy. If your planner is full of random notes, brainstorms, doodles, scribbles, and scratch-outs, you’ll never be able to see what important tasks or to-dos you have to do.

Keeping that planner neat will help you manage your days and tackle your to-dos with less stress and more efficiency, I promise!!

Related Post: How to Use a Digital Calendar and Simplified Planner Together

2021 Simplified Planners in Pink Pinstripe, Pineapple Crest, Gold Bee, Happy Floral, Blue Trellis, and Happy Stripe

3 | LET IT AIDE OR GUIDE YOU, NOT CONTROL YOU

Your paper planner is a tool and (like most tools) is meant to help you and make your job/life easier. It is NOT meant to stress you out or control you.

Just because you write something in your planner, does NOT mean it’s set in stone. Things change, plans change, to-dos change. Embrace flexibility and a little thing I like to call white space grace.

In other words, don’t fill up every square inch of your planner with things to do. Give yourself some breathing room!!

Pro Tip: Erasers and wite-out are white space grace’s best friends. In fact, wite-out happens to be my (not-so-secret) secret for keeping my planner so neat!!

Related Post: How to Use the Simplified Planner (And Why I Love It)

4 | GET CREATIVE AND HAVE FUN WITH IT

My planner is my happy place and yours should be, too!! 🙃 Make it a pretty, productive, and fun place to “hang out” every day!!

Use different color pens, pencils, or highlighters to block schedule your day. Use color-coding dots or flag stickers to easily identify deadlines, meetings, appointments, your top 3 to-dos, and other can’t miss tasks. Use a pretty paper clip to clip important papers to the pages of your planner. Use a best day ever page marker to easily flip to and get excited about your day!!

Related Post: My Favorite Planner Accessories (And How I Use Them)

5 | USE YOUR PAPER PLANNER EVERY DAY

Just buying the pretty planner won’t do you any good. It won’t magically help you manage your days, stay organized, or keep on top of things if you don’t actively and consistently use it.

I cannot stress this enough, you guys.

Commit to using that planner every. single. day. Check-in with it (at least) three times a day: in the morning as you start your day, midway through your day, and when your day is ending so you can plan for the next day.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to check off tasks and to-dos as you complete them throughout the day. Seeing that you’re making progress is a HUGE motivator for getting more things done!!

Related Post: How to Use the Simplified Planner for Life and Business


I hope this post inspires you to dust off that pretty paper planner and put it to work for you (aka consistently use it)!! I’d love for you to come back and tell me how it goes!! 😊

Leave any questions about using your planner in the comments below and I’ll answer them!!


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Alexandra of The Productivity Zone writing in her paper planner

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own. I only share about the products and services I personally use and love most and think you will too!!