74: How I’m Using My Planner to Save My Sanity

74: How I Use My Planner to Save my Mental Health Meant to Bloom

I rarely talk about my planner for how big of a part it plays in my story and daily life. I’ve been asked a few questions about HOW I actually use my planner and approach differing schedules from day to day, and I want to answer those here. I also want to tell you how I used my daily planner to beat my bad attitude and save my mental health. I’m also going to share some of the tips and insights I have in response to a few questions I’ve received recently about this topic.

Here’s what I’m chatting about in this episode: 

  • How using my planner the right way actually saved my life.  
  • How I actually use my planner right now. 
  • Dealing with a sense of dread and morning anxiety. 
  • What to do when your day gets off course.
  • Leaving blank pages in your planner.  
  • Working from a restful state – seeking peaceful productivity. 

Here’s how I’m getting the most out of my planner.

Transcribed with Descripted: Listen to the audio here.

 Hey friend, welcome back to the podcast. So I’ve been thinking over the last couple days how I really don’t talk about how I use my planner all that often for someone who is as planner, obsessed as I am, especially being that like the way I use my planner has quite literally saved my life. So I thought we’d chat about that today.

I, I used my planner a little bit differently than how I did years ago. So I kind of wanna share some of those insights and answer some of the questions I’ve gotten recently about this topic. Okay, so let’s chat real quick. How did my planner save my life? Well, at the time, I was using this like very basic.

Weekly planner that I’d gotten from Walmart. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t fancy. It just, it had those grid lines and the dates in place and I had to fill in the rest and do it all myself., but after I had that day, you know, the day where I like nearly ended my life, I knew that I couldn’t go back to living every day the way I had before.

And so, . In order to change my habits and the way my days looked in order to change my life, I had to add some things into my daily planner that are really like just what saved my life what completely shifted my mental health and my mindset. was adding in these like three particular exercises that I talk about on here pretty often.

I’m talking about intention, affirmation, and gratitude. So I took my, my just very plain planner and in the day scheduler. I just, I scheduled in the morning intention, affirmation and gratitude, and I wrote those things in, I wrote my intention for the day or for my life. I wrote an affirmation, a positive thought about myself, a Bible verse or a song lyric, something that was like speaking to me that day that I felt like I needed to remind myself of.

And then I would add in something I’m grateful for. every single time. I went back to my planner throughout the day to see like, oh, what am I supposed to be doing? What am I, you know, what’s today look like? I was constantly being reminded of these three very important things. And so seeing them often, that repetition that was so beneficial to my mental health.

And in addition to that, I started tracking like my water, cuz you know, body is important too. Same with mind and spirit. We’ve gotta take care of yourself. And I find that water is just, it’s magic. And when you’re staying properly hydrated, it changes things, so I in included that, and then I started putting my meals, like my meal plan into my daily schedule.

And I started limiting my to-do list instead of looking at a master to-do list that I was never going to finish in a single, cuz that’s not great for your mental health to just see all of those pending tasks that you’re not going to get to anytime soon. It’s not great to be seeing those often, so in order to change my mindset around that, I would pick like just two, maybe three things and put those into my plans for each day. And so those were some of the ways that I started changing the way I was using my planner by adding all of those things in. And you know, eventually I got tired of having to add all those things into my planner that was not designed for those or supportive of those things.

And I ended up just creating my own planner, which is the Everyday Joy Planner, which you can now purchase through Amazon or directly from me. And I will link that below for you. And it is pretty, it is very pretty.

So that is how I’m actually like using my planner. Of course I add in things like doctor’s appointments and birthdays and, you know, actual plans for the day and all of that. But being able to have a place in my planner that is designated for, you know, planning to be mentally healthy, that’s kind of really important and it’s been super helpful for me over the last couple of years.

So what else I wanna say about that is that your planner is a tool. It’s not meant to be like a vice. which yeah, vice is a tool, but you know what I mean. Like it’s not meant to be restrictive. It’s supposed to be helpful, not hurtful. It should be something that helps you keep track with your day, even knowing that some days you don’t even need to be on a track, but it’s not meant to be something that makes you feel unaccomplished or disorganized. That’s basically why I don’t use habit trackers at all. And you’ll never find a habit tracker in my planners. I do now in the newer versions of the planners include like bullet journal, grid pages type things where you could add your own habit tracker.

But I will never put one in my planners because habit trackers, I don’t, I don’t view them mindset wise the way that I should when I look at a habit tracker and I have not completed it, it just feels like, it feels like, It’s just like a failing grade. Like I don’t feel like I’m learning and growing from it.

I feel instead, like it’s just showing the days that I failed, so I don’t use one and if your planner’s making you feel like that too, then use your planner differently, figure out a different way that works for you and feels good and keeps you on track and keeps you like feeling positive about your days.

All right, so I’m the type of person who needs structure in my life and I need a place to organize all of my thoughts, but also my thoughts are messy and I have to brain dump before I put things in my planner a lot of the time. And also I don’t like a strict schedule, and I don’t like being told what to do, even if it’s me telling me what to do.

That all being said, there are days that I don’t even look at my planner and I just keep a reminders list in my phone and set alarms, um, in my phone throughout the day to keep me on track with what I need to be doing and where I need to be going, and making sure I don’t forget to pick my kid up from school on time and all of that kind of stuff.

So, yeah, some days I’m way on top of things and I’m looking at my planner, and other days I’m just winging it and I set timers in my phone and I just, I do it as I go, you know?, so there’s that. I’ve also been asked about dealing with a sense of dread , regarding filling out your planner. So if you’re looking at like a blank page in your planner and you’re feeling paralyzed by it and you’re just getting this sense of dread, Overfilling it out.

I wanna tell you it’s okay to have empty days in your planner, and it’s also okay to like take a notebook and just brain dump everything before you put it in your planner. If you’re feeling perfectionistic about how you’re writing things and you wanna get it right the first time, brain dumping beforehand can be super helpful.

And that’s why I put a brain dump in my daily planner before planning your week. the weekly planner only has a brain dump once a month. So sorry about that. That’s just how it is, but yes, doing a brain dump can be super helpful. And if you’re getting like, paralyzed about blank pages, I just want you to know like it’s okay to have blank pages.

It’s okay to not use your planner every single day. I don’t. . And it’s also, okay, some of the days where I don’t plan anything, I will just keep track of what I’m doing throughout the day by writing it in my planner, just so I have a reference for like, how did I spend that day? If I wanna look back and be like, well, was this a really busy week?

Did I do a lot? Like, was I out of the house a lot? Did I, you know, have a lot of projects going on? And I’ll just write like as I go in my planner, and that’s fine too. And that’s that, but also I know about dealing with a sense of dread over like all the things that need to be done, feeling really restrictive about your planner and just feeling like there’s so much to do.

And honestly, like I wake up with a sense of dread a lot of mornings, like not just like a sense of dread, but like a lot of anxiety over everything that needs to get done. Just because I have like this, this whole morning routine of like, okay, I have to get up, I have to put in my contacts, I have to get my kid breakfast, I have to let