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8 Reasons to Use a Planner

Either you run the day, or the day runs you. ~ Jim Rohn

Days fly by and it's easy to get lost in the never-ending minutiae of daily living. Without a clear plan, there is a rush of little things to completely fill every day. But it doesn't have to be this way. By taking a little time and using a few tools there can be a clear pathway to a day used well, moving life forward in the direction that you really want it to go.

The most important tool here is a well-organized and faithfully used planner. Here are eight ways a planner can help you toward this.

It Helps with Time Management

Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else. ~ Peter Drucker

Does it seem there is never enough time for everything? When this happens to me it is usually because I am not scheduling my time effectively. Instead, I am running from one thing to another, mindlessly allowing time to pass without paying attention to whether I am using it well. Time management is usually one of the first things people think of when considering using a planner, and with good reason. Using a planner encourages looking carefully at upcoming activities and thinking through the time needed to complete the essential things.

I have looked for a planner that fits my needs, but each person is different so it's difficult to get something that matches my needs as closely as I would like so I've started creating my own. The versions vary depending on what is going on and how long I've used the previous version. I've found changing up the design creates interest and keeps me engaged. There have been times when I have used a premade planner, and times when I have cobbled together my own with a mix of free printables and pages I designed myself. Currently, I'm using the latter and I'll share some of these resources with you throughout this post that may be helpful if you choose to create your own mish-mashed planner.

Keeps You Focused and Improves Productivity

Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort. ~ Paul J. Meyer

Aside from simply managing time through scheduling, using a planner also helps with focus and productivity. When I see something written down in my paper planner, or listed in my online planner, it keeps it in the forefront of my mind. I am much more likely to stay focused on what I need to do, which increases my productivity. While this is closely related to time management, focus and productivity are a little more in-depth than simply time management. Focus and productivity deal with how much work is done in a given amount of time, while time management deals more with workflow, setting priorities, and managing productivity.

101 - Productivity Planner

Provides Health Benefits

If you achieve all kinds of things in the material world, but lose your health or your peace of mind, you get little or no pleasure from your other accomplishments. ~ Brian Tracy

Less stress equals better health. Chronic stress is stress that is ongoing and can be caused by either external or internal stressors. Living with chronic stress can be very detrimental to your health causing muscle tension, shortness of breath, an elevated pulse, and feelings of anxiety or depression. This can lead to elevated levels of cortisol and other stress hormones, which can be very disruptive to many of your body's normal processes. This in turn can lead to various physical and mental health problems. Physical problems can include digestive issues, headaches, muscle tension and pain, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, sleep problems, memory and concentration problems, and weight gain. Ongoing stress can also suppress the immune system, making it more difficult to recover from sickness. Mental problems can include anxiety, depression, and issues with memory and concentration. It can easily become a vicious cycle. In a world where many things are outside our control, taking control of this area can relieve stress in one major realm of our lives.

Planning can be one important component of managing stress. Having a carefully considered plan provides structure and lessens feelings of uncertainty. It can also give you a sense of control as you develop a system for managing life. Some ways this happens is through goal setting and time management.

Goal setting allows you to decide which tasks and activities are priorities and then manage your time and energy accordingly. Goal setting and time management go hand in hand and are crucial to managing and reducing stress.

Additionally, a good planner often has space to keep track of health goals, appointments, and other health-related things. Having all these health records at your fingertips makes it so much easier to keep up with things like appointments, medication refills, and even the day-to-day things like hydration, nutrition, and exercise goals.

More Time for Creative Activities

We become what we behold. We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us. ~ Marshall McLuhan

When you use a planner, (and follow the plan) you find yourself with more time to do the creative activities you have always wanted to do and thought you didn't have the time for.

The key is to shape our tool (the planner) in such a way that there is space to capture ideas, block out time for creative pursuits, and then, possibly, record the results. This is a fun benefit of using a planner. Although creativity is often thought to simply happen spontaneously, (and it can), time scheduled for creative projects is vital as well. Even if you aren't feeling particularly creative at that moment simply taking the time to focus on creative pursuits will often spark the creative ideas needed. Taking regular time for creativity also helps to keep the mind open to creative ideas, so that they come more often. Creativity for me includes writing and crocheting and I am intentional about planning time for both of these activities. And, while reading may not be a creative activity in itself, it does fuel creativity, so I make sure to plan time for reading as well.

Keep Track of Progress Toward Goals

Begin with the end in mind. ~ Stephen Covey

I'm a lover of graphs and trackers and ways to see the progress I am making toward goals. My planner has a section just for these visual motivators. Keeping these goal trackers where I can see them daily helps me remember to take the actions needed and then take the time to track those actions. There are many free printable habit trackers and goal trackers online; so many that I sometimes have a hard time choosing which ones to use.

Printables and Inspirations - Free Printable 2024 Goals Planner

Enhance Your Memory

The palest ink lasts longer than the most retentive memory. ~ Chinese Proverb

You are more likely to forget things when you feel disorganized and in disarray. Using a planner is one important way to keep your time, appointments, and goals in order and ensure that nothing is forgotten. Many times, when I struggle to think clearly and feel overwhelmed it is because I haven't been consistent in writing down all the things that are vying for attention in my brain, and I constantly feel like I'm forgetting something. My planner saves the day here, allowing me space to write all those things down and make some kind of sense of them. Then I am free to focus on one thing at a time without worrying that I will forget something. The key here is to be sure to check and update the planner consistently.

Increase Motivation

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. ~ Arthur Ashe

When stress is reduced, and fewer things are forgotten it is so much easier to stay motivated. The combination of written goals, daily plans, and trackers to keep track of progress is a powerful way to increase motivation. Crossing things off the list, checking things as done, or filling in the squares on a habit tracker are nice little motivators built into the daily routine.

Maintain Reliable Records

Getting paperwork under control makes me feel more in control of my life generally. ~ Gretchen Rubin

You know that pesky paperwork that always seems to pile up and get out of control? Using a planner helps to keep all that paperwork together. With a few pockets and page sleeves, keeping documents, bills, flyers, and other important papers together is so much easier. Then, when the time comes it is a simple matter to file them away where they belong for future reference. The planner is also a good place to keep track of things like car and home maintenance, due dates for bills, and other important information.

What about you? Do you use a planner regularly? Do you have a favorite or are you still on the hunt for that one perfect planner? I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences with planners and other organizational tools.

To learn more about why I write, and why I share my life here, please read this post - Uniquely You, For a Purpose.

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