If you’re close to me you know I’m a planner. I try to plan everything out because there is absolutely nothing worse than being caught off guard with the unexpected. I actually think if you did some neuroimaging on my brain it would just come back as a blob covered in neon post-it notes. I’m constantly struggling to balance school, work, interning, horse momming, and oh I don’t know, the 30 other things I’m responsible for keeping track of. You all feel me here. We are scheduled to the max and keeping track of it all can be exhausting. Have no fear though, because your girl has your back on this one.
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First things first, let’s chat about managing life with a planner. My planner is the heart and soul behind every action I do. The first thing my planner does for me is schedule events. Duh. That’s what a planner is for. On Sunday I spend time adding next week’s events and to-dos on the weekly pages and the main calendar page. However, if you want to manage your time even better I highly suggest using categories or color coding for these events. The current planner that I use is by Plum Paper. You can check out Plum Paper here. My planner has categories for each aspect of my life that I need to keep track of. I have a personal, work, class, Scarlet (that’s my mare), meals, and a home category. I write in what ever I need to know about that category in the corresponding day. You don’t need fancy pre-printed categories to organize a planner this way, different colored markers, pens, or highlighters are perfect for this. The categories or color coding makes it easy to take a look at the week and see where your priorities should be. It also allows you to see what sections of your life are going to need the most attention.
The second thing I use my planner for is goal setting. Again, my planner has a page that is dedicated to this but you can set goals anywhere. In the margins, on the notes pages, on a post-it in the planner, the places are endless. I set goals for the month and make sure that at least one is a goal a goal that I am positive I will meet. Setting goals is hard especially when you like to set the bar exponentially high for yourself. Setting one simple or easy to accomplish goal will boost your confidence and make you feel like you can manage this crazy thing called life.
The third thing I use my planner for is for is daily affirmations and setting intentions. I have one (long) affirmation that I say every morning, well most mornings. Some mornings are just plain hard. I guess it’s more of a morning prayer but I use it to affirm myself. I linked it here if your curious or need a starting place for doing affirmations. I also write daily intentions into my planner. I’ll admit this one is hard to keep up with, but writing down an intention for the day has been so helpful in reminding me of what is actually important when I’m caught up in the small details of the day. I simply write my intentions anywhere on the corresponding day of the week and peek back at it if I’m feeling overwhelmed. It’s a small thing but I promise it’s helpful, even amid chaos.
Using a planner has been a life saver and is the number one way that I keep every aspect of my life in check. As a side note, when I’m working as a counseling intern my process is a little different. I use Google Calendar to outline scheduling specifics. There is literally so much going on with my schedule that I can’t fit it into my planner. Having notifications of groups, student meetings, department meetings, IEP’s, etc. pop up on my phone and computer is most efficient for me. Keep that in mind when you’re getting a handle on all your “things”, you might need to use a few different planning applications and that’s okay. You can manage anything that life throws at you, if you face it with a positive attitude and a planner.