It’s no secret that I love my planner. But did you know that I have a lot of planning bad habits? I do. And today I’m going to share them with you.

Planning Bad Habits

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I think it’s important to note that I don’t have these bad habits because I dislike planning. In fact, I love planning. But sometimes, I get in this weird headspace where I want to be a spontaneous free spirit. And sure, those people exist. But I seriously doubt their ability to get stuff done. Like, if you have a lot of irons in the fire, you’re going to forget about some if you aren’t keeping yourself accountable.

And while I know that these bad habits rear their ugly heads when I’m operating outside my normal routine, I also know that I can make an effort to preempt these bad habits rather than give into my unproductive urges.

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So, with that, I’m sharing with you my planning bad habits.

Planning Bad Habits

001: Not Looking at My Planner First Thing.

On days that are completely outside my normal routine, I have to look at my planner first thing. These are days when I have a large chunk of time off from work, or even when I’m on vacation. I have to look at the planner first thing because on my days off, it’s not uncommon for someone to try to lay claim to my time. They don’t do this in a mean way. In fact, they literally just suggest we do something that sounds pleasing. And then the whole day is off because I never set aside time to get my own stuff done. This isn’t bad if I don’t have a lot going on, or if I conquered all to do lists before the day off or vacation. But the likelihood of that occurring is very slim.

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However, if I do look at my planner first thing, then I can see what I need to get done that day, whether it’s respond to an email or schedule some blog posts. Usually I don’t schedule a ton of stuff for days off or vacation time, but I do know that there are little things that need to get done. So that’s why it’s important to start the day by looking at my planner.

002. Being Unrealistic About Time Blocks.

So, before spring break even began, I had blocked out my time in my planner. And I did that to note when and where I’d be grading papers. While this was a good idea, I was definitely not realistic about how much I’d get done the Monday of spring break, especially since it was my first day back in town after a girl’s lake trip. I was seriously worn out and in desperate need of sleep and Benadryl. So, that’s what I did on Monday.

While it may seem like that would really throw off the schedule for the whole week, it totally doesn’t. I’m trying to be more kind to myself, and more flexible. I can definitely shift stuff around, and I will never have a week where nothing gets done. (Even if I do nothing on the to do list, it will be because something more important came up and I did that instead.) So, I need to be more realistic with how I will spend my time, especially when it’s during time off. And I really need to plan more for down time. Because I need it really badly.

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003: Ignoring Time Blocks in Favor of To Do Lists.

Give me a good to do list any day, and I’ll forget any other time management hacks I have in my back pocket. I don’t know what it is, but the allure of a to do list is the siren song that will always call me to my doom. And while I’ve been getting really good at using highlighters to block off time, the Passion Planner comes with a to do list at the bottom of every week. And well, that space of infinite possibility on every weekly spread? That tends to get turned into to do lists too.

This is really a problem because I block my time for maximum efficiency. I know that some tasks are better to do at certain times, and I know I’ll have a better environment to do tasks at certain times. That’s why I try to block my time in a very specific way. But when I get caught up in the to do lists, that’s when I start ignoring the time blocks and just try to bash out as many tasks as possible. This is probably the hardest of my planning bad habits to break.

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004: Forgetting to Write It All Down.

One thing I’m trying to do more often is write down what happened during the week. That way, I can look through my planner after the month ends and know what’s been going on. The Passion Planner really encourages this, and there’s a ton of space to be used for just this purpose. But, when I’m in full-on to do list mode, then it gets hard. Also, I have some long days. I mean, we all do, but on Mondays and Wednesdays, my work days are about 12-hours long. So, it’s not uncommon for me to forget what happened at the beginning of the day by the time I get to the end of it. Couple that with the fact that I’ve probably talked to 75 individual students on those days, and you have a day that my brain is too exhausted to remember.

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I’m working on writing down how I used my time in the blank spots of the weekly spread, as well as the good and bad things that happened. I know a planner is how you plan your time, but always looking forward without reflection doesn’t seem like it’s the best way to live. And by writing everything down and acknowledging how my day went, I keep a record of little things for the sake of memory, and for the sake of getting better as a person.

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What Are Your Planning Bad Habits?

Do you have planning bad habits? Can you look at your planner and see where you screwed up? Does the to do list call you to the dark side? Tell me all your weird planning quirks and every last bad habit.

5 Responses

  1. I tried doing time blocks but ended up finding I do much better with to-do lists. I feel like I get more accomplished that way. Since I don’t have a set routine each day, I find it easier to write out what needs to be I done that day.

    As for those pesky bad habits, I sometimes pay no attention to my planner and then things get all weird and I forget what the hell is going on. As I mentioned to a friend of mine recently, I often struggle with being a responsible, productive adult and simply shirking that shit in favor of having fun. I think I worry I’ll become uptight and boring by being the responsible adult. I’m working on it. I’m certain there is a healthy balance between the two.

    1. If you find that healthy balance, let me know. I’m terrible with balance of any kind. I think I’ve gone full-on boring. But it’s okay. I’m getting stuff done, and that’s been worth its weight in gold.

  2. I just got my passion planner and I didn’t even realize that I had started using my timeslots as to-do lists and that it was kinda counterproductive since I’m trying to improve time management. I’m still trying to find the routine so this is really helpful. Great Post!

    I saw your other post with the eco-friendly passion planner – traveler notebook and I was wondering do you know of any crafty solutions for carrying pens/sticky notes/stickers etc for the compact size?

    1. I definitely have a few hacks, but it kind of depends on how much you want to carry. For the Post-Its, I recommend peeling a small layer of them off the actual stack, and just gluing them into the cover. You won’t have the whole stack, but you can replace it when it starts to run low. I actually made an insert for a past planner using this method a few years ago, and you can see it here:

      As for pens, you may try creating a pen loop using a clip and a hair tie. Granted, you won’t be able to carry a lot, but you could probably attach two pens to one loop, and carry 4 at a time clipped to the pages of your planner. Here’s a tutorial on how to make them:

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