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Friday, September 21, 2012

New planner super-productivity

You know when you're using a new planner and suddenly you are so much more productive? You tick off your tasks in prioritized order, arrive early and prepared to all your appointments, have your goals neatly outlined and know what you're supposed to be doing every minute of the day?

I call that "New Planner Super-Productivity."  And I think it has very little to do with the actual planner itself and much more to do with the amount of attention you're giving it.

It's exciting to use a new planner!  It's fun to try a different format, size or brand.You spend a lot of time with your new planner playing with it and trying new things. 

But after a few days or weeks, the fascination with the planner's newness wears off.  You start forgetting to look at it as often. Your productivity levels fall to near where they were before you started using the planner. Eventually you might even decide it's a Planner Fail despite your initial super-productivity.

This isn't necessarily the planner's fault. Most likely, it will work for you just fine if you continue to pay attention to it. You shouldn't need to pay attention to your planner nearly constantly, because that's too high-maintenance. But with a reasonable amount of attention, most planners would work for us just fine.

The bottom line is, you have to write in your planner and look at it often for it to work well for you. One of my main rules of planner usage is, "The More You Use It, The More Useful It Is."

So when choosing a new planner, make sure you get one you will enjoy using and will pay attention to. Maybe it's attractive to you, or super-cool. Maybe it feels great in your hands, or you enjoy writing on the paper. Maybe it's fun to use, or it just really does make you more productive and efficient.

No matter which planner you choose, the most important feature is whatever will get you to pay lots of attention to it.


  1. And I think this is sort of the opposite: if I spend too much time messing around with the insides of a planner, I don't get things done (except playing with the planner). This is one of the benefits, for me, of a bound book. Obviously I need to buy one that isn't, say, way too small, but then I can just use it and not be wanting to tweak it all the time.

  2. Laurie- I completely relate to this post. After using FC for many years, the desire to see what else is out there reared its ugly head last spring and my planning life has run the gamut! It's not that FC wasn't working for me, I just wanted to see what else whas out there. Success Choice (failed due to narrow columns) FF Day per page (crappy paper) a week to view Daytimer (too much color, too distracting) and the list goes on. Could I have made these planners work, ulitmately, if I paid more attention to them? Sure, they were all great. But once the shiny newness wore off I became distracted or saw something better...

    Contentment with FF Week on two pages on cotton cream paper has finally got me settled down (for now) and the flexibility of a ring bound system makes me happy. Most of the time my productivity plummets when a case of the "I don't wanna's" hits-but I will carry forward and carry on!

  3. The problem I have with planners is sometimes I just don't need them and I then end up forgetting about it. I don't need one for work and some weeks my days are really just work, dinner and bed. So, when I do have a week with some spare time I have forgotten about my planner! I am using the Uncalendar at the moment and I like the fact the pages are undated. I therefore don't end up with weeks of empty pages looking accusingly at me!

  4. Laurie - I think taking pleasure in my planning tools is critical for productivity. You really hit the nail on the more than once!


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