How I Use My Digital Planner

Let's be honest.  I sort of have the memory of a goldfish.  Unless the subject in question is useless song lyrics from the 80's or my sixth grade phone number you can pretty much guarantee that I won't remember it unless I write it down.

Enter the planner.  

With my planner the only thing I have to remember each day is to check it repeatedly.  Which I do, obsessively, because I'm always afraid I'm forgetting something.  People ask me all the time "How are you so organized?" and "How do you manage to do so many things at once?".  The quick answer is that I don't have a choice.  If I want to be a functioning person then I absolutely have to use a planner.  

So how do I use my planner?  First things first - recurring events (birthdays, teacher conferences, laundry, bills, etc) are copy-pasted onto each month in a digital sticky note.  Things that are one-time occurrences are written on the day they need to happen.  This is all done as the events become known to me.  

2019 Dated Digital Planner

That way when I sit down to plan for that month everything I need to remember is already there.  I do the same on upcoming weeks as well.  This is where having a dated planner comes in handy vs an undated one.

Next I select the monthly or weekly kit I plan to use.  More often than not I use kits that I make personally however I like to use deco and miscellaneous stickers from various Etsy sellers.  For this one I'll be using my February Hearts monthly kit.

Monthly Planner Kit

Now it's time to get planning.  I usually lay down recurring events first (and my Monday list since that is always there) and do the final sweep of deco at the end.  I do tend to leave a bit of white space since a lot of appointments, events, tasks, etc tend to pop up during the week.  I will say this for digital planning: last minute events are FAR LESS of an annoyance digitally than they were in my physical planner.  It's so easy to shift things around to make room for that sneaky detail that crept in unexpectedly.

Most often the question I get from people who are just learning about this style of planning (digital or physical) is "How do you remember to check your planner?  My phone will notify me when I have something coming up."

True that, interested reader.  And, full disclosure, I do use the calendar on my phone as well - but only for shared events that my husband needs to know about as well.  I love planning and decorating my planner so much that I actually look forward to checking it every morning.  It stays out on my desk so I can check things off periodically throughout the day.

That's a key point, actually - part of what makes me so successful at completing my daily and monthly tasks and goals is that rush of satisfaction when I get to check something off of my list.  At the end of the day I get to see all of my accomplishments laid right out in front of me and I take pride in knowing that I was able to budget my time and get it all done.

Plan with me digital planner
Completed February Spread

The next question I tend to get asked is "Doesn't it take forever to do all of that decorating?  How do you keep up on that?"

Here's my answer to these questions:  I do it because I like to do it.  Planning for my monthly or weekly spreads is never a chore.  It's actually something I look forward to every week.  As a naturally creative person it sparks that sweet spot in my brain that loves to just create.  It's practically a meditative practice for me to sit and turn a blank page into a fully decorated planner spread.  And having spent so much time completing a spread it's a completely separate joy to work with it all week, to bear the fruits of my labor so to speak.

In fact, I can scroll through my 2018 planner, stop at any week, and tell you exactly what was going on even without looking at the details.

Plan with me digital planner
For example, I know that during this spread my husband was out of town for a week and my girlfriend and I spent the week working remotely via Skype.  I also worked a LOT on a newborn gallery for a client.

For me planning is like journaling and scrapbooking all rolled into one.  I enjoy the setup process, I appreciate that I can use that creativity to record events in my life, mundane and otherwise, and I especially love having a record of my life to both enjoy looking through but also to be able to see how far I've come (or not come) toward reaching the goals I set for myself.

So tell me - what's your motivation for planning?  How do you keep yourself organized?