A calendar is simply a place to record appointments and birthdays. Having a calendar is a good thing but if you’re trying to manage a home and kids and work, a calendar can only help so much.
But a planner . . . well, a planner can change your life.
I’ve been using a planner for over 25 years. Back when I started, there wasn’t much selection. My first planner was a 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 three ring binder with blank paper. But I carried that binder with me everywhere and I kept track of all my important information, to-do’s and appointments.
These days I have a fancier planner – a Franklin Covey model. And I carry it with me everywhere and keep track of all my important information, to-do’s and appointments plus a bunch of other stuff. You would probably be amazed at how much information is in my planner.
Every now and then I decide I don’t want to use a planner anymore and my family panics. They know that little book is what holds everything together, and if I abandon it, very bad things will happen.
Here are 10 ways a planner can reduce anxiety and help keep you in control of your life:
1. A planner gives you secure place to store information. If you use the back of an envelope, a post-it note or a scrap of paper, you might not be able to find that information again. If you write it in a planner, you might have to look for it a little bit, but you’ll know it’s in there somewhere.
2. A planner gives you a place to record notes about your kids. I’ve never had time to journal so I wrote notes about my kids on my planner pages. I have over 20 years of archive books with all my pages. I have a great time looking through those pages and reading about the things my kids did when they were little.
3. A planner relieves our brain from anxiety. You can stop remembering something the second you write it down. You can let it go and concentrate on more important things. Your brain will only hold so much and usually there’s just enough room for today.
4. A planner will help you sleep at night. If everything is written down and planned and accounted for, you won’t worry about it when you should be sleeping. You know that when you wake up, your planner will tell you exactly what you need to know for any given day.
5. A planner gives you a place to plan ahead. Way ahead. If you’re winging it, you can’t plan ahead very well. If you’ve looked at a calendar lately, you know Thanksgiving is fast approaching. Christmas, too. I have my trusty planner out and am planning for both of those events. Whenever something pops into my mind, I write it down on the appropriate page. There’s no room in my head to store that kind of information but the planner gives me a perfect place.
6. A planner gives you a place to write routines. Sometimes I get overwhelmed or I’m tired and I can’t figure out what to do next. When that happens, I check my planner and it will tell me what to do. Now in all honesty, sometimes I don’t want that stupid planner to tell me what to do but I know it’s right. And when I’m overwhelmed, it really does help.
7. A planner gives you a place to record reference information. I use my A-Z tabs for names, addresses and phone numbers but I also use them for model numbers, serial numbers, part numbers, passwords, prescription numbers, etc.
8. A planner gives you a place to keep track of things you’re waiting for. Have you ever ordered something and then promptly forgotten about it until it showed up on your doorstep or in your mailbox? As long as the item arrives, things are good. But if you order something and it doesn’t show up, things could get ugly. A planner is the perfect place to keep track of things you’re waiting for so you can follow-up if it doesn’t show up when it’s supposed to.
9. A planner is also a great place to keep track of phone conversations. You know, the ones where you call to complain about something or fix something that didn’t turn out right and they say they’ll take care of it only they don’t? If you write down who you talked to and what they said and can retrieve the information, you have a better chance of winning the battle of he said/she said when you have to call back.
10. And finally, a planner gives you a place to write down what you need to do. We all have things we need to do and it’s so easy to forget those tasks, especially if you have ADHD like I do. A planner helps keep me focused on what needs done. Do I always do everything on my list? No, I don’t. But having it written down increases the odds that I will get it done. And if I don’t do it, at least I know what I didn’t do instead of wondering what I was supposed to do and not having a clue what it was.
So if you don’t have a planner, seriously, run, do not walk, to your nearest planner store and get one.
Whew! Now, don’t you feel better?