Millennials argue that the Boomer generation’s ‘anxiety-with-you’ parenting language is bad for kids

It doesn’t help that there are more types of planners than ever before. We are no longer talking about a simple calendar system or appointment book now we have goal setting, task prioritization, regular recording, habit tracking, bullet journaling, menu planning, food management self, decluttering the house, creating a vision, manifesting a dream , and a hundred other ways to organize our inner and outer lives on paper. Not only that, we also have stickers and washi tape and hand lettering stencils and other embellishments that may or may not add to the fun of planning.

It can be overwhelming to have so many options, so if you’re like me and get tempted by every planner you see, it’s important to narrow the field a bit. For that, we need to be real about what our “planning personality” really is.

Here are five questions to ask and answer for yourself before clicking “buy” on any planner.

Am I looking to organize time and tasks, or do I want a planner that keeps track of everything in my life?

Both of these options are available in spades, but knowing which thing you’re looking for will automatically cut the options in half for you.

If you’re just looking to organize time and tasks, look for a planner that has daily, weekly and monthly calendar pages and little else. Maybe a place to make to-do lists. But keep it simple.

If you want everything, think about what will help you the most to help you reach your goals. What is your priority in your life now, or what do you want to prioritize? Productive? Family organization? Self care? Focus on planners that center around those things.

Do I want a digital planner, a paper planner or something in between?

With super-large phone screens and better tablet devices, some people have switched to fully digital arrangements. High tech planning certainly has its advantages, but some people really prefer pen and paper planning, so you’re on your way.

The good news about digital planners is that many of them now work just like paper planners, so if you don’t want to give up the doodle drawing and handwritten part of planning, you don’t have to.

There are also more paper planners than ever before, so fears that computers will eliminate the need for paper are certainly not allayed.

And yes, there is such a thing as an in-between here. The Rocketbook planner lets you write on paper but then upload digitally to your devices so you have the best (and worst) of both worlds. Perhaps a good option if you want to ease the transition from paper to digital.

How does my gut feel when I look at specific elements of a planner? Am I inspired or anxious?

If you’re a time/to-do person, is having labeled time slots comforting or too confining? Does having room to prioritize tasks make you feel more in control or does it stress you out? Do you want a dated or undated planner? We are all different at different levels of structure, and you want to get the right balance for you.

We also all respond to visuals differently. You may like things crisp and streamlined, while other people may thrive with ornate design flourishes. You may find a lot of color attractive while other people may find it overwhelming. If a planner doesn’t inspire you to use it, you probably won’t, but what inspires one person will repel another, so don’t compare your reactions to others.

How much time do I really want to spend on it each day/week/month?

Some people love using their planner to the fullest and incorporate it into their whole life aesthetic, some people crave a level of commitment but don’t have the personality for it, and some people want to keep it simple. things as much as possible for themselves. It is important that you know which category you fall into.

I was totally drawn to the colorful, beautifully designed and handwritten-on-every-page bullet journal idea, but I also learned that my brain wasn’t about that life. It’s not going to happen, no matter how good I think it is, so I have to resist the temptation.

How long do I want this single planner to last?

Planners really come in all kinds of formats these days, including different lengths of time. Some planners run for more than a year, while some are designed to be used for six months or 90 days. And then there are undated planners and bullet journaling systems that don’t have any specific start or end dates.

How far do you want to plan, realistically? How often do you feel the need to restart/reboot your planning system? Some of us like the reliability of using a long-term planner, and some of us need to change things up often. There is no right or wrong or best or worst, but it’s good to know which one you prefer. If you tend to be planner commitment-phobic or someone who likes to try new planners often, maybe go with one of the shorter time frames and see how it goes.

Planner junkie, know yourself

The main key to choosing a planner is being realistic about how you actually work. Sometimes it takes some experimentation, especially if you don’t have years of failed planner use under your belt. But the more you can narrow down your choices and avoid being tempted by the millions of new, shiny options, the better your chances of finding the planner that really works for you.

(Final tip: You can go to this Amazon page and click on your preferred options on the left side of the page, and that will narrow down the options significantly.)

Happy planning, everyone!


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