MY PLANNING ROUTINE & A FREEBIE
I'll be honest, I haven't always been a good planner. I absolutely love the designing and creating stage when it comes to my planner inserts, but I had a habit of getting everything printed and ready to go, and just leaving them untouched. I needed to make a conscious effort to actually record events, track habits, and plan goals. Sounds crazy since planning has always been such a huge passion of mine but life can too easily get in the way and the chaos quickly takes over. What I found works the best for me is a very systematic and structured approach. Establishing a routine created good planning habits and soon my I was more organized, managed, and relaxed when it came to planning.
Everyone's planning routine is different and it's important to find what works best for you and your schedule. I'm by no means perfect, and this routine is not foolproof but it's all a work in progress. I wish so badly that I was one of those girls that woke up with the sun and faced her planner with a coffee in hand. Realistically, that's not me. I stay in bed until the last possible second, hitting snooze a couple times. What that means is that I'm forced to start my day before I have a chance to slowly ease into it and sit and plan things out. Forunately, my day to day is quite flexible and I can quickly and easily adjust when I need to. Because self-discipline on a day to day basis is a work in progress for me, what I find works best is having set times where I sit down and devote my time completely to planning. It's like a massive brain declutter at the beginiing of each month and week. Planning this way eases the pressure of being completely "with it" first thing in the morning. I've set aside time previously to keep myself organized and I trust that process.
Let's go through it.
A thorough planning session before the start of the month puts me at ease and makes me feel ready to accomplish what I set out to. It makes planning each week and day that much easier as well. I sit down, pop the monthly spread out of the planner and set it in front of me.
Then I flip through my planner from front to back.
Year at a glance for birthdays, holidays, and big events
Look through goals list and choose areas/goals to focus on for the month then break these down into actionable steps
Check the to do list and add these into the month by priority, including work to dos
Add any recurring tasks that happen each month like paying bills and pay days, etc.
List any appointments/meetings you have booked
I also like doing a brain dump each month where I add in the following to my planner:
List out any new to dos
Make note of e-mails/calls to make
Appointments to book
Gifts to buy
Any other items to buy
On Sundays I set aside time to prepare each week ahead. If you need a little extra guidance, check out my Sunday Docket post here to help you make your Sunday a little more intentional. This works best for me as I am usually home on Sundays and can really devote the time to planning and organizing my week/life.
Here's what I do:
Check my monthly spread for big events & birthdays, which I've filled out previously.
Add in weekly chores to get done
Fill in my work schedule (tasks, deadlines, work to dos, etc.)
Goals and action steps to focus on for the week
Items to buy
Other/Personal to dos for the week
It's at this point that I usually add a bit of decor and embellishment to my spreads in the form of stickers. I like stickers that both add a bit of style and design to the spread but are also functional, making to dos and goals stand out a bit more on each page.
Although I'm currently a weekly spread kind of girl, I'm fascinated by daily spreads and am trying to merge the functionality of a daily tracker to the extensive view provided in the weekly spreads. I tend to approach the day in 3 time blocks; morning, afternoon and evening.
Each day I do the following:
Open up the Ideal Daily Routine spread and follow along
Set 2-3 priority to dos for the day (these could be to dos or action steps to work towards my goals)
Track habits (water, food, steps, exercise, etc.)
Complete daily chores
I created a printable version of the planning routine just for you! If i'm ever stuck or in a planner rut (which happens), I take a look at the planning routine insert and get back on track! Get your own printable insert by clicking the links below or visit the freebie page to download your own!
I'd love to know tips or techniques you do to streamline and optimize your planning routine. What works best for you?