How To Use A Personal Planner To Get Your Life Back On Track 

 May 22, 2021

By  Jacqui Cheng

Staying organized and on top of everything is difficult enough as it is. But when you don’t have a system in place, your schedule can feel even more cumbersome and impossible than it is. Simply having a daily agenda written out can help you avoid so many issues and problems and decrease your stress dramatically.

But staying organized is just one of many personal planner uses. In this guide, we’ll talk about the importance of smart planning and organization in your life and give your some tips and inspiration for using a personal planner to take charge of your life.

How To Set & Achieve Goals

One of the best uses of a personal planner is helping you set and actually achieve your goals. Whether those are goals for work, personal well-being, physical fitness, or anything else, plotting it out and organizing it into your schedule will make sure you stay on track and actually do all of the things you want to do. Here are a few tips for setting goals and actually achieving those goals:

Make Goals Concrete

Don’t just say “I want to lose weight.” Decide exactly how much weight you want to lose and exactly when you would (realistically) like to lose it by.

Break Goals Down Into Milestones

If you have a long term goal that you would like to achieve in 1 year (or even longer), it’s hard to get started because it can seem so large and far away. To make sure you that you are making progress, break that large goal down into manageable monthly, weekly, and daily milestones.

For example, say you would like to lose 120 pounds in one year. A sample breakdown would be something like:

  • Monthly goal: lose 10 pounds
  • Weekly goal: lose 2.5 pounds
  • Daily goal: burn 500 more calories than I eat

Daily goals can also include things like “drink at least 2.5 liters of water” and other nutritional or fitness goals that will help you lose your target amount of weight.

By breaking it down in this way, you are doing two important things. First, you are consciously thinking about exactly what you need to do in order to achieve your larger goals. And secondly, you are keeping yourself motivated. While losing 120 pounds seems like a daunting, impossible task; drinking 2.5 liters of water seems comparatively easy and manageable.

Track Your Progress

Don’t just write down what your yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals are. Also write down whether or not you met them and, if not, how close you came. And if you exceeded them, how far over did you go? Tracking the results of each day will provide you with a clear path of your progress so that you can see how far you have come and reassess the areas you are struggling with.

Uses For Personal Planner

There are many different ways to use a personal planner. No matter how you are using it, it will be a great tool for helping you be more effective and more organized. You’ll work smarter instead of harder and you’ll avoid spreading yourself too thin or unnecessarily wasting time between tasks or appointments.

Whether you need this kind of support in just one area of your life or all of them, a great personal planner will do the trick. Here are a few of the ways you can use a personal planner:

Personal Business Planner

In business, daily agenda planners are essential to making sure you never double book or schedule two appointments too closely together. Being late or unprepared is extremely unprofessional and will set the wrong tone for the meeting right from the beginning.

A great business planner can also store other important documents and items. If you get a personal planner binder with extra pockets and storage compartments, you can be sure you always have the most important things with you.

Personal Workout Planner

Trying to integrate a workout into your schedule can seem impossible. We all would like to be healthier and in better shape but the reality of modern life is that we just don’t seem to have the time for it. With a personal planner, you can change this.

Not only does it help you better map out your days and weeks so that you can find out when you have spare time, it also helps you hold yourself accountable to the schedules that you do create. It’s one thing to say “I have time to workout in the morning before work” and another to actually see it in your calendar.

Personal Nutrition Planner

Keeping track of what you eat is one of the best ways to make sure you are getting all the nutrients you need. When you are trying to make a change to your diet, it can be challenging because what we eat becomes so habitual. Using a planner to track your nutrition and meals helps make sure you are more conscious about what you are putting in your body. It prevents you from automatically reaching for that midday candy bar.

More importantly, it helps you track your progress. You don’t have to give up as soon as you eat something you shouldn’t be eating. Because you can see that this one small slip up doesn’t erase those weeks of clean eating you achieved. It also helps you really understand exactly what you are eating so that you have a record available to better understand the changes to your health and well-being.

Custom Personal Planner For Motivation & Goal Tracking

One of the biggest obstacles to achieving our goals and becoming the person that we envision ourselves to be is a lack of motivation and confidence. We see our goals as so big that they are unreachable. We make excuses about how we don’t have the time or the resources.

