In this era of a million calendar and productivity apps, a paper planner still has a place – a really important place to some of us. And if you’re skeptical, let me tell you why a paper planner in the New Year might just be the best choice you could make for yourself.
A place to dump your brain –
I used to be able to keep all my thoughts straight in my mind at all times. I could juggle many plans and appointments and thoughts. At some point though, my mind got too full and thoughts started falling out.
Then, as I started forgetting things, I started to feel paranoid that I was forgetting things, which actually caused me to start forgetting even more things. It was because not only was I trying to keep track of things, I was trying to keep circling the information in my brain so that I wouldn’t forget … but the effect was just overloading my mind!
It was a terrible, vicious cycle! I felt frazzled.
Planners provide a place to dump your brain. I first wrote about “brain dumps” 7 and a half years ago! The blog post looks kind of ancient, but all the info is just as relevant as it ever was. The thing that is wonderful about dumping your brain, is you know it is written down somewhere reliable, so you don’t have to circle those thoughts around in your brain. You get to clear your mind so that you have your whole brain to focus on staying present and actually being productive.
The Mary Organizes Planner began …
At the time I started to feel overwhelmed by my swirling thoughts, I remembered my love of planners. I hadn’t used a planner since college, but I remember that a planner really helped me keep my brain together.
I started looking at planners, but I could not find one that fit my new life as a mom and someone trying to run a household. I decided to get on my computer and created my first planner … just for me. I used my own planner for 2 years before I started selling them on my blog. I had made several for different friends who wanted one just like mine. I carried it everywhere I went, people noticed! These friends had to convince me that there was a market for what I had created.
I think this may be the thing that makes my planners different than the ones at Target or Staples. I created a planner that I personally wanted to use. When something didn’t work, I kept tweaking things until I was happy. My planner isn’t designed to be what I *think* people will use, it is designed to be actually usable for real people trying to organize their lives and homes, me included.
For me, adding a planner back into my life those many years ago has changed everything. Maybe it is a change that could help you too.
The ritual –
The first part of my planner ritual happens on Sunday night. I look forward to that time with my planner. I usually put a show on for myself, lay out on my bed with my planner in front of me, then go to town. Planning out the week is relaxing to me! I remember things more easily if I actually physically write them on paper. I feel in control of my life. I spread out big things throughout the week so that I avoid everything crazy happening on the same day.
Another ritualistic aspect is my daily planning session, which I actually do the night before because I’m a night owl and I think best at the end of the day. (You do this in the morning if that works best for you.)
The ritual is to find somewhere quiet, which is usually at my desk or even sitting up in bed. I open my planner and plan the next day. This goes a lot faster than Sunday night, but I don’t try to rush because I actually like doing this. Planning my day, and being able to depend on myself to plan tomorrow when I need to, it keeps me in the moment,. It is easier to focus on what I’m actually doing (instead of fretting about tomorrow).
During TODAY, I don’t have to worry about TOMORROW. I don’t have to swirl all the appointments, errands, chores, and work around in my head. If I think of something new that needs to happen later, I open my planner and write it down, then I don’t have to keep thinking about it.
I don’t have to worry about tomorrow until the day is over and I plan out my next day. These rituals truly keep me sane and calm, even fighting off anxiety.
More tips on making the most of the planner –
I made a series of videos about using each section of the planner. I think using it to the fullest will have the biggest impact on your life.
Each video isn’t long, but I go into plenty of detail on how to use every single page in the planner!
Tips by section –
- Section 1 – Home Management & Monthly Planning
- Section 2 – Weekly Planning
- Section 3 – Daily Planning
- Section 4 – Budget Planning
- Section 5 – Meal Planning
- Section 6 – Note Paper (& tips for customizing your planner)
A planner could change your life, so pick the one that fits your life.
I know I share a lot about using MY planner, but I have to say, find the planner that fits you best … even if it isn’t mine. I want you to feel in control of your life. I want you to feel organized. I want you to feel peace instead of frazzled. Find the planner that can give you that.
Happy thoughts for a super organized year ahead!