Have you ever wondered how using a planner can improve your life? Or perhaps you’re one of those folks who gets excited about using a planner, purchases one and then never uses it? Or perhaps you are a true planner lover and just want some new ideas about how to use your planner? If any of these apply to you, I’m confident you will find this list of planner ideas useful.
#1 – Brain Dumping in your Planner
In 2005, the National Science Foundation published an article on how many thoughts you have per day. On average, it’s between 12,000 to 60,000. Isn’t that amazing? Even more amazing is that of those thoughts, 80% tend to be negative, and 95% are the same repetitive thoughts you had yesterday. Why are we so hard on ourselves? 🙂
Therefore, using your planner for a daily brain dump to release many of the things that are on your mind, could help you reduce the amount of negative thoughts you have and help you shift to more positive thinking.
#2 – Organizing Your Thoughts
Using your planner for mind mapping is a highly effective way of getting your thoughts down on paper. It’s a form of note-taking that literally “maps out” your ideas.
Decide on a topic you need clarity about and allow the ideas to just flow in any order. As soon as an idea pops into your head, you record it on a mind map. You aren’t constrained by a structured flow which can limit your ability to effectively brainstorm. You just write down any and all ideas, then reorganize them later.
#3 – Taking Small Steps on Weekly Goals
One of my favorite reasons to use a quality planner is to take small steps towards my goals. When you’re working on big goals in your life, the best way to ensure you make progress and stay motivated is to break your goals down into weekly goals and small steps.
Thinking about a bigger goal you have and consider coming up with 3-4 smaller goals each week. Then take a few action steps towards those smaller goals. If you do this consistently twice a month, you will have worked on roughly 72 – 96 smaller goals and action steps by the end of a year. There’s nothing you can’t achieve with this approach.
#4 – Determining Your Priorities in your Planner
If you’re at all like me, there’s a lot you want to accomplish in any given week. But prioritizing everything can be challenging. Using your planner to determine essential, non-essential, high and low priorities can be extremely helpful to ensure you get to do the things that are most important to you.
#5 – Developing Your Weekly Plan
Don’t you just love a good checklist? Especially when it includes tasks that actually support your goals and priorities. Those are the best in my humble opinion.
#6 – Working on a New Habit in your Planner
Researchers at Duke University have determined that habits account for approximately 40 percent of our behaviors each day. Using a planner to work on building new healthy habits is essential to making progress with your health, finances, relationships, etc. If you want your life to look any different next year, work on your day to day habits in small, incremental ways. And you’d be surprised how tracking habits in a planner can be extremely motivating.
#7 – Making Weekly Meal Plans
When I started using a planner to develop my meals for the week, my eating habits improved a great deal. I eat so much healthier on the weeks that I develop a plan ahead of time than when I wait to decide what I’m going to eat when I get hungry. When the plan is there, cravings don’t plan a role in my decision making.
#8 – Deciding on Chores in your Planner
I love using my planner to determine chores for the upcoming week. Again, it’s something you can do once a week and then everyone is on the same page. Things are more likely to get done in an effective and efficient way.
#9 – Planning Your Workout Schedule
The nice thing about developing a weekly meal plan, chore list and workout schedule (especially on separate pages in your planner), is that you are actually setting goals in each of these areas. This will help motivate you to stay on track. Once you’ve made some decisions at the beginning of each week, you’ll feel more inclined to stick to your original plans even when things get busy.
#10 – Tending to Your Mindset
If you’re interested in personal growth and want to make changes that will make a difference to your overall happiness, mindset is definitely an area that you want to work on in your planner. Whether you develop a regular gratitude practice, write affirmations or slowly make attitude adjustments, tending to a growth mindset is a powerful daily practice.
#11 – Reviewing Your Progress
Planners are awesome for reviewing your progress each week. Even if you only make progress on one small step or stick to your meal plan 3 out of the 7 days, that’s more progress than had you never completed even the smallest of steps. Conducting a weekly review and looking back on it after a month or so has gone by will help you see how much you really are moving forward in your life.
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