Let’s get physical: why you need a physical planner

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Confession time: I have always been in love with office supplies. Ever since I was a little girl I have gotten a cocaine-like rush upon entering a Staples or Office Max. The idea of being a person who had it all together and could use everything in the store to its maximum potential has always appealed to me. So you can imagine my surprise when as an adult I was anything but organized.

It hit me one day when once again I was running late to an appointment because I had completely forgotten about it. That was it! It was time to get a planner. Unlike so many times before, I was committed to actually using the planner this time. And yet once again I failed.

20190514_201108-01.jpegIt wasn’t until a year later when I actually began using a planner for the first time. I decided to use the Clever Fox Planner, an undated planner with plenty of spaces to explore. This planner is great for anyone who isn’t sure how they want to utilize the planner.
It has plenty of note-taking space for anyone that wants to utilize that function and lots of space to grow into your own style of planning. At this point, I can’t even understand how I survived so long without a planner. I even have a second planner because, well, it does different things. I am also an avid user of the Bossed Up Life Tracker Planner. This is a great planner for anyone who is more interested in using a planner in their daily lives to really achieve goals.

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So if anyone out there is still wondering why you need a planner, let me tell you the benefits that I have noticed in my life.

You get to set the Limits

So one of the best parts of having a physical planner is that it limits your ability to write down events and goals. You simply cannot go beyond the limits of the page. The space that is what you have to work with and you must prioritize what really matters.

Before committing to a physical planner, I found myself falling into the trap of overpromising and underdelivering. Unable to keep track of everything I found that I would over commit to others and had no time for myself. I was stretched too thin.

By focusing on what I could fit on the allotted pages I allowed myself to see time as a limited resource that I needed to distribute thoughtfully. I found myself saying no to things that I had never really wanted to do as I no longer needed an excuse: I legitimately didn’t have the time for it.

It became obvious when I wasn’t planning enough time for myself or my relationships. When everything is down on paper it’s a lot harder to lie to yourself about how you are spending your time.

Your Stress Level Goes Down

A large cause of stress for people is having an abundance of things happening in your head. Having a place to write down all that you need to accomplish in a given day, week or month truly allows for a huge mental load to be lifted off you. Instead of remembering that your car is due for an oil change every time you get into your car and instantly forgetting about the moment you step out of it, a planner helps you keep track of the small things that need to get done.

By freeing up the mental space of no longer having to remember to do something (cuz your planner got your back) you are more able to focus on the bigger picture of what really matters.

You’re more likely to REMEMBER Sh*t

You may have gotten to this point and are thinking: did she forget that phones and other electronics exist? Like seriously, get into this century. While I use my phone and other electronics to help plan my time, there is something to be said for using a physical planner. Most people do not write as fast as they type and certainly do not write as fast as they think. By slowing down to write something down your brain is more able to process what is involved in getting something done. Another added benefit is that you will actually remember to do things.

The brain is more able to make connections and memories when it is tied to something else. For example, you walk into a room and forget why you went even there. This is a pretty common phenomenon because the memory of what you need is tied to the physical location of where you were.

When you connect a physical action with the thoughts in your brain, you are more likely to remember it. Your brain is forced to process the information that you actually want to interact with rather than just dumping everything into the page.

You get to set the rules

Okay, so you’re still on the fence about using a physical planner. I mean come on, who can create a Pinterest worthy bullet journal? Well, that’s the beauty of physical planners. There are no rules.

There are many planners out there and the two I mentioned before are just the ones that have worked for me. At the end of the day, it’s about making sure you accomplish the goals you want to without anyone judging how you got there. You can make your planner fit your lifestyle. There are monthly, weekly, and daily planners out there to fit your needs. There are planners out there like the Bossed Up planner that help you keep track of your overall goals or planners like the Clever Fox planner that helps you track daily habits more easily.

You can buy a notebook instead of a structured planner and just fill out how you wish. You can use one of the thousands of printables available on Pinterest to fit your unique needs. At the end of the day, a planner is an amazing tool, but it only works if you are on board with the type of planning you are getting into.

My final piece of advice as you embark on your planning journey is to give it a real shot. Try using it for a couple months before deciding it’s just not for you. It is hard to develop the planning habit, but once you do you find that time seems to magically appear simply because you are now paying attention instead of letting it pass you by.

What are your thoughts on using planners?

© Mary Ann Linares

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