By Patty Gardner
Planners are extremely effective tools for helping you keep your ducks in a row. I’ve been using a planner for 20 years. Before that I had a calendar and a to-do list. My family knows that if I don’t use my planner, bad things happen. In case you’re skeptical about the benefits of using a planner, here are 10 ways my planner helps me manage my life:
1. I don’t remember anything if I don’t write it down. If I write it down, it’s like magic and I can usually remember it even if I never look at it again. But if I don’t write it down, it’s gone forever. So if you ask me to do something, make sure I write it down!
2. I need to see the big picture so I know what I can and can’t do. No matter how hard I try, I can’t see the big picture in my head. It has to be on paper. And seeing the big picture helps me plan so I don’t get worn out or bored.
3. I get overwhelmed easily, but if I write everything down, it doesn’t seem so bad. Or I see that it really is that bad and I can figure out how to fix it.
4. If everything I need to do is swimming around in my head, there’s no room for anything else – like creativity. So getting it out of my head and on paper allows me to think about other things that are more fun.
5. I can’t make Plan B if I don’t have a Plan A. And if Plan A isn’t on paper, it’s not really a plan – at least for me. I need to SEE things – on paper.
6. Without writing it down, I always plan too much – more than any one person can do. But when I write it down and schedule it on the calendar, or put time estimates next to each item, I am more realistic about what I can do and it’s much easier to prioritize.
7. A planner provides a place to write down all my brilliant ideas and be able to find them again. If I use notes and post-its, there’s no guarantee I’ll be able to locate those brilliant ideas again.
8. I think better with a pen. Seeing my thoughts on paper (I use my planner as a journal, too), makes them easier to process and figure out. It’s also easier to see positive or negative patterns when it’s written down.
9. My planner provides a permanent written record of events, calls, activities, funny things the kids and grandkids do. I have all my planners from the last 25 years. There’s a wealth of information in those planners that I treasure.
10. Without a written plan, I tend to spin my wheels and waste my time. It’s like I don’t know what to do next. But if a task list is on paper, I am much more likely to be productive.
If you use a planner, why do you? If you don’t use a planner, why don’t you and how do you keep your ducks in a row?