Decorative planning doesn’t mean your planner can’t also be functional. I love stickers and washi tape, but my favorite thing about my Happy Planner™ is how it makes my life easier and more productive.
If you feel like you’re choosing between stickers and plans, here are a few tips for making your planner more productive.
- Figure out what tasks you need to plan. Your planner will work best if you’re tracking the things that matter most in your life. These things will be different for everyone, so if you’re not sure what things you should plan, this list of 40+ things to track in your planner can help you get started.
- Use note pages. One of my favorite things about the Happy Planner™ is the ability to easily add and remove note pages. These extra pages are awesome for making lists and keeping track of ongoing things.
Some examples of things I use note pages for: Passwords, previous addresses, budgeting, shopping lists and restaurants I love.
- Set goals. Keep a list of your goals in your planner and reference it when you’re planning. Having your big goals in mind while you’re making your plans will help you make them happen.
Tip: I make a list of yearly goals that I look at while I’m making monthly plans. I look at the monthly plans while I’m planning my week. Breaking big goals down makes them feel more attainable.
- Keep track of things you do every day. Sometimes it’s difficult to keep track of repetitive tasks. List the repetitive task(s) in your weekly notes sidebar, and draw a checkbox for the seven days of the week. Check the task off as you complete it each day.
Tip: This planning method also works with things you do multiple times a day. Draw eight checkboxes at the bottom of your day, and check one box each time you drink a glass of water.
- Use sticky notes for things that aren’t certain. If a plan or project isn’t set in stone, I write it on a sticky note. If it doesn’t happen, I throw the sticky note away and it’s like it was never in my planner.
- Stop the pursuit of busy! Prioritize and embrace white space. Don’t feel like every inch of your planner has to be covered with plans. If you have a blank spot on your to-do list one day, leave it blank. Don’t feel bad about penciling in coffee breaks, or extended lunches. You’ll be more productive when you’re working, if you also give yourself permission to rest.
- Join the community. There’s a very active Happy Planner™ community on Facebook and Instagram. There are plenty of layout photos if you’re needing inspiration. If you have a question or need advice, there are tons of people who are more than willing to help you out. Plus, #plannerfriendsmakethebestfriends!
- Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. As fun as the planner community is, I see so many people asking if it’s ok to write something in their planner. It’s your planner, and you’ll like it more if it works for you. You do you, friend.
- Look at your Happy Planner™ at least once a day. This is obvious, but it doesn’t matter how much you’ve written in your planner if you don’t look at it. I like to keep my planner open on my desk, because that’s where I spend the most time. If you don’t have a desk job, keep your planner somewhere convenient, like on your dresser or the kitchen counter.
- Include a mix of fun and productive plans. I look at my planner more when there’s something I’m looking forward to. It’s my way of reminding myself what I get to do when I finish working.
For more planning tips, check out Happy Planners™ 101.