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I’ll be honest, I haven’t always been a planner. But now that I am balancing freelancing, blogging, college, and home life it has become a necessity. In addition, I am very forgetful due to my disabilities and medication I have to take. So having a place where I can look and see my plan and everything I need to do and check it off is very satisfying and a way to keep me organized. I NEED a planner. Perhaps you don’t have as many reasons as I do, but you could still benefit as a blogger or freelancer from having a planner.
Be consistent and write out your plan daily.
One thing you really must do to have success using your planner is to be consistent. I write in my planner every.single.day. There aren’t any skipping days for me. I need my plan to show me what I have to get done for both short and long-term goals. Keep it at your desk or in your purse, and use it every time you need to keep track of something.
Use your favorite writing instrument.
Using your favorite pen or in my case, a mechanical pencil may seem trivial. I think it helps me stay consistent to keep one right next to my planner on my desk. You never want to be searching the house for a pen or pencil when you need to jot something down quickly, or even plan your month.
Create a system.
The ideal planner will help you plan your year, month, week, and day. You’ll want to have a system for how you do this. For me, I budget in my calendar for bills for next month towards the end of the current month. I’m not that strict about planning my week. Towards the end of the week, it is clear there will be carried over and I plot that in. Often though, I use a daily to-do list in my Recollections Planner from Michael’s with a verticle layout. (Not an affiliate just love my planner.)
Plan work and life.
If you are seeing some success with planning things ahead of time, make sure to plot in breaks and relaxation time too. There won’t be much of that for me when the end of August comes and I go back to school. But I will try to do my best to fit it in for my own sanity.
Stick to one or two major goals for the day.
Again, it depends on how busy you are, but in general, you should have one or two “have to's” in your schedule each day. I typically plan more than I can do in case I have extra time, but have the things lined up that I must accomplish.
Refer back to it often.
I check my planner all the time throughout the day, and marking things off as completed is very satisfying and lets me know I’m getting things done and getting closer to reaching my goals. If you refer to it frequently you won’t forget to use it and you will stay consistent.
Budget accordingly for your planner purchase (don’t be cheap.)
In my opinion, you should have one planner and make it your master plan. This might mean you need to spend a bit more on a planner to meet your needs. Like I said before I use the Recollections Planner but you may be interested in checking out Erin Condren Deluxe Monthly Planner. For blogging, I also was using EPIC BLOG: One Year Editorial Planner. Now I’m just doing everything in one planner. If you like to have multiple planners, that’s certainly your choice. As someone with chronic illness, I can really only handle one planner at a time.
Keep it clean and organized.
Try to keep it neat and in relatively good shape if you can. My parrot Sophia loves to shred paper and she really likes to sneakily chew on my planner but so far I’ve mostly stopped her from doing that, ha. One thing that I love about using my mechanical pencil is that I can erase things. Sometimes my planner gets overflowed with bills and important mail and I need to organize it. Do what you can to keep your planner organized. It is literally the playbook for your life.