cut off hands writing in notebook at desk with laptop in background

How To Remember To Plan

If you struggle to remember to plan, I’ve got all the answers and strategies to help you make planning a part of your daily life.

Does this sound like you – You know that using a planner will help you achieve your goals and support a more organised life, but you just keep forgetting to use it. Sometimes you’ll sit down and plan your year, month, week or day and simply not refer back to your planner. 

This used to be me & I can help you to improve how you use your planner. 

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Hands writing in open notebook at desk with laptop in the background

Tips To Help You Remember To Plan

If you’re someone who struggles to remember to plan on a regular basis, I can help. Here are my tips and tricks to help you develop planning as a habit and a part of your day to day life.

My Top Two Tips

  1. Start Simple – This is important for planner newbies. A simple notebook will do. When I started out I used a two page spread in a lined notebook for my week. On the left hand side I had a to do list of ‘all of the things’, and on the right hand side, each morning I’d write the day, the date and select items off my to do list to get done that day. I crossed off items throughout the day and if I found that I had extra time, I’d simply pick something off my big to do list. Each evening I wrote out my to do list for the next day and every morning I’d take a look at my to do list and think about how I’d approach the day. I would also make any changes that felt better to me that day.
  2. One Planner Limit – when you are starting out, stick with one planner until you feel ready to expand. Some people find that one planner is perfect, others will have one planner for each aspect of their life. In the beginning, start with one. If you have found that remembering to plan is difficult for you, imagine how hard it would be if you had multiple planners. Don’t be swayed by ‘all the shiny things’ and everyone on social media comparing how many planners they use – you will find your own planner peace eventually, but start with one!

More Tips…

  1. Habit Tracker – if you already have a habit tracker, add planning to the list of habits you’d like to develop. If not, grab a notebook and draw up your own habit tracker – a simple table at the top or bottom of one page will do and you can tick off your planning routine each day for a week or a month.
  2. Give your planner a place of it’s own – Make it visible and, where possible, leave it open at the current week or day. Some ideas for keeping your planner visible – use a recipe holder, put it somewhere you go each day such as your underwear drawer, your bedside table, your desk or on top of the microwave.
  3. Find a planner that is right for you – Now this will probably take some trial and error so in order to save money I suggest you begin with printables. Feel free to sign up to my newsletter below and you will have access to the Blue Gum Lane FREE Printables Library, which is updated regularly. Try different styles until you find something that works for you. If you are comfortable using technology I have some tutorials on my YouTube Channel for designing your own planner inserts.
  4. Pick one or two 10 minute time slots daily to open your planner and at least look at what you have planned for the day, week or month.
  5. Find a comfortable space to sit and plan with a nice hot cup of tea (or coffee, or hot chocolate).
  6. Talk to yourself about it – remind yourself out loud if you think it’ll help.
  7. Create an association – For example, when I see a cat, I’m going to check my planner.
Woman at desk with laptop and open planner

But Wait, There’s More…

  1. Write one thing in your planner each morning and each night (even if it’s simply nonsense) until picking your planner up and writing in it and checking it becomes an unconscious habit. And a part of your daily routine.
  2. Have pens handy – I tend to have a stash of pens everywhere – in a tin on my desk, in my desk drawer, in my bedside drawer, in the kitchen, everywhere that I spend time has at least one pen stashed somewhere.
  3. Until it is a habit and you’ve built planning into your daily routine, take your planner everywhere with you (if it’s practical) and get it out and take a look at your schedule and your to do list every hour or two. If you don’t take it everywhere with you, you will at least need to have something with you to record anything that pops up as you go about your daily business. That could be as simple as a notebook or app on your smart-phone. As soon as you have a minute, transfer all relevant information into your planner.
  4. Find 30 minutes each week to plan the week ahead and check what’s coming up for the remainder of the month.
  5. Use alarms on your phone to remind you to open your planner
  6. Be patient with yourself – developing new habits takes time. Stick with planning and you will eventually reap the rewards. Life happens and will mess with what you have planned, work out how you will deal with this.

What Else Can You Do?

As you develop your habits, get clear on exactly what you want to use your planner for. That way, you can make sure you have everything  you need in your planner to help keep you organised in a way that works for you. Here are some examples of ways to use your planner:

  • Remembering appointments
  • Planning the hours of your day
  • Be more efficient with your time
  • A place to keep phone numbers
  • Do you want an annual, quarterly or monthly planner?
  • Will a daily notepad work?
  • Do you want to include notes pages or to do lists
  • Will you keep your online ordering tracker or habit tracker in your planner?
  • How much space do you need? Will a daily planner be better or a weekly – or a simple monthly calendar?

Once you’ve narrowed down what you need a planner for, find a planner that suits your needs – or design your own. I design mine on A4 paper, print out my weekly view and take it to my local stationery store to be bound. I do this quarterly, and each quarter I make any changes to make slight adjustments or improvements so that my planner is working for my needs as my ideas or needs change.

Remember to Plan – Final Thoughts 

You probably won’t use all of these strategies. However, you will find something listed here that will help you to remember to plan. If you find one strategy is not working, try something else.

When you are getting started with planning, remembering to spend time actually planning does not come naturally. Life happens and it falls to the bottom of the priority list. 

Consider planning as one of life’s small joys. It can bring peace to a busy mind and can form an integral part of your morning and evening routines. Like bookends to your day. Just having the clarity of what will be happening in the next day, week or months can clear some space in your mind for much more rewarding things. If you are clear on what your days will look like, you are more likely to create some ‘white space’ for yourself. This white space is perfect for enjoying alone time or quality time with friends and loved ones.

While you are building your habits with simple planning do some research on different planner styles. Pinterest is a great source of inspiration. Find some social media planners and planning groups to follow to gather ideas. Use the systems and styles that you feel will suit you best and put aside any ideas that simply are not for you.

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