How To Use A Planner Effectively (Without Getting Overwhelmed Or Stressed)

Having too much to do is overwhelming enough as it is, but having to organize it all can be even more stressful. The thought of having to admit to all your pending tasks can be daunting, but once you know-how, using a planner will make sure you stay on track and use the little time you may have wisely.

Firstly, decide what time-frame works best for you.

If you are someone that is always a step ahead and likes to plan in advance, then using your planner to map things out by month would be the best option. If planning a month sounds too daunting, then use your planner by week. There won’t be as much for you to plan, and you will be less likely to get overwhelmed by what you have to do. Or, if thinking even a week in advance is too frightening for you, then use your planner day-by-day. Mapping out each day means you can go into more detail about events, create routines and most importantly not have too much to face. Depending on the type of planning you respond to best, you can choose a daily planner, a 2021 diary, or build your own with an agenda.


Getting Stuff Done Planner


Classic Pink Agenda


Goals Diary


Secondly, establish what you want to use your planner for.

Is your planner just for work? Or, is it to plan every aspect of your life? Often including absolutely everything that you have to do can make you feel like everything is too much. Popping to the shops to pick up some milk takes no time at all, yet having it written amongst the heaps of other tasks that you face can make it seem like a massive job. If you’re someone that likes everything that you need to do written down on paper, then great, go for it, but if this overwhelms you just use your planner for the important stuff.

Next, make sure you are creating realistic time frames.

Often, when we set ourselves a goal we feel that it must be achieved, and while this is essential in the mind of a career girl, it can lead to unnecessary pressure. If your planner is telling you that you have an hour to complete a certain task and it takes you two, you are going to feel as though you’ve failed, when the time-frame may have just been unrealistic. There are all kinds of reasons why you might not be able to stick to your schedule, and it’s important to be able to adapt your planner as you go along.

When something is complete, make sure you tick it off.

Long lists are scary, but there is nothing quite as satisfying as being able to tick them off. Checking off what you have done not only helps to relieve stress, but it highlights what still needs to be completed. Once one stage is ticked off and complete, you can move on to the next, helping your plan to run smoothly.

Finally, schedule free time.

free time is something that you want to write on your planner or not, there needs to be gaps for ‘you’ time. Often when we make plans it is tempting to fill every spare minute, but this will lead to you becoming overwhelmed and possibly cause to you not stick to the plan at all. Whether it’s a lunch break, or just an hour to watch TV make sure time to yourself is scheduled.


  1. I love having a planner. It keeps me so much more organized. I just started using Erin Condren’s Horizontal planner. I can write down anything and everything that I need to!

  2. I love my planner but I never use it! This makes me want to start!! Thanks!

  3. I work the best with to-do lists actually, though I always schedule in more than humanely possible, so that’s something I definitely need to work on!

  4. Absolutely agree that a planner is a useful tool for organising time. I’m terrible for letting things slide but having it written down in a list does help keep me on track.

    Love the planner in the picture, too. I’ll keep my eye out for something similar :)

  5. I plan my appointments, events, or dates, in the monthly spread of my planner. And, use the weekly spread to write down to-do lists for each day. I am using the Erin Condren Life Planner!

  6. Having a planner makes me feel so organised! Though I’m definitely guilty of overloading it and not doing any at all some weeks. Thanks for the tips! X

  7. I bought a 2015 planner last year and it basically went used for a couple of months. But I decided to use it to mark down important dates and also write important to-do list that I need to complete before that important date comes.

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