Those who are closest to me know how I love to plan. I can deal with all kinds of stress and overwhelm if I can come up with a plan to take care of it all. Hunkering down to work out all the details is like going to my safe place where I feel peace and an increased capacity to deal with life. I’ve found I’m most productive when I use a paper planner.
I’ve tried so many different types of planners. There were always distractions with digital versions, and some paper versions don’t offer a place to keep track of everything. I’m going into my 4th year using my planner by In the Leafy Tree Tops, and I have found my happy place.
Are you looking for ways to improve productivity? Maybe you’d like to find more balance in your busy schedule, or you want more order in your life — I have a few ideas to help.
I find so much value in using a paper planner. While I do use a digital calendar to coordinate family schedules, I’ve discovered digital planners fall short when it comes to what I need. Not only do digital planners lack the space to include notes and details, but they also become more of a distraction than a productivity tool.
Sure I keep my doctor appointments on my phone, and my shopping list on my shopping app — all for simplicity and convenience. But real planning happens best when you can engage your tactical sensations without the pop-up notifications or other apps luring in the background.
Research from UCLA and Princeton found these benefits from writing on paper versus using some form of technology.
- Handwriting stimulates and engages your brain to be more productive.
- Physically recording your thoughts allows you to process your ideas more effectively.
- Writing gives you an edge in remembering and understanding essential things.
- Putting pen to paper slows us down and allows our brain to improve memory recall and calms the troubled mind.
Our brain likes the benefits of writing things down. If you get it out of your head and onto your paper, it’s no longer something you have to worry about remembering. Plus, you’re more likely to remember it!
There are many enticing benefits to wisely managing our time and improving our productivity. Some of these advantages are deemed the most common for using a planner. But, have you ever considered any of the additional perks of daily planning?
You Become a Healthier Person
Health is about more than just not getting sick and managing your weight. While you can improve your diet and fitness with the help of a planner, your complete health and wellness include physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
Using a daily planner helps with all of this and more. You can truly become the healthiest version of yourself in the following ways:
- Manage your weight and meal plans
- Track fitness and physical activity
- Log doctor and dentist appointments
- Track anxiety or stress symptoms
- Find your depression or anxiety triggers
- Make to-do lists for self-improvement
There are so many ways you can improve your health just by using your planner. I love being able to look back at the previous week to see what worked well and what didn’t so I can make simple tweaks as I go.
While stress is ultimately part of your overall health, it belongs in a category of its own. Stress affects nearly every facet of your life, from your physical and mental health to your productivity, concentration, patience, mood, and just about everything in between.
Are you losing your hair? It might be from stress.
Having mood swings? Stress.
Lack of desire to spend time with family? Guess what — probably stress.
While stress isn’t responsible for every single thing that might go wrong in your life, it has a significant impact on your happiness and sense of fulfillment. For this reason, it’s essential not to ignore stress but try to alleviate the unhealthy pressures in your life.
Planning helps calm a troubled mind. Having a spot to do a brain dump can clear your mind of dates, times, and tasks you feel stressed about remembering. Knowing you have a central place keep all your information releases a lot of unneeded pressure.
Using my planner regularly reduces so much of my stress. I feel relieved when I don’t have to worry about how to get everything done on time. Being able to see everything on my to-do list helps it all feel more manageable. Planning has been one of the best stress relievers for me.
Productivity is one of the most common benefits people talk about when it comes to using a planner. It helps increase productivity because it enables you to take a look at the big picture and break it down into all of the tasks, goals, and responsibilities you need to schedule out.
Not only do you add things to your calendar, but you know what tasks need to be done every day of the week to make your goals happen. My planner helps me to focus and be more productive instead of wasting time procrastinating. Sometimes my planner offers just the encouragement I need to move to the next level.
Planners Give You More Free Time
Believe it or not, using a planner doesn’t give you another thing to take away from your free time. It gives you more time to take care of your self and spend with your family.
By scheduling your responsibilities, improving your productivity, and helping you focus when it is “work time.”
Have you ever noticed how life feels more chaotic and hectic when you’re running low on time? When we don’t intentionally schedule our time, we are more likely to feel like we are falling behind. Every free moment feels like it should be used completing another task or responsibility. When I am intentional with my time, I feel more inclined to take an afternoon to enjoy lunch with friends or go on a bike ride with my husband.
It Becomes a Positive Habit
If you feel like you need a little more positivity and enlightenment in your day, using a planner can help with that too. One of the great side benefits of using a planner and becoming more organized is you start feeling more positive about your life and what you are accomplishing.
Much like the law of attraction, focusing on taking control of your life by using a planner helps you to feel more in control. You feel like you can do anything, and as a result, you become more positive about your productivity.
Reach Your Goals
Oh, yes, those goals. You probably have a lot of good intentions related to your personal life, family, work, or just life in general. Short-term and long-term goals are great because they give you something to work toward and fuels hope.
The problem with goals is they often become dreams; where they seem so unattainable, it seems more comfortable to give up rather than flounder in trying to reach them.
My planner helps me identify realistic, attainable goals, and then allows me to map out the next step. By choosing which tasks will bring me closer to meeting those goals, I know what time each day I’m working on which goal.
One secret most people don’t know or recognize when it comes to planner perks is the inadvertent keeping of records. In the busyness of scheduling our to-do list — remembering to call the carpet cleaner and handyman — we don’t realize how recording these tasks are helping us in the future.
The habit of writing down and planning comes back to help you when you’re trying to remember when the last time you had the carpets cleaned or what the number was for the handyman.
It has surprised me how writing down the little things today helps me figure things out in the future. But this perk only works if you record what you do.
Have you ever thought about how often money is involved in the decisions you make every day?
My planner from In the Leafy Treetops has a budget section to help us save money. It is so handy to have a monthly budget in my planner because it helps me keep track of where I’m at with monthly expense with a flip of the page.
As finances vary and expenses change, I use the budget page to make a note of these adjustments. It’s also a great place to record annual or quarterly payments.
There are some great benefits to using a planner; the biggest for me is being able to monitor my progress. Being organized and productive helps me feel like I’m improving, changing, and growing. These benefits help fuel my momentum, allowing me to continue taking steps to find more enjoyment in life.
Most people forget or don’t take advantage of these hidden perks, but they are worth considering if you are contemplating ways to improve your productivity. Like any good thing, these benefits can’t help unless you try them out.