Using a Simplified Planner (or any planner really) can be pretty intimidating.
But I use my Simplified Planner every. single. day. and can’t imagine my life or business without it—and I want you to feel the same way.
So today, I’m helping you set up your Simplified Planner for success!!
(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 SET UP YOUR SIMPLIFIED PLANNER FOR SUCCESS
Before you even open your planner, there are a few things you need to know:
- When it comes to using the Simplified Planner (or any planner), creating a system—ONE SYSTEM—is essential for success.
- You MUST make using your planner a habit for every day. If it’s not part of your daily routine, you’ll never use it—and that would be a very sad thing.
- With that said, IT’S OKAY to miss a day, or a couple of days, or even a week!! You don’t suck. You didn’t fail. It’s not time to say game over and never use your planner again. Every day with the Simplified Planner is a fresh start!!
- You DON’T have to keep it pretty and perfect. It’s okay to mess it up and write all over it!!
Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way… Let’s get to the actual setting up your Simplified Planner for success part!!You must make using your #planner a habit for every day. If it’s not part of your daily routine, you’ll never use it. Click To Tweet
FIRST THINGS FIRST, GIVE YOUR PLANNER A PURPOSE
I want you to 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.
Giving your planner a purpose gives it value and ultimately makes it an important part of your life and business. You’re more likely to use it when you realize it’s a tool you can’t do either life or business without.
Related Post: Why I Love the Simplified Planner (And How I Use It)
FIGURE OUT HOW AND WHEN YOU’LL USE IT
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again:
You must make using your planner a habit for every day. If it’s not part of your daily routine, you’ll never use it—and that would be a very sad thing!!
My planner is the first thing I reach for in the morning, the last thing I touch at night, and the only thing I check in with multiple times each day. It’s a simple system that works and I’m all about sharing, so here it is:
- First thing in the morning: Make checking in with your planner part of your morning routine. When you sit down at your desk with your first (or second) cup of coffee–before you open your inbox, before you even turn on your computer–pull out your planner.
- Throughout the day: I like to leave my planner open right beside me while I work so I can clearly see my schedule and check off to-dos as I do them.
- At the end of your workday: Take a few minutes to write out your schedule and to-do list for the next day so you can hit the ground running. Make it the last thing you do before you end your workday.
Pro Tip: Give your planner a designated (sacred) space so you always know where to find it!! I like to leave mine right on my desk or in my top desk drawer.
Related Post: How to Make Friends With Your Day Planner
FIGURE OUT A COLOR CODING SYSTEM
Color coding can get overwhelming and out of hand pretty darn quick so I recommend keeping things super simple!! Pick one way of color coding and that’s it (i.e. don’t color code by family member and type of event). Too many rules or systems is complicated. And if using your planner becomes complicated, you’ll never follow through.
Try using different color pens, highlighters, or even stickers to see which color coding method works best for you.
FIGURE OUT A STICKER SYSTEM
Stickers and color coding kind of go hand-in-hand. You do what works best for you, but in case you need inspiration…
This year, I plan to use:
- Flag stickers to draw attention to important dates like birthdays and anniversaries on both the daily pages and monthly page spread. (In the past, I’ve used flag stickers to make my top 3 to-dos stand out on the to-do side of each daily page—they fit perfectly over 3 of the checkmark circles!!)
- Color coding stickers to color code my days a little more and bring a little color to my list of monthly goals + action steps on the monthly page spread.
- Colorful doodle stickers to add a little intentional fun to the pages of my planner. 🙂
- Washi tape to make big events and exciting things stand out in a BIG way on both the daily pages and monthly page spread.
Pro Tip: Stickers are great when used in a way that works for you, but doesn’t distract you. Use them to attract or draw your attention to something, but don’t use so many that you can’t figure out what you wrote down for tasks and to-dos each day.
Related Post: My Favorite Planner Accessories (And How I Use Them)
NOW IT’S TIME TO ACTUALLY WRITE IN YOUR PLANNER
Now that you know HOW you want to use your planner, you must put the system into ACTION and actually USE it. Which means… it’s finally time for you to WRITE in your planner!!
Are you excited?! 🤗
ON THE MONTHLY SPREAD
Think of the monthly page spread as the bird’s eye view of what’s happening that month. It’s the place for all the big picture stuff, not the nitty-gritty, detail stuff.
Write in things like birthdays, anniversaries, school or sporting events for kiddos, school vacations, family vacations, business deadlines, launches, meetings, doctor’s appointments, date nights, self-care days, and long weekends.
Pro Tip: Write in the perpetual dates (the ones that happen on the same day year after year) right away and add in others as you schedule them/find out about them. Double check this by comparing it to your Google Calendar or iCal at the start of each new month to make sure you’ve got everything. Nobody likes to miss a deadline or be surprised by a meeting!!
ON THE DAILY PAGES
*This is specific to the Daily Simplified Planner because that is what I have, but you should still be able to take these tips and make them work for you no matter what planner you have!!
The daily pages is where the hard work and magic happens. It’s the place for all the nitty-gritty, detail stuff including where you gotta go and what you gotta do.
I love that each daily page is now split into three (simple) sections. I use the My Day section to block schedule my entire day and keep track of other things I must do that day in the To Do section. Finally, I keep a food journal, meal plan, and write down things I’m grateful for in the Notes section. I also use the header space at the top (by the date) to write my daily affirmation or intention for the week.
Related Post: Why I Love Time Blocking (And You Should, Too!)Giving your #planner a purpose gives it value and ultimately makes it an important part of your life and business. Click To Tweet
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER PUTTING IN YOUR PLANNER
I thought I would share a few of the things I schedule into my planner that make my days, weeks, months, and year so much easier, smoother, and more productive!! I hope you find them as helpful as I do!! 😊
Monthly Prep + Plan + Duty Day: The first workday of the month for me is Monthly Prep + Plan + Duty Day (marked on both the monthly page spread and daily pages by a flag sticker that coordinates with that month’s tab color). I have an entire post coming up about this, but basically, I do all of my prepping, planning, and duty-doing for the month on this day.
Power Productivity Hours: You know all of those little, one-off tasks that you have to do every day including ones that crop up during the day? I keep track of all of them in the To Do section of each daily page and then batch do them in a Power Productivity Hour (marked by a yellow color coding sticker) each day. I set a timer, glue my butt to the chair, and get them all done in one hour. It’s so much easier to batch them together than to do them here and there throughout the day.
Business Education Days: It can be hard to find time for business education, but it’s a must if you want to keep growing. However, you aren’t going to magically find the time, you have to make the time. Schedule full days or blocks of time on certain days to get your learn on!!
Self-Care: It is so important to make time for downtime. I’m not talking about vacations (although scheduling those is important, too). I’m talking about days off, facials, massages, mani/pedis, window shopping with your best friend, lunch dates with your mom, date nights with your significant other, and even just 30 minutes of no work, no email, no interruptions every single night. It’s good for your heart, mind, body, and soul!!
I hope you’re feeling confident, ready, and excited to start using your Simplified Planner (or any planner) this year!! If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments and I’ll get back to you. I truly hope this post helps you find success with your planner this year!!
Disclaimer: I was not paid or approached in any way to write about these brands or products. I only endorse products that I personally use and love. Some of these links are affiliate links.