But the people who achieve their goals didn’t do it by just being handed all the time and resources they need. They did it by overcoming obstacles, by finding solutions even when it all seemed hopeless and impossible. They stuck to it even when their goal seemed impossibly far away.

If this is something you feel you struggle with, you could benefit greatly from a personal planner that has built in goal setting and tracking sections as well as sections for helping reorient and shift your perspective so that you think more positively and constructively.

While it might seem like this is a tall order for a small planner, you would be surprised at just how transformative the experience can be when you use this kind of personal planner to help you restructure your thinking and plan out concrete steps for achieving your goals.

How Best To Use A Personal Planner To Achieve Your Goals

Just having a personal planner is not enough to change your life or achieve your goals. You need to actually use it. Like any tool, it’s only as effective as the person wielding it. So if you really want to get the most out of your personal planner, you need to put that much into it. Here are a few tips to make sure your personal planner is as helpful and useful as you need it to be:

Try To Use One Planner For Everything

While it can be helpful to have a dedicated planner for each aspect of your life, this can also present a lot of problems. Namely:

  • You’ll have multiple planners to carry around
  • It will be more difficult to integrate and balance the various aspects of your life
  • You could accidentally overload yourself with too many commitments or tasks

In other words, it can be physically and mentally difficult to juggle all of your different plans and schedules. So in order to make sure you seamlessly integrate your workout schedule with your work schedule and make time for your personal life, you should have everything all together in one place.

That means that you are better off choosing a planner that can do everything you need it to do rather than choosing a separate dedicated planner for each aspect of your life. This way, you just have to carry the one planner.

But more importantly, you see it all together whenever you check your schedule. You are less likely to schedule an appointment that conflicts with your workout plan if you see your workout scheduled in along with everything else you have to do.

You are more likely to stick with a meal plan if you see your nutritional goals and progress every time you open up your planner to check or add a new appointment. With one planner, you see all of your goals and plans laid out for you every single time you check it. So this will help every single area of your life because you can devote equal energy or, at least, be sure that you are devoting the appropriate amount of energy to each aspect.

Customize Your Planner To Your Needs

If you get a planner with removable, replaceable inserts, you have great power to customize it to your needs. This will make it much easier to get that one planner that can do it all rather than having to buy multiple planners to handle different, specific areas of your life.

Instead of keeping a full year of calendar pages, for example, keep just the next 3-4 months and set the other months aside in a desk drawer. Then, use the extra space to add, say, a meal planner, a workout tracker, or a positive thinking section. That is, you can add inserts to customize it to your exact needs.

This ensures that it is perfectly customized to your needs and goals. And the more customized it is, the more likely you are to keep using it. And the more you use it, the more helpful and transformative it can be!

Make It A Habit

You need to use it every single day. You need to fill in every section, every day. Use it as fully and completely as you can. Because the more you use it, the more you get out of it. This is not just a place for jotting down the most important appointments you have. It is the place for inputting every single thing you have to do in a day and for writing down any important notes, tracking any important goals or ongoing projects.

If you have never used a planner before, set aside some time every single day to use as planning time. This could be anywhere from 10 minutes to 1 hour. Do it at the same time every day and set a reminder in your phone to make sure you do it.

During this time, update your planner with any new appointments or tasks you need to do. Fill in any extra sections like positive thinking sections or goal setting sections for the next day or week.

After a while, you won’t need to set a reminder for yourself. It will become an automatic habit to input everything into your planner as soon as you have it in your mind.

Have A Weekly Planning Session

Whether using it to organize your work schedule or using it to track your goals, you should set aside 1 or 2 hours each week (perhaps Sunday evening before your week starts) to go through your planner and organize your schedule for the week ahead.

Set daily goals that keep you moving toward your long term goals. Get your appointments organized and schedule in any other things like workout sessions. That way, as you schedule more appointments during the week, you can treat those workout sessions as fully fledged appointments and make sure not to book something that will conflict with that.

You can even take some time to write out a few sentences or bullet points about the following things:

  • What are your expectations for the week? That is, what do you expect will happen? How do you think that big meeting is going to go? Why?
  • What are you looking forward to for the week?
  • What are you feeling uncertain or anxious about for the week? Why?
  • What concrete steps can you take to deal with that uncertainty or anxiety?
  • What do you want to achieve by the end of the week?

