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It’s planner move-in season! If you are an academic planner user (July – June), now is the time to set up your planner for success. The more you put in now, the more you will get out of it later. Just like any other tool, a planner will not work for you if you don’t take the time to learn and set it up for your specific needs and goals. So many people in the community have been struggling with their systems and jumping from planner to planner because they feel it has stopped working for them. This can not only lead to feelings of overwhelm and frustration but lack of productivity as well.  


Let’s face it, time flies and life gets hectic. The best way to keep your planner working for you in the long term is to prep it now before it starts. So if your planner starts in July, set aside time in June to get it all ready. Same is true for January start, you want to make time in November or December before the business of the holidays. This way you are ready to hit the ground running and any upcoming things will already be in place. 

How to set your planner up for success

Even with the dozens of customization options that are available now, there is still no one size fits all planner. So here are some tips to help you get your planner set up and have some fun doing it:


➡️ Brain Dump – Your planner should be a “catch all” place for what is happening in your life.  Take a moment to brain dump month by month all the key dates that you know are upcoming for the year. Be sure to include birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, vacations, important events, appointments, bills and more. The monthly spreads are a great place to start with all of this. If you are a decorative planner and are not ready to put pen to paper yet, stick a post it note on each month so when the time comes you are prepared to plan. You can also create a master document with all this information to keep handy when planning and decorating.


➡️ Have a plan for your planner – That sounds silly, right?  Well let’s explain. When starting a new planner you need to define its purpose and set it up accordingly. If you are a multiple planner user, then you need to figure out what you want this planner to do for you e.g. track your budget or your fitness, etc.  If you us only one planner for all the things, then you need to designate specific areas in the planner that will be dedicated for each aspect of your life. This way, your are going in with a game plan and are less likely to give up on it in a couple of months when things get busy. You will always know your go to spots for writing things down and exactly where to find them later.


➡️ Grab all the essentials – Be sure you have all your favorite supplies handy. Find a bin, tote or pouch and fill it will your basic tools, favorite pens, highlighters, stickers, post it notes or any other essentials you love to use in your planner.


➡️ Get cozy – Set the mood for planning and make it a relaxing experience that will motivate you and bring you joy. Find a comfortable place, maybe light a candle, listen to an uplifting podcast, binge watch a favorite show or YouTube creator. Then, get to work!

➡️ Decorate ahead of time – We all love decorating our planners but truth be told, it does take time that we don’t always have. So if you are a decorative planner or want to be, or if you love using kits, try to plan spreads out in advance so you have your supplies ahead of time to make sure your weeks are ready.  We all know there are times we don’t have the right kit on hand so we either don’t use our planner or the week becomes a total fail. Staying on top of releases from your favorite brands and shops will help.

➡️ Make it social – Planner move-in in time is exciting and fun. Schedule a little meet up with friends (in person or virtually) and dig into getting your planners prepped for the new year. It’s a great way to share ideas, tips, and supplies #plannerfriendsmakethebestfriends


The most imporatant thing is to do what works for you. It’s ok to try out different planners but always keep one constant place so nothing falls through the cracks. Hope this helps and brings joy into planning for you!

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