Finding Your Planning Style (and what to do when it stops working)
Hey planner babes!
Today I am going to talk a little about my planning style and how you can figure out what works best for you. When I first came to know the wonderful world of planning, I did a lot of research through YouTube and Pinterest. I wanted to know what methods worked best for organizing a ring-bound planner. I heard/read a lot of terms that other planner girls used to describe their planning style. For example: cute, functional, decorated, customized, color-coded, bullet journal, etc. My head was spinning with all of the different possibilities. I decided to take the information I had gained through the great and powerful internet and sit down with my empty planner.
Where do I start?
When it comes to determining your planning style, the best place to start is from scratch. Do not let any generic inserts or dividers be your starting off point. Now, make a list of what is important for you to have in your planner. Will you be planning by the day, the week, or the month? Maybe it's all three! That's okay, too! Do you need to have your planner sectioned off by dividers or would you feel more comfortable using an open and uncategorized format? How do you feel about decorations? Stickers? Washi Tape? Both? Asking yourself these types of questions will help you to start figuring out what style will work best for you.
Personally, I love dividers, but I also don't need as many sections as some do. My happy place is a personal size planner, with 4 sections: Monthly, Weekly, Goals, Home. I usually make my own dividers using scrapbook paper. If your style is both "cute" and "functional" then the idea of having personalized divider sets probably sounds awesome to you. If you prefer more stickers and washi to actual lists and plans, then you have a more "creative" planning style.
A good way to figure out what suits you best, is by trying it out! Give yourself a trial week. Print off the inserts you have been eyeing online or request some sample pages if its a purchase you aren't ready to make. Decorate, write out your plans, and just do what comes natural. If you find that you are using it daily and it is accommodating your needs, then congratulations! You found the style that works for you!
What if it doesn't last?
So you figured out what you like or at least you thought you had. This is something that I see all of the time in the planner community. Planner burnout. You found the perfect style to suit your needs and it worked wonderfully...for two whole months! Now you find yourself not even using your planner. You can't even remember the last time you picked it up. Maybe the system that worked for you no longer gets the job done. That is the beautiful thing that I love about ring-bound planners. If something stops working you can dump the whole thing out and start over!
When I get a serious case of planner burnout I don't just pick and choose sections to remove and "oh maybe I will add this" or "I will take out this last few pages, because I don't really use those..." No. I start from scratch again. I empty it all out, I write out what is working and what is not working, and I make fresh new dividers. Usually this is the inspiration I need to start using my planner on daily basis again.
At the end of the day, your planner is meant to work for you. It is meant to make your life easier and better. Try not to let any one person's style greatly influence you. Collect advice and tips from multiple sources and let them guide you towards what style will fit your needs.