As the creator of the Momtrepreneur Planner, one thing I hear all the time is… “I can’t stick with a planner,” or “I’m not good at planning,” but here’s the simple truth….planning is a skill & a habit that can only be developed over time with discipline & practice. Much like your diet & exercise, planning doesn’t always come easy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get better at it!
The following are my fav 10 tips for becoming a better planner, starting today!
1. Brain dump early & often.
Take time to get everything out of your head & on to paper (or at least to the notes on your phone). Part of the beauty of planning, is releasing that heavy mental load we’re always carrying. I usually break my paper apart by the categories in my life & then dump everything out corresponding to each category (Momtrepreneur Planner stuff, stuff for my other business Gloria’s Garden, stuff for my boys, stuff for my husband, family stuff, home stuff, etc)
2. Create power lists to simplify your planning time.
Again, instead of carrying all that mental weigh, take all of those things you utilize, do & need often & create power lists for them. For example…
- A daily, weekly & monthly power list with all of those tasks that you do daily, the tasks you do once a week on certain days, or monthly on certain days. For example, I know that every day (except weekends) I do 4 things for my other business, Gloria’s Garden. I update our order log, respond to our customers on Etsy, prep for my team & then package the completed orders to ship. So this is part of my daily power list. On Sundays I meal plan, order groceries, do family chores, have some family time, prep clothes & plan for the week. So this is part of my weekly power list that I do on Sundays.
- A meal planning power list with all of your family’s go-to favorites for breakfast, lunch & dinner. Include side dishes & ingredients, if you really wanna take this to the next level.
- A customer correspondence list (like an FAQs list) with the answers to all of your businesses most commonly asked questions to help get info out quickly.
- Other power lists include…vacation packing list, local dining out restaurant / fast food list, a home supplies list (so you know when you’re running low), household chores list, household maintenance list, etc.
3. Set a date with yourself.
It has been proven that when you set specific dates & times with yourself for certain actions, along with the location you will execute them at, you become much more likely to keep that promise to yourself. So set a date with yourself, along with a time & location for planning each & every week. I set 2 separate dates with myself… the first is once per month, on the last day of the month to plan for the following month, and second is every Sunday. I do both planning sessions in my bed or on my nightstand at night before I go to sleep. So set those dates & don’t go ghosting yourself!
4. Get in the habit of carrying your planner with you & taking it out wherever you are.
One of the simplest changes I made when it came to making planning a habit for myself, was simply making sure to carry my planner with me everywhere I went. And not only carrying it with me, but also making it a habit to take it out everywhere I stopped, like my desk in my office, my kitchen counter when I get home & my nightstand once I moved into my bedroom for the night. This made it more obvious to me & encouraged me to crack it open & utilize it.
5. Don’t just rely on your planner.
Just because you become good at planning doesn’t mean you are perfect. I have accidentally missed plenty of appointments, overlooked important tasks & have forgotten things here & there. I’m not perfect. But what has helped my planning efforts tremendously, is simultaneously utilizing the power of my phone as well to set appointment reminders & notifications. I turn my power lists to notes on my phone for easy access & keep a running brain dump list in a separate note on my phone as well!
6. Chunk things down.
One of the biggest things I’ve noticed when it comes to procrastination (which usually leads to people neglecting their planners) is that the tasks they set for themselves are too big. Chunk things down. If the task can’t be done in 1-2 simple steps, it needs to be broken down further. Example, for the longest time a task on my to-do list was to “update my website,” and it just sat there FOREVER. Until finally I realized it & decided to chunk it down & created multiple tasks like, “write new copy for home page, update sign up form, update banner photos,” etc. In a week I had it all mostly done after that. So chunk it down!
7. Don’t overwhelm yourself with daily to-do’s.
Yes, keeping a running overall to-do list is important (what I call my “to-do” braindump power list) but writing out all of your to-dos in a single day is outright unrealistic. Don’t overwhelm yourself with your to-do list. I try to only choose 10 “to-dos” per day & simply do my best to knock those out. Anything more than that is a far cry for a mom entrepreneur, which usually leads to a defeated mindset, which then deters us from cracking open that planner again for a while until we’re able to knock more things off the list. Don’t overwhelm yourself!
8. Establish a routine.
I used to tell myself that my life was too hectic to keep a routine because my life was so much different than a normal mom working a 9 to 5. But the truth is, my life was hectic because I didn’t keep a routine & I didn’t make planning a habit & a part of that routine. So establish your routine early on, and stick to it!
9. Affirm that you actually are a good planner.
The simple fact that you are reading through here right now means that you have it in you. You ARE already a good planner. It’s actually not so much about becoming better at planning, but truly becoming a better planner. Repeat after me…”I am a great planner!” Now keep repeating that & believe it!
10. Give yourself gratitude & grace.
Part of becoming a better planner is about taking the time to celebrate all of the little wins along the way, while simultaneously learning how to truly give yourself grace for any shortcomings. Without gratitude & grace, we are nothing.
I hope you enjoyed these 10 tips for successfully becoming a better planner. I promise it’s worth it. Stepping up your planning game allows you to manage your time better, free up more time for yourself & your family. It allows you to become more productive & less stressed knowing that things are planned & prepared for. It takes a load of mental weight off your shoulders & allows you to live more freely to do the things you want to do.
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