Like everyone else, I am increasingly dependent on my cell phone. It’s the home of my communication with friends, family, work, banking, grocery lists, social networks, photos, and entertainment. While the majority of my life seems to be condensed into one tidy little tech package, there is one old-school habit I refuse to break. I will always have a paper planner. Always. There are so many documented and researched reasons why you should use a paper planner. Keep reading for my six reasons plus I share my favorite planner.
1. Get Organized
Using a paper planner conveniently keeps all of my important dates, milestones, celebrations, due dates, and reminders in one place. At a glance, I can see what I’ve done in the past or what tasks I have upcoming in the future. I find that writing things down works better for me versus a digital calendar. The process of actually writing down tasks and obligations commits them to my memory better than typing them in or accepting a calendar invite ever could. This keeps me organized and on top of all of my obligations and tracking my progress on goals.
2. Relieve Stress and Anxiety
Hi, my name is Becky and I’m an Enneagram 6! I like to know what’s coming and I tend to run a little more anxious than most. For these reasons, I prefer planners with monthly and daily spreads. While this may not be for everyone, I enjoy the ritual of reviewing my tasks for each day and setting up a plan to tackle whatever is on my plate. I typically don’t use every single day spread, but I like having the option for days when I feel particularly overwhelmed. For several years now I’ve been using the Day Designer because of its daily spread layout. That little check-in the night before or in the morning soothes my naturally anxious personality. I sit down and take a little time to fill in my monthly and daily spreads to create plans of action for tasks that have to be done that month or obligations tied to a specific date.
Beyond just setting intentions and managing time, a lot of people treat their planner like a scrapbook/journal/art project. I personally don’t like to load mine down with stickers and washi tape but if you do then do it! I am a huge proponent of finding what makes you happy and going for it. Do you want icon stickers and themed monthly spreads? GO FOR IT.
3. Establish Better Routines
Making an effort to maintain an up-to-date planner gives me a foundation for better routines that improve my life. I’m sure you’ve heard by now that writing down your goals makes you much more likely to accomplish them. For me, the key to accomplishing any goal is to break it down into actionable steps and form routines that help me accomplish whatever that goal might be. It can be anything large or small. For example, I prefer to prepare meals on Sundays so that I have lunch for work ready to go for the rest of the week. I usually write a reminder to myself to go grocery shopping on Saturday so that I am prepared and ready to cook on Sundays. I also keep an entire planner dedicated just to our household finances for this reason.
4. Remember More
I don’t know about you, but I am way more likely to remember a commitment if I take the time to write it down. There is something about putting pen (or pencil!) to a paper planner that commits information to memory that I just don’t get from digital calendars. This is especially true when I receive calendar invitations. If someone else created the event there is a big chance I’m going to forget the details as soon as I click “accept.”
5. Optimize Your Time
Using a paper planner helps me plan out my days, weeks, and months to optimal productivity. Using a daily spread like the one inside of the Day Designer helps me time block my days. This way, I know where I have time available. I’m also less likely to procrastinate if I’ve taken the time to write down what I want to accomplish and when. As I mentioned previously, I love the Day Designer’s daily spreads so that I know where my time is being spent each day.
6. Practice Self Reflection and Catalog Your Personal History
The final reason why I will always use a paper planner is the opportunity for self-reflection. In many ways, planners are like daily journals. I love to go back and see where I’ve written down past goals that I’ve been able to achieve. I know it seems a little “woo-woo”, but I really do believe that writing things down is a key to achieving goals. Call it goal setting, call it manifesting. It works. Tracking your progress and seeing your past successes will help motivate you to continue pursuing your current and future goals.
Give paper planning a shot. As I mentioned, I greatly prefer the Day Designer over other planners I have used in the past, but the system you choose has to work for you. I like the clean design of the Day Designer layout, and their fun covers still feel professional enough to use at work.