6 Methods on How to Use a Planner After You’ve Given Up and Thrown Away the One You Had

6 Methods on How to Use a Planner After You’ve Given Up and Thrown Away the One You Had

Get a planner is the organizers’ anthem on how to stay organized.

But somehow this simple solution did not work for you.

You picked one that looked good to you or you got one as a gift. And you really committed to getting your act together with it.

Try as you may, it only became another piece of clutter in your house and, next thing you know, you’re basically over it.

You put a few alarms and calendar events in your phone and decided that you will just muddle through your other chaos as usual.

This does not have to be your life. You can learn how to plan effectively and how to use a planner effectively. But the key is to learn instead of picking up a random planner and believing it will work like magic for you.

Throw away that planner that never worked anyway. And read these tips on how to use a planner when starting fresh:

#1 DECIDE: What parts of your life require documented organization?

A planner specifically is a tool structured for documentation.

In order to be an effective tool, your planner must serve you well to document the parts of your life that are unorganized and that you want to make organized.

If your planner does not solve this fundamental problem, you likely will not use it, or at least not well.

A common planner will include a calendar and space for monthly, weekly, and daily goals.

This structure can be applied to almost anything, from your broad daily life to a specific subject, such as your formal studies, extra-curricular activities, or travel.

Alternatively, you may choose to select a planner for a specific project or subject.

how to use a planner

Planners exist for things like weddings, event planning, childcare and entertainment, or work.  

These types of specialty planners may include special lists and prompts to trigger more extensive thought on the subject(s).   

Because of their customized structure, specialty planners can be of particular help because they are perfectly suited for the task at hand with minimal need for adjustments.

No matter what planner you choose, decide first on what your ultimate goal is for its use. 

This should occur well before purchase, download, or installation.

Or you likely will have one more piece of clutter lending to your disorganization.

Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now

alan lakein

#2 CHOOSE: What planner style is your style?

You may think that it is a minor point, but a planner that matches your style compliments you more than just in its look.

The most common issue people have when starting to plan is that they do not use their planner.  That said, any additional incentive that you can use to keep your planner in mind is worth consideration.

Planners come in all types of materials, colors, and sizes. 

Even the weight of a planner will have an impact on whether or not you will carry it with you everywhere you go or only use it when sitting at your desk. 

Consider that style will affect whether or not you:

  • Use it at work due to its formality or lack of formality
  • Carry it with you because of its size
  • Open it or store things in it regularly because of its durability
  • Use pen, pencil, or marker in it because of its pages, and more

It may seem like a lot of detail to put into a planner selection. 

But in reality, any and all of these components can lead to a planner being ineffective or simply unused.

Before committing to a particular planner, it is worth considering your style and the planner that will match it.

Strategic planning is worthless – unless there is first a strategic vision


#3 COMMIT: Do you have a plan on how to use a planner regularly?

Another consideration in your planner selection and process is when you will use your planner. 

No matter if your planner is meant for daily use or regular use on special occasion, you want to ensure that you use it every time it is needed.

Your planner should be stationed wherever you have any other materials related to your organization of the subject.

how to use a planner for beginners

If your planner is for daily use, then you may want to have it at your desk, in your workbag or purse, or on your nightstand.

For infrequent but specialty use, your planner storage may simply be a special drawer or shelf in your home or office.

The critical point is that the location lends to remembering the planner’s presence and encourages its use.  And most importantly you are committed to both remembering and using it when you need to so that you stay organized.

A good rule of thumb is to keep a regular schedule related to using your planner, reviewing its contents, and updating its content. 

Same times and same places tend to get the routine engrained in your life well.

Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort

paul j. meyer

#4 SET-UP: Do you have a place to plan?

In addition to storing your planner for use, you should also create a space conducive to planning.

Yes, it actually matters. 

Planning in a space that is full of chaos, clutter, and distraction will likely lead to a poor process of creating order. 

This does not mean that your space needs to be flawless, but it should be organized enough so that your mind is not pulled from your task of planning.

To use a planner effectively, you want to attempt to record as much detail as is valuable on the subject you intend to keep organized. 

Distractions that lead to interrupted thought and inconsistent documenting will likely lead to an ineffective planning process.

Location, location, location is everything for a reason and it even applies to creating an effective planning process.

Plan for what it is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small

sun tzu

#5 DOCUMENT: Are your top priorities going into your planner?

To feel in better control of your life, you may be drawn to the idea of documenting every little detail in your planner.

If you have time to do this and it serves you well, then document, document, document.

However, more often than not, the practice of over-documenting leads to a labor-intensive process. 

This then leads to an inconsistent practice in what you record or a total lack of use of your planner altogether.

It may sound fun to use every piece and part of what your planner has to offer. 

Or you may be called to utilize every suggestion you have heard regarding planning. 

In reality, less is more. 

