3 Common Reasons for Planner Fail (and How to Overcome Them) | Giftie Etcetera: 3 Common Reasons for Planner Fail (and How to Overcome Them)

Monday, November 2, 2015

3 Common Reasons for Planner Fail (and How to Overcome Them)

Planner peace is so elusive.

People want a way to keep their lives in order and record their thoughts and to dos.

But time and time again, they fail.

Don't be one of those people! 

planner, coffee, franklin covey, filofax

If you can recognize why you are failing at using your planner consistently (yes, that means every day), you can fix it.

Three common reasons that stop people from using their planners are the absence of enjoyment when using them, wanting to take advantage of technology for planning, and giving up on a particular planner too soon. 

(Or giving up on twenty different planners in a row...you know who you are!)

1. Absence of Joy

If you don't get a sense of peace when using your planner, you won't enjoy using it. 

And if you don't have positive associations with the use of your planner, it won't work for you.


*Pick a planner that appeals to you aesthetically.

*Decorate your planner enough to enjoy seeing it, but not so much that you miss seeing practical stuff. 

I use a coffee mug magnet in the above photo.

*Associate using your planner with something that makes you happy.

I make my daily plan over morning coffee. Or I sit outside and plan. As long as it is pleasant, you'll want to do it.

*Get a pen that you love writing with and use it when you plan.

2. Desire for the Convenience of Electronics

Many people are required to use electronic calendars for sharing. Some people just want the convenience of having their schedule, with alarms, on their smart phones.


That's perfectly okay! A planner is not just for tracking appointments (though that certainly is one way that I use mine).

*If you prefer an electronic calendar, skip the monthly layout.

TIP: Since most planner inserts include monthly layouts whether you need them or not, use the monthly layout for logging exercise, Nanowrimo word counts, or hours worked. Monthly layouts make great logs.

*Use your planner for planning instead of calendaring - capturing to do lists, sketching out a daily docket, creating a communications log, and mapping out ideas.

3. Giving Up Too Early

Sometimes, people are so restless, moving from dream planner to dream planner, that they never truly settle into using one planner. Others get one that is too big to carry or too small to write in comfortably.


*Be realistic you and know what works for you.

*Be okay with a reset if something is not working, but don't let that become an excuse to keep trying new planners. 

Change planners for issues like size, but not for issues like layout. Just find a different layout, like those at Planner Fun, or create your own.

*Give yourself a goal and stick to it.

"I'll use my planner until January 1, but if I hate it, I'll get a new one then."

Subscribe to Giftie Etcetera and never miss another planner post!


If you enjoy what you read at Giftie Etcetera, please share on social media. Click here to join the Giftie Etcetera Facebook group.

Partied at: Meetup MondayMonday MusingsMarvelous MondaySomething to Talk AboutAnything Goes, Mommy Monday, You're Gonna Love It Tuesday, Turn It Up TuesdayCreate Link Inspire, Not Just Homemaking, Let's Be Friends, Tutorial TuesdayWakeup WednesdayCreative Muster, Link It To Me, Wonderful Wednesday, A Little R and R, Happy HomeLife, Showcase Your Talent, Think and Make Thursday, This Is How We Roll, No Rules Weekend. Momma Told Me, Friday Favorites, Coffee Break


Cori Large said...

I have a portable size malibu, and that size works for me, EXCEPT for the monthly calendar part. I have a separate monthly calendar that hangs on the wall. I need the space.

Yes, I have weeklies to plan with, but my planner is more of a "keep track of" binder.

Christine Cortese said...

I find that size is the conundrum that will not go away. Compact or personal size is portable and can be carried, classic or A5 is absolute best for writing and planning but is very heavy to carry. In fact even the compact can be too heavy to carry. Perhaps I should just go with my larger size and start weight lifting. Really! The problem could be me.

runwright said...

I found your page via the link-up and connected with the title of your post because I, too, have had planner fail. Yes. ME! :-)
It doesn't matter how pretty or how organized the planner SEEMS, it's only a planner if it helps you plan and execute your goals.
Recently, I gave up on the fancy stuff and started using a plain journal with a pretty cover, writing my goals and tracking them and checking them off as the day goes by. Granted, I've also implemented some other plans to keep myself focused on my goals but altogether, I am better with my lists.
Whatever works, I say.

Mary Wimbley said...

I'm guilty of all three of those planner fails and then some. I experience planner fail on a regular basis! Lately it's been occurring because I can't decide exactly what I need to carry with me at all times and what needs to stay at home.

My life in a nutshell: When I'm not running errands, I'm usually at home, work, or my best friend/co-author's house. I'm fortunate to have a job that allows me to write, check email, and do other online tasks when I'm not busy. I try to take advantage of as much distraction-free time as I possibly can, because when I get home, distractions abound. I'm working on doing a little bit of housework each day and devoting some time to writing, but it's been a struggle for me.

That's another reason for my planner fails--I let myself get distracted, interrupted, and otherwise pulled away from my plans, often before my plans are even fully formed.

At least I can say I have fun with making my planner more enjoyable to use--I love making my own custom pages! :) I love collecting free printables as well. They're an addiction! lol

Anna said...

Changing planners can be an addiction. I've started keeping my planner the size I know works for me- ring bound 8.5x5.5- and changing some of the pages and dividers when I start to want a change. So far that's working. :)

The Stonybrook House said...

I love what you wrote and have found myself wandering at times. I have no problem with lists! They're my addiction. It's the planning part I need to work on. Planning farther ahead than a week or two. I'm getting there.

Tai East said...

Great post and great tips! Thanks so much for sharing! GOD bless you! :-)

Pat Fenner said...

Thanks for sharing this at the Not Just Homemaking Monday party! I used to be a paper planner, but this past year moved into digital/phone.
I may be re-thinking this next year, tho... ;-)

Melanie Redd said...

Don't you love a good planner! I have one that my daughter gave me from Lilly Pulitzer. It's cute, colorful, and much fun to use!

I was "parked" by you today on #100 days.


Jaime Barfield said...

It took me awhile to really find something that works for me.

Sarah Coller said...

Don't laugh...but it has just dawned on this 36 year old, married for 18 years, homeschooling mother of 9 that if I would get a planner and write down my stuff for the day that maybe I'd actually get a lot more done and not feel so overwhelmed. You'd think I'd have figured this out awhile ago...

Sandy Sandmeyer said...

I so appreciate you sharing your post at the #AnythingGoes Link Party. I'm looking forward to what you'll share with us next week.

Anonymous said...

Even though I've been a long time planner user, I always go through these cycles of planner fail and getting back on track. Thanks for these posts, it helps me focus on what is important from time to time.