Even if you aren’t specifically trying to work on changing your thinking and mindset, taking the time to write down answers for these kind of questions will help you keep your goals and responsibilities in perspective and it really forces you to start proactively thinking about solutions before the problems even arise so that you can go into your day and week with the confidence you need to achieve everything.

Get A Planner That You Want To Carry

This is an often overlooked but very important factor that affects how much use you will get out of your planner. In order to be useful, your planner needs to be with you at all times, everywhere you go because you need to be able to check it when needed and add to it as soon as you have something new to add.

So, if you don’t like carrying it around because maybe it is too big and bulky or maybe it just doesn’t look so nice so you don’t want to take it out in public, you are eventually going to stop taking it everywhere. And as soon as that happens, it loses a huge amount of its power. So make sure you choose something that looks and feels great to carry.

We’ll talk more about that in the next section.

Tips For Finding The Perfect Personal Organizer Planner For You

There are a lot of different factors you should consider before buying a personal planner. Each planner is designed with different purposes in mind. Above, you read about some of the different personal planner uses. Those who design personal organizer planners tend to design their product to serve a specific one of these uses. So they aren’t all created equally. Here are some of the features and factors you need to consider before buying:

Personal Planner Size

This is an important but sometimes overlooked factor when it comes to buying personal planners. You can find planners in a variety of different sizes. That includes smaller ones that can fit in a purse and larger, full size planners.

Each size has its pros and cons. A full size planner is, of course, larger and maybe not as practical to carry in a purse. However, the larger size means you have more space for writing down appointments, goals, and other notes. Larger planners can also pack in more features without getting bulky so they tend to be thinner without sacrificing content.

Smaller planners, on the other hand, may not include as much variety of content but they are more practical for carrying around with you. If you need something that can fit in a small purse, this is the way to go. And if you know exactly what you need in your planner, you can simplify by getting one that only has those features and doesn’t take up space with extra features you don’t need.

Whatever your personal needs are, make sure that you take the time to consider size before you buy. Because if you end up getting the wrong size, you are probably going to be less likely to use it. If it’s bigger than you are willing to carry, you’ll stop carrying it. If it’s too small to give you the space you need, it will feel inadequate and you’ll probably stop using it.

So while size might seem like a secondary factor or something that you don’t really need to worry about, it is actually important and can influence how much usage you really get out of your personal planner.

Personal Planner Inserts

Because different planners are designed with different uses in mind, you won’t find the same content in each one. Yes, they will all probably have a calendar with space for you to write in your daily appointments. But beyond that, there is a surprising amount of diversity in terms of the actual content.

For example, a personal nutritional planner will likely include space for inputting calorie and nutrition information. A personal workout planner will include more than just space for scheduling workouts. It could include space for noting the results of your workout. That is, how long the session was, what you did, your heart rate, how you felt after, what you ate before and after, and more.

You can also find motivational planners designed specifically to help you track and achieve your goals. These will include space to write down your goals and then break them down into monthly, weekly, and daily steps so that you can easily turn your long term goals into a series of manageable steps and track how much progress you are making toward achieving that goal.

Whatever your needs or intentions, make sure the personal planner you buy has the space and sections you need to use it the way you want to use it.

Personal Planner Style

Personal planners come in many different styles. You can find a beautiful leather personal planner or something more fun and creative with designs and images on the front. Because this is something you will be carrying around with you every day, you want it to reflect your personal style.

That is, it has to be something that you enjoy carrying and that you feel proud to take out and write in even in public. If you feel self-conscious or uncomfortable about using your personal planner, chances are you are going to avoid using it. And a personal planner is only as useful as you make it. So if you don’t use it, it won’t be useful! Avoid this risk by choosing something that you can take out with pride!

Final Word

Setting goals, making plans, and keeping your life organized are the best ways to make your life less stressful and more manageable. But it is also the best way to make sure you are on track to actually achieve all of the goals that you want to achieve.

When you use a personal planner right, it will keep you motivated and give you the perspective you need to stay on track. We have compiled a detailed buying guide so that you can find the perfect personal planner. You will be surprised at just how much of a difference it can make so don’t wait a minute longer! Go find the perfect personal planner to manage your life today!

Jacqui Cheng

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