How to Keep Your Planner From Gathering Dust

A new year or a new season in your life begins and you decide that you need a planner to help you stay on track. You spend time choosing or making the right one. The excitement builds as you finally feel like you’re gaining control of your time. Time goes on and before you know it that planner is gathering dust on your desk. It’s been at least a week since you last looked at it, if not longer. Sound familiar? Don’t worry, I’ve got some ideas to help keep your planner dust free and working for you!

Here are some tips to help you get the most from your planner.

Keep your planner dust free and working hard with these quick tips.
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Planners are a fantastic tool for organizing your time, your projects, and keeping you on track. Whatever your time or life management needs, chances are there is a planner or planning system out there to fit them (here is one I’m using ). So why is it, that despite our best intentions, often times our planners end up sitting on a shelf collecting dust and doing absolutely nothing to help us? Most times it’s just a matter of making a few tweaks and changes to really get your planner or planning system working for you.

Make Your Planner Work For You

We all have our own way of doing things, and planning is no exception to that rule. Finding a planner or planning system that works the way you need it to can be tricky. It takes a little trial an error, but there are ways to get the most out of your planner. I’ve collected a few suggestions to help you keep your planner from gathering dust and turn it into the powerhouse productivity tool you need it to be.

Don’t be Afraid to Try Something New

Don’t be afraid to mix things up. As your planning needs change, you might need to try something new. Maybe a weekly planner just isn’t cutting it for you. Perhaps you need some additional planning pages to help stay on top of everything.

Free printables are a great way to test the waters with new layouts and formats.  Print out just enough for a week or two and take them for a test run. You can find a variety of printables here in the Free Printable Index or on the Printables Pages.  I also have a Pinterest board full of planner printables that you can check out for even more ideas.

Go Digital

If you’re more of a digital person than a pen and paper system, make use of the many apps and programs that are out there to help you plan your days.  

Personally, I use very few apps for planning purposes. I love Trello for mapping out ideas and planning bigger projects, but for the most part, I’m a pen and paper girl. To better help you digital planners out there, I went on a hunt for ideas for digital planning and came across this video by Laura from How to GYST.  

In the video she discusses the apps and programs she uses for her planning purposes and she uses them all together. It’s worth checking out to get some ideas.

Simplify Wherever Possible

When it comes to your planning process, keep it as simple as you can.  If it’s too complicated to use you might end putting your planning system on a shelf where it gathers dust.  I’m guilty of making my planning system more complicated than it needs to be, all in the name of making it more ‘organized’.  To avoid making the same mistake I did, make sure you’re organizing your information so that finding it and using is efficient and easy to do from wherever you need to plan. For example, if you like to colour code your tasks but most of your planning happens when you’re away from your home or office, make sure you choose colours you keep with you or use highlighters so you can go back and quickly highlight any new items you added. Also, don’t feel like you need a hundred sections in your planner.  Pick what you actually need and will use, anything else is just taking up space.

Make it Yours

If you’ve ever looked up planners on Instagram or Pinterest, you’ve probably seen the plethora of images that show these beautiful planners that look almost like works of art.  Planners are no longer confined only to the realm of productivity tools. They’ve become a hobby for many people, and there are now a ton of different ways to decorate your planner to make it reflect who you are.  

I personally love adding in my own dividers, blending pretty and function. I also like to add stickers to my weekly planning to make it a little more fun to plan and to look at. You can take this as far you would like too.  If making your planner unique to you will help make you want to use it more, then by all means, go for it. Just keep in mind the previous tip – start out simple and work your way up from there.

This also leads to my final tip …

Use Your Planner

Yeah, I know this one seems obvious, but do you know how often people will spend the time to set up their planner, plan out their week, and then not look at it again until the following week?  I know I’m guilty of this often. A planner or planning system only works if we use it. They can be a powerful tool, but they’re not a magic fix all. We still need to check in with them on a daily basis at the very least. If not, then they’ve just become a dumping ground for the things we want to do, not a tool to help keep us on track.

There is no right or wrong way to build a planning system.  The key is to build one that works for you!

Planners are no longer the boring, time slotted, agendas they used to be.  More and more people are embracing the idea of a planner or a planning system as a way to keep their lives more organized and to help make time for the things that really matter to them.  My hope is that some of these tips help you to get the most out of your planner so that you can spend less time planning and more time doing.

Did any of these tips jump out at you as being helpful?  Drop me a line in the comments below and share your thoughts and any tips you have for how you get the most out of your planner.

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  1. I used a planner way back (haha, that makes me sound so old) when I was in college but haven’t in years. For this year, I almost put together a planner but decided that I just wouldn’t keep up with that (maybe one year) so instead I bought a Clever Fox Planner. It’s undated so if I DO miss a month or whatnot, I am not left at the end of the year with a half-filled planner. I love it. It’s focused on building habits and meeting goals – exactly what I would have been putting together for myself! (sorry, i realize this sounds like an ad for the planner…)

    1. ScatteredSquirrel says:

      That sounds awesome! I checked out the Clever Fox planner when I was looking for my planner for this year and I really like their layouts. I love the undated option, especially if you’re not sure you’re going to use it every month. Sometimes we just don’t need a planner for what we have going on. I can’t wait to hear how it works out for you.

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