I’m guilty of it myself. Yes, me, the one with the tons of planners and a website partially dedicated to it. Sometimes, some weeks, I just don’t use it. I want to use it, I am supposed to use it – yet it sits on my desk with its blank pages staring back at me.
I’ve found that during the times that I’m not actively using my planner, there are typically one of four things going on and I bet that if you take a moment during a blank planner week to reflect, you might find that you fit in to at least one of these four concepts.
There are many weeks where there is just too much to do that getting it all in my planner seems like work. Some of my projects are so large, that breaking it down in to sizable chunks in my planner doesn’t make sense when I have project management software. Wrong. Studies show that writing things down by hand actually helps you remember it better than you would by typing it. Even if you can only get a portion on paper, get it there.
From time to time, my oldest daughter calls from college a bit overwhelmed. She’s an electrical engineer major with a to-do list that makes you want to lick a 9-volt battery. She knows exactly what to do, she just needs to hear me say it: “Grab your planner, grab a coffee, and sit and purge.”
Sometimes feeling overwhelmed can keep planners from being used when the opposite is what would smooth out the day, just write one thing down and the rest will follow.
Too much Pressure
I am a part of a lot of planner groups online. Most of the time, this serves as a big dose of awesome that other people get how much I love to oogle over calendars and stickers. But sometimes, it’s just like elementary gym class when we’re all doing our floor exercise routine and everyone else’s seems better than mine.
For a long time I did plan with me videos with the idea of you liking what I was producing at the end. The problem is I didn’t like the end result. I needed to change my mindset and realize that my planner was for me, and it wasn’t to show off my sticker skills, but to help keep me on important task. I’ve done that (and now my plan with me videos reflect me) but I can still get caught up in the “but hers looks so pretty” self talk. Remove it. No one needs to see or use your planner but you. Share photos of the weeks you love if you’d like to, but there’s no rule saying you have to share any photos, or let anyone see in side your planner.
Ok, I know we just discussed how important it is to remove the grass is greener idea when using a planner but sometimes, in order to break the page, you just need a little inspiration. Load up your favorite planner pinterest board or dig out your phone and follow the #plannerlayout hashtag on Instagram for a quick drink of inspiration – but don’t let yourself get caught up in the comparison game.
Out of Routine
Have you ever opened your planner on a Tuesday to find that you haven’t written a single thing down for that week? At this point, I usually just want to bag the whole idea of planning. Something in my being says “if you can’t start on Monday/have a full week planned, why bother!?” Just write something. It doesn’t matter what day you start your planning for the week, just stop right where you are and put ink to paper. If the previous blank days in the week bother you, it’s easy to quickly back plan those days (document what happened).
I’ve had far fewer blank planner weeks since I bought in to the “just write something” idea – no matter which of these four categories I’m falling under that week, if I just sit down and write something in my planner, the week comes together and I stay on task.