Choose the most critical priorities and the most frequently missed details and ensure you have a plan around keeping on top of them. 

You can then decide if you have time or room for anything else.

Be a selective sifter of all the data you take in every day and try not to clutter the very tool that is meant to keep you organized.

If you are putting anything more in your planner than what you had planned to record when you bought it, then you should seriously consider if it really needs to be documented at all.

The more time you spend contemplating what you should have done… you lose valuable time planning what you can and will do

lil wayne

#6 EVALUATE: Before you throw out another one, do you know how to use a planner effectively?

A planner is effective when you say it is.  No other input is more valuable than your own.

It is important to be honest with yourself. however, and determine if the planner is faulty or if it is user error. 

Did you purchase the right planner for your needs?

Are you using the planner regularly?

Evaluate the tips in this post and see if you may need to reassess your effective planning strategy. 

You may need to pick another tool or method to master your planning.

Also, consider if a planner is really the best method to solve your organization problems. 

While planners are a common solution suggested by many, they do not work for everyone.

Bottomline, do not force the process. 

If you have set yourself up well, selected well, and put an honest effort into regular use of your planner and still do not see results, it may be time for a totally new solution.

But if the planner has helped even in small ways, you may want to adjust for improvement where you can and keep moving forward.

Effective planning is definitely a circumstance where practice can make perfection in a planning process meaningful to you.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail

benjamin franklin


Not everyone knows exactly how to use a planner even when they already have one.

The process may not be as simple as it looks. Before you decide that a planner will solve all of your organizing needs, take time to consider what specific needs you have.

Commit to the right planner, the right space, and even the right times to use your planner. And then embark on the journey to see if your decisions actually worked. With the right success plan in place, you may find that using a planner is a whole lot more effective than you originally thought.

Looking for more tools to make your life feel a little more balanced, subscribe to our newsletter today!

And if you have any suggestions for using a planner effectively, please share them in the Comments section below.

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7 Things You Should NEVER Do If You Actually Want a Good Morning Routine

7 Things You Should NEVER Do If You Actually Want a Good Morning Routine

A good start of the day morning routine is worth your weight in gold if you can find one and keep it.

Problem is that there are so many choices, recommendations for best practice, and just so much to do. And taking in all that data can be completely overwhelming.

If you want to start a new morning routine and get the most out of it you may want to take a different direction.

Instead of trying to see what you can add to your morning, it may be time to look at what you can eliminate.

Some things you should actually NEVER DO!

If you can stop even one bad morning habit that you have and turn it around for the better, you may see that your morning routine was already in a pretty good place.

You just need the right tweak to make it a great morning routine.

Take a look at this list of morning routine no-no’s and start your day better:

Please note that this post contains affiliate or referral links where I receive a commission should you make a purchase from the vendor. This does not result in any increased cost to you as the consumer.

1. Stop Starving Yourself

Not every person is hungry in the morning. 

Many people will intentionally fast for a certain number of hours before they take their first meal of the day.

You may have heard the word breakfast interpreted as “break fast” or a means of breaking the fasting period from one meal to the next.

That said, a “morning” meal is not critical to health, energy, or a good routine. But the importance of breakfast is well established.  

Eating when your body requires it and eating well helps to improve your cognitive abilities, maintain your physical health, and boost your energy. 

These are all key components that will contribute to you having a productively good day.

Your morning meal may not happen as soon as you wake up. 

But be sure to prepare and have food available for whenever your first meal of the day should occur for you.

If you are looking to be both quick and healthy, then you may want to explore on-the-go snacks or frozen meals that you can heat up and then keep running. Thrive Market is an online food market that offers tons of healthy, organic, sustainable food options for all types of diets like Paleo, Vegan, Keto and more.

You don’ have to be on a speciality diet to enjoy their food, but it does give you a much better option than poor quality food or no food at all! Use my link for a discount to check them out first-hand.

No matter what you decide is the right meal for you, eating right is the best option for you. Starving yourself regularly can lead to fatigue, decreased mental clarity, and making poor food choices just to get by. 

So it’s best not to make no food a practice if you want a good morning routine.

2. Don’t Move Before Your Body is Actually Ready to Move

Being stiff and sluggish in your movement after sleeping can happen to anybody.

But not every body can just spring into motion when in this condition.

If you sense that your body really rejects taking on your weight as you rise from bed or is particularly achy while you walk to the bathroom, maybe it’s time to consider other options.

Morning stretching or even a morning yoga routine can go a long way to support the start of your day. 

And it doesn’t have to take more than 5 or 10 minutes in your schedule.

Allowing your muscles to wake up and building flexibility in your joints, just makes movement better.

A good morning routine is likely better with a good stretching routine.

3. Stop Trying to Multi-Task

Multi-tasking, or the art of fooling yourself into thinking that you are doing many things simultaneously, can prove to be a bad habit any time of day.

After you first wake up, it’s even more of a fool’s game.

Your brain does have the capacity to transition focus rapidly and even to set certain tasks to an almost auto-pilot state. 

However, the more things that you give your attention, the less attention any one thing gets.

This equates to a lot of movement AND a lot of poor execution.

Make a habit of eliminating as many tasks as possible out of your morning. 

Keep your start of day super simple.

Instead of starting a brand new practice of meditating, yoga, journaling, walking, AND making smoothies, try 1 new thing and keep everything else the same.

Doing too many things and doing too many things at once, can be the absolute opposite of a good morning routine.

4. Stop Doing Things That Make You Lose Track of Time

Time is precious, particularly in the morning.

The last thing that you would want to do is to lose the precious time that you have.

However, there are tons of things that can easily get you distracted.  And they change depending on who you are and where your interests lie. 

Examine and then eliminate your time killers in the morning.  It could be cellphone alerts, your work email, the morning news, or even your kids’ cartoons. 

Before you know it you have become so engrossed in this one thing (or several) that you no longer have time for what’s truly important.

Rushing, running, and scrambling are all components of a terrible morning and an unproductive start to your day.

A good morning routine gives time to the tasks that are key to starting off your day well in a seamless, organized way.

5. Stop Prepping EVERYTHING in the Morning

Another time killer is attempting to prep everything that you need in the morning actually in the morning.

Now, morning prep can happen if you have put the time in your schedule to accommodate this. However, you are also taking the risk that your plan is executed flawlessly every day.

The mother of a family should look upon her housekeeping and the planning of meals as a scientific occupation.

eleanor roosevelt

An alternative option for heavy morning prepping is to plan in advance. 

This does not have to only occur the night before, though this is at least a start.

Clothes can be ironed days in advance, hung, and ready for whenever you want to wear them. Meals can be prepped ahead and placed in the fridge, frozen for reheating, or entail a bowl of grab-and-go fruit and healthy snacks.

School bags and work bags can be packed and readied on a Friday night and left in a ready-to-go space until Monday.

You can even make a morning routine toiletry caddy with your full-body prepping materials. 

Basic items like toothpaste may not need special attention.  But think of things that somehow get lost that you can’t afford to lose like deodorant, lotion, hair ties, or even your favorite perfume.

Make your morning routine seamless by prepping ahead for your day or your week and feel more in control of your mornings.

6. Stop Thinking You Can Muscle Through Too Little Sleep

Sleep is an important part of your morning routine. Most time you don’t even want to start your morning without it.

Alarms, kids, and pets aside, ideally you want to wake up all on your own, refreshed and ready to start the day.

Build a sleep routine the night before that is meant to support your morning routine. Being well rested makes the simple task of getting out of bed easier. 

It can also provide you with a more optimistic outlook on your day instead of regretting having to leave your bed.

Even if you have reasons outside of your control such as your own health condition or a sick wakeful child that disrupts your sleeping pattern, take ownership of exploring ways to improve your sleeping ritual.

You want to be your best for yourself and for anyone else that you support in your life. 

Start your morning routine with great momentum towards your goals by building a solid sleep routine.

7. Stop Losing Your Essentials

Does your morning start with a full house overhaul searching for your keys?

Did you somehow miss your first morning meeting because you spent 30 minutes searching for your child’s homework before you left the house?

Not only do you lose time but you can slowly start losing your mind when missing critical pieces are a part of your morning routine.

Likely every other suggestion in this post can assist with rectifying this issue.

But even if you do nothing else, take 5 minutes to consider all the things you may have misplaced, lost, or even accidentally destroyed in the last month and vow to never have it happen again.

Special things, important things, critical things all deserve a home.

                        Special things, important things, critical things all deserve a home!

Decide ONE place for important things to go and ensure anything labeled as “important” gets put there immediately.

This action accomplishes two things:

1) you know where to put the important things and

2) you know where to look for important things. 

When you are first building this practice, put an important thing that you don’t regularly lose in the special spot. This will train your brain to use the “important things” location all the time. 

If you plan on having many things, big and small, or everyone in the house’s things in one spot, make sure your location can easily accommodate necessary space needs.

But don’t make 100 different places! 

Only ONE place and only ONE process:  All Important Things GO HERE!

Create an Important Things space in your home and eliminate the morning frenzy from your morning routine.


There are many things that you can do to create a good morning routine, but sometimes it’s easier to stop doing a thing.

Streamline your morning routine by reducing unnecessary actions, prepping what you can, and catering to your body so it is ready for your day ahead.

The big goal is to do less and focus on the most critical objectives that start off your day the best.

Your morning routine is important so eliminate anything that isn’t important and elevate your day.

Looking for more ways to make life feel a little more in balance, Subscribe for our newsletter today! Have you discovered the key to your sanity but eliminating something from your morning?? Share it in the Comments section. We all can use a new idea to have a good morning routine!

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