Why My Planner Is Life


The other day my daughter went to one of her favorite stores-Paper Source. Paper Source carries all things paper of course. They have personalized invitations, calendars, books and a cute/cheeky gift section. She mentioned flippantly that they were having a planner sale. “Who carries a paper planner in 2016?” she asked. “I do!” I replied.  For one quick millisecond I wondered “should I not be using my paper planner?” My daughter is pretty hip and she keeps me up to date on a lot of things, but no, I am pretty certain this is an area where I do not want to be like the cool kids if they aren’t planner obsessed like I am.

Let me tell you why I love my planner. I love my planner because it is life. Literally. I organize my life in that little book. I do use my cell phone just like the millennials for everything, but cell phones crash and there are so many things to look at on your phone that even organizing on a smart phone seems a little disorganized. Don’t get me wrong I do use my Google calendar and I love all things Google but my paper planner and I have a relationship on a whole other level.

Every morning I sit down at work and the first 5 minutes of my day are spent in my planner. No matter how crazy and chaotic things get at work I know every day for the first few minutes it’s just me and my planner.

  • I flip it open and look through the calendar first  to see what I have planned and what’s coming up.
  • Then I turn to the day page, and in the right hand corner of my Blue Sky Planner there is a section on gratitude.  I write down something that I am grateful for. It’s the first thing that pops in my head. I don’t spend a lot of time reflecting on it and I love that when I flip back through my planner I can see all the things I have been grateful for over the past few months. No matter what kind of planner you use I would recommend you spend a few seconds writing down what you’re grateful for. I believe it starts my day off on the right foot.
  • Next, I write my to do list and look back at the previous day to see what I didn’t accomplish and move it over too.
  • During the day I check in on my to do list once or twice to mark things off the list and make sure I’m staying on track. For me it helps to keep my focused and to ward off the stress of feeling overwhelmed.

People always ask me how I did so much as a single mom and I have to tell you I believe that structuring my day and scheduling was a large part of it. Here are the top 5 reasons the planner kept me sane during my journey.

1.It kept me on track. I am not sure how anyone with kids and their own life can remember who has what when, without writing it down on paper. I even used dry erase and chalk boards in the kitchen to keep track of things when my kids were small.

2. It told me when I had free time. I mention in my dating chapter that it’s important to know your schedule. The planner doesn’t just tell you when you have things to do it tells you when you are free too. Many times we feel like we don’t have any time but in actuality there will be gaps. Find out where they are so that when Mr. Might Be Right asks you out for coffee you know when you can make that happen.

3.It helped me goal set. My planner was a great resource for goal setting. Looking at what you have to do on paper helps you visualize what you want to do. In my book I wrote about how writing down your goals helps you achieve them. My planner was the perfect place for that, and it allowed me to look them over every now and then. This was particularly helpful when I started to feel dissuaded.

4. It helped reduce stress. When all the things you have to do are jumbled in your head they seem overwhelming. Once you write them down, and start crossing them off it seems more manageable. Also, part of your stress is just knowing that you need to remember things. Writing them down releases that worry and there are tons of studies about how writing things down actually helps you to remember them.

5. It serves as a record of your year. I love looking back through my paper planners from previous years to see what I accomplished and what I am still working on. Reflection is a great way to help you streamline your goals. The gratitude section definitely puts life into perspective and makes you feel a little better about where you are and where you are going in your life’s journey.


 I usually get a planner like this from Target, but I do have to tell you that I’m feigning for the Simplified Planner by Emily Ley- see it here. She is one of my in my head besties. I follow her on FB and IG and imagine that we would be really good friends. Am I the only one who does this?

You can get really fancy with your planners using washi tape and stickers, and cute little decorative clips like these found on Etsy. I haven’t elevated to that level yet but it’s on my To Do List.



I’d love to hear how you stay organized in the comment section below.


Until Next Post,

Lips Signature






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Tonya Parker is a counselor, author and certified life coach who believes in helping women look and feel their best! Ambassador for O, The Oprah Magazine and author of Single Mom Chic

8 thoughts on “Why My Planner Is Life

  1. I have started using a Bullet Journal and I love it. As you said, a lot of my overwhelm stems from trying to remember everything. Now, I just write it down and the worry of forgetting is gone. I still forget things, but not nearly as often. I love the daily gratitude idea – going to add that one in for this month right now!!

    Liked by 1 person

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