5 Planning Tips for Beginners + A FREEBIE
I recently went through a pretty long and drawn-out planning slump. I didn't feel motivated to look at my planner at all and my overall well-being and productivity plummeted. The only solutions I could come up with were 1. to take a break and 2. start over when I was ready. I felt like I needed to just forget everything I was doing and start my planning habits over from scratch because obviously what I was doing wasn't working. Doing so made me feel like a total beginner again but I learned a ton about my planning style in the process.
If you're just getting into the planning world or maybe you're like me and going through a total planning slump of your own, here are 5 great tips that I promise actually work:
1. SET AN ALARM
Like I said above, the lack of motivation was absolutely killing my productivity. To-do list? Ha, What to-do list? I didn't even write one. I'd get to 7:00 p.m. before realizing I hadn't cracked open my planner once that day. I hadn't been focusing on my priorities, my habits, or making the most of each day. Likely, this was happening because I have a pretty solid daily routine that doesn't change too much. I wake up, read a book with my coffee, answer e-mails and client messages, and work on client design projects until 5:00 p.m every day. This is so ingrained in me that I eventually stopped feeling the need to plan.
So, I decided to set an alarm on my phone for 10:00 a.m. every day which prompted me to stop what I was doing and open my planner. I allowed myself the time to plan out my day, and set intentions. Just that act alone had me feeling more motivated to get more done.
2. KEEP YOUR PLANNER OPEN
This is pretty straightforward but once I got the hang of checking and planning in my planner every morning I kept my planner open on my desk (or wherever I sat) with the current weekly or daily page visible. This way, I could so easily glance over to see what I could do next if I found myself with a few spare moments or needed a reminder of what had to get done.
3. DON'T OVERDO IT
Once I was getting the momentum back with my planning routine I was excited to jump back into the community and try new inserts, styles, and stickers. However, I would caution this. Start simple and work at finding an easy routine that works for you that is also sustainable. If taking the time to extensively decorate your weekly pages with stickers isn't going to be feasible on those extra busy weeks then maybe reconsider this planning style. Maybe you need a more minimal approach.
For example, I take the time on Saturday or Sunday evening to prep my week and place a few stickers. I keep it as quick and simple as possible using a small collection of my favorite stickers and highlighting pens. That's it!
4. KEEP IT FUN
All that said, if buying fun stickers, pens, and sticky notes are going to make you happier about planning then do it! Let's face it, the things we actually have to plan for in a day can be pretty serious and mundane. I bet you don't get a boost of happiness when you plan to vacuum your home, pay your rent, or take out the garbage but hey...maybe with a cute sticker it doesn't feel too bad. The same goes for decor such as planner cards and dashboards. These are all elements of your planner that represent you and your aesthetic. It's not for anyone else, just you. Have fun with it!
5. DON'T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF
So, here I was checking my planner every morning, setting intentions, keeping my planner open and visible, practicing a sustainable planning routine, and having fun with planner decor again. Things were going great! But was it perfect? No! I didn't check off every to-do list task, drink 8 glasses of water daily, or never miss a workout. But I was seeing was progress. And progress is always better than perfection. More importantly, I was enjoying myself again.
My planner pages don't look picture-perfect. Trust me, my handwriting, sticker placement, and organization of my thoughts aren't anything to write home about. However, what matters is not an Instagram-worthy weekly spread or even a to-do list that's 100% complete. What matters is that your planner motivates you to be your best self. That's it. Are you a better version of who you were yesterday? Is it helping you to achieve the things you want to become your best self?
Simple as that.
Now the reason you're all here! The Freebie!!! I designed this dashboard to serve as a reminder of what it means to plan. It's easy to get overwhelmed by the aesthetics and look of our planners but when it all comes down to it, we plan as a way to improve our productivity, increase motivation, define our purpose and intention, and come up with a way of doing and living our best lives beforehand. Don't forget that as you put pen to paper and create your to-do list every day.
Click the link below to download it now!
Whether you're just starting out or you need a refresher, I hope these 5 simple planning tips and this freebie help you to achieve your goals and to have fun planning your life again!