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  • Writer's pictureClaire Constable

Using a Paper Planner

Using a life planner or journal

I have always been obsessed with planners and stationery. Planning is an important part of my life. When I plan my days in advance, and keep the information I need organised, I find that I am calmer, more productive and I even have more time.

If you have scraps of paper and reminder notes everywhere, feel like you are being pulled in too many directions, you never have enough time to get it all done, or you feel erratic whilst you are trying to get things done, you would probably benefit from using a planner or journal.

Not only does a planner help you to get, and feel, more organised, it's a place where you can offload your thoughts, design your life and be more intentional about your days. Somewhere to 'keep it all together'.

Writing things down also makes it harder to ignore your goals and priorities. It helps to keep you accountable to the commitments you have made to yourself.

Auditing our lives through writing a diary or keeping a reflective journal makes it easier to see where you are being effective in your life, and where you can make improvements and edits.


My planner helps me to think of the bigger picture, as well as reminding me to enjoy the little things and moments.

I use my planner in addition to using my digital calendar. I've tried only using one or the other, but neither has worked out to be as effective for me as using both together. I know a lot of people who effectively manage their whole life on their digital devices alone, but I personally believe that writing things down helps you to gain greater clarity and focus, and makes you feel calmer and more organised.

I still use my iCal on my phone as my master 'diary' to add events, appointments, recurring dates and routines and manage my time in more detail.

Some people get very creative with their planners, but I prefer to keep mine simple.

In the front of my planner, I have a vision board page with images, affirmations and words that inspire me each time I look at it.

I'm a huge believer in affirmations and words to encourage you throughout the day.

I have monthly and weekly overview pages that I use at the beginning of each month and each week, so that I am clear on what each month and week looks like, and to set my priorities, goals and intentions.

My Sunday planning is one of my regular rituals, and can be the difference in whether my week is a calm and productive week, or a stressful one.

I refer to my iCal and go through what events and appointments are in there. I then write an overview of what my month/week looks like in my planner. This triggers me to check that I have organised everything I need to make sure that my week flows as smoothly as possible (e.g. travel and childcare arrangements). If find that things stored in digital apps can sometimes get lost and then creep up you to quickly. Once I have an overview of my week, I spend 15 minutes running through it with my husband to make sure we have everything covered.

I only look up to 3 months in advance for my planner (but everything gets added to my iCal). Your life and goals can change so quickly so, for me, I don't think its worth writing down anything too far in advance as it will probably all change,

I also have separate daily planner pages that I can use if I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed.


I prefer to use a ring or disc binder planner system ( I am currently using the ARC disc notebook system) so that you can add and remove pages and sections and personalise for you and your lifestyle. Everybody's lives are different and therefore what you need in your planner will be personal to you, I think I've tried most planners and have never found one that was perfect for me, which is why I started creating my own printables.

Planners can be very expensive, but you don't need to spend a lot to get you started. You can start off with a standard ring binder and free printables and build from there. Once you have a better idea of your needs you can invest and upgrade if you want to.


- Practical day to day time management and organisation (daily, weekly and monthly schedules).

- Lists and To Do's

- Project and goal plans

- Mindfulness, reflection and positive thoughts

- Vision and inspiration boards

- Habit, routine and ritual tracking

- Home management

- Meal planning

- Shopping lists

- Health and fitness

- Holidays

- Bucket lists


The most important thing is to enjoy the process. Writing in your planner should be creative and relaxing, so if you're finding it a chore - change it. Find what works for you and make sure that your planner has encouraging and inspiring content.

Do you have a life organisation system?

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