Regardless or what planning system you use, these are important planning system tips that can make your planning better. And as always, each and every one of these was learned the hard way!
Record everything ASAP
Whether you use paper or digital planning, don’t ever rely on your memory. Even if you have a good memory, you can only remember so much. And why would you want to! Just write it down! That frees your brain up to think about other things and eliminates the risk of forgetting something important because you didn’t write it down immediately.
Write important information down in the RIGHT place
The important information is of no valuable to you if you can’t find it. Sometimes you can’t write it directly in your system, but when that’s the case, have a back-up system where everything goes and transfer the information to your primary system as soon as you can.
Use abbreviations if necessary but be sure you know what they mean
Several years ago I noticed a “Q” on one of my monthly pages. I couldn’t remember what it stood for – and there aren’t a lot of words that start with “Q”!!! A few months later I realized it stood for Quilt. I had marked the day I started a new quilt. Since I quilt all the time, it never occurred to me I wouldn’t remember; again, that pesky memory. So by all means use abbreviations, but be sure you have the code recorded somewhere.
If you don’t keep your planning system with you, have a satellite system
This is the most important of all the planning system tips I have. Franklin Covey actually sells a small satellite booklet for the Franklin Covey planners. When your planner isn’t with you, you write information in the booklet and then tear out the page and put it in your planner. Whatever you use, it’s a good idea to have something designated as a satellite system for when your planner isn’t available. Then if you don’t happen to get the information transferred, you’ll only have to look one place.
Be careful what you write in your planner
I do a lot of journaling in my planner. I have for 20 years. Not my thoughts and feelings and struggles – I mainly write about things that happened during the day. But I save all my planners and I hope that someday they’ll be a treasure trove of information for my family. So I’m careful about what I write. I try not to write anything that I’m not willing for anyone to see. The more sensitive stuff is reserved for a real journal.
It’s okay to combine paper and digital
A lot of people think you have to choose one or the other. But the truth is, both types of planning systems have a lot to offer. So rather than limiting yourself to one, it might be beneficial to use both. But if you do, be sure they don’t overlap. Any overlap can get you into trouble. So use digital for specific things and paper for specific things but never both for the same thing.
Don’t use your planner for everything
Your planner isn’t meant to hold every single piece of information you have. It’s meant to hold information you need NOW. Everything else can be stored somewhere else. In my early years of planner use, I included a lot more information than I do now. For example, my planner included:
- Health information
- Car repairs list
- Phone numbers and addresses of everyone I knew
- Part numbers, model numbers, etc.
I don’t have most of that information in my planner now. I don’t need it because most of it is on-line or in my phone. There’s no point in having it in my planner since it’s more efficiently stored somewhere else. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have any of that information in your planner – it depends on your situation – but I don’t need it anymore.
What are your most important planning system tips?