Before we answer this question, let's answer another one. Do I really need a planner? The answer is actually not an easy one. The short answer it yes, you do need a planner or planning system. But the reality is that you already have one, whether you realize it or not. You either jot appointments down on scratch paper in your purse, use a paper planner, enter things into your phone or keep it all in your head. Somehow, you are juggling all of the balls that make up your busy life.
The real question is, do I need a BETTER planning system?
Everyone can agree that it's not very difficult for our schedules to spin out of control. Believe me, I've been there. And in all honesty, there are times when I'm still there, despite my current planner obsession. I still miss deadlines or panic because I remember things at the last minute. But when that happens now, it's because I haven't used my system correctly, and that often means it needs to be tweaked. Understanding some of the Planner Personalities and figuring out which one fits best is important to finding the most efficient way to plan.
The secret to successful planning and organization is to find a method that works for you. It may mean using more than one method at the same time, or it may involve simplifying your current system. You also may need to be open to starting a new way of planning in the middle of the year (gasp). And it may be as simple as avoiding the lure of shiny new things and sticking with what you know has worked in the past.
If you are on the go, there is an audio version of this post you can feel free to download and listen to.
And it probably means figuring out which kind of Planner you really are. Let's look at some different types of Planner Girls and their Planner Personalities.
1. Spread the Love Planner. The More the Merrier.
This Planner girl has multiple planners going all at once… and she knows how to use them. There are many, many women who do this successfully. And I can see the appeal. For one thing, this awesome woman doesn't have to actually commit to ONE planner because she can divide and conquer. She will often have an “on the go” planner that is smaller, stays with her throughout the day and allows her to easily to jot things down as they come up. She will also have at least one larger paper planner that stays at home. These are usually more detailed and sit on her desk or on her bedside table.
The Free Planner Love gal may have a Meal Planner, a Fitness Planner, a Bible Study planner and a School Planner in addition to her main family planners. She may even have a Blog Planner, a Financial Planner, a Holiday Planner and/or an Event Planner (for that wedding, baby or big celebration coming).
I love the idea of multiple planners and I love the gal who can successfully pull it off. Sadly, I'm not that gal, although it is NOT from a lack of trying. I find that if I have too many planners to juggle, I put off looking at any of them. The overwhelm is real. I still have high hopes for being able to become a Multi Planner Planning Chick one day, so my hats off to those of you who are awesome at this.
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2. High Tech All the Way Planner
This is the woman who is all about her Google Calendar or iCal. She is diligent about putting her engagements on her phone and shares her calendars with her husband and teenage kids. She and her man are happily aware of each others' schedule and there are very few scheduling surprises (because the High Tech Planner has trained that man well).
This woman keeps her calendar on the first page of her phone and it lives in a permanent tab on her computer. Oh, and she can totally add dates to her calendar from her e-mail account with a touch of the mouse. Bonus.
I love this gal and if I'm totally honest, my husband wishes I was this gal. But alas, I'm a very pen-and-paper kind of person when it comes to my planning. I am currently in a love-hate relationship with a certain Project Management System (Trello) however, so maybe he'll get his wish of knowing what I'm up to in advance after all. Maybe.
3. The Bullet Journal Planner
Wow. The Bullet Journal. It's described as the “analog system for the digital age”. And it looks fun. And somewhat complicated. The Bullet Journaler loves lists. And she loves things orderly. And she knows how to write small and neat. She loves symbols and codes and feels a little bit like a super spy when she plans. OK, I'm sort of making all of this up because this is the one method I am listing here that I haven't actually tried in earnest. I researched it but didn't have the extra mental space to give it a legitimate effort.
There are some cool resources from Amazon to get you started if you want to try it.
Yay for the Bullet Journal Planner. I've seen it work for many women and I cheer you on!
4. The List Maker
This is the gal who has has a pad or journal sitting by her computer, another in her car and yet another in her purse… all ready to handle any list item she can think of. And she loves marking things off that list. I will admit that I have a good bit of this in me. I adore making lists and sometimes I'll even add things to my list that I've already done just so I can check them off. Yes, I did just admit that.
This planning personality may or may not worry about putting dates or times on her items, but she can somehow always know which things need to take priority. She may have other more organized planners but the small notepads, sticky sheets and bits of paper are the mainstays of her planning system.
5. The One Paper Planner Woman
This woman has found a planner for the year, and by golly, she is sticking with it. One and only one. She is all about the simple, although the planner she chooses may be very pretty. She has a favorite brand but is open to trying another. Next year. She usually knows if she prefers ring bound or spiral bound. She will not have a stack of ten planners on her desk competing for her time and energy.
That planner will travel with her and she always knows where it is. She is focused and will use her one planner well.
6. The Life Management Planner
This awesome gal is usually printing her planner out and putting it in a 3-ring binder. She will add sections to it to make it a complete home management system and is not above adding things she feels will be helpful throughout the year. There is a section for passwords and one for her shopping lists. There is a section for budget and one for prayer. They are all tabbed and labeled and usually colorful.
She flips around like a champ and although things may not be completely chronological, they make sense to her. She is master of her schedule and the whole family can reference this binder for just about anything they need.
7. The Creative Planner
For this Planner Personality, it's not about the actual planner. It's about the art in the planner. Stickers, doodles, tip-ins and colored pens – these are the things that make this gal happy. It's not really about the doctor's appointment, but about the adorable stethoscope icon she draws in the little box next to the time. The kids are often color coded and her planner is stuffed full of ephemera, cards and tickets by the end of the year.
This gal may even make her own planner instead of purchasing one. She will use the JOURNAL IN 7 COURSE to create a gorgeous, original planner that will make all of her friends jealous.
Her planner is part scrapbook and part work of art. And it sometimes even keeps her on schedule.
8. The Hybrid Planner
This Planner Girl uses a combination of these techniques and although it may take her a while to figure the correct combination for her life, she manages to get it organized and does it well. Paper, electronic, lists and creative. She can make it work for her. The trick here is that this Planner is probably more organized by nature so can keep up with her different systems well. She may still miss things, but the joy she derives from integrating all of her systems outweighs it.
You can never tell where she will put her appointment reminder… in the paper planner, on her phone or on the sticky note. Somehow, it works.
So, which Planner Personality best describes you? And what are you going to do about it?
As we live our busy lives, let's get down to business and plan them in creative and organized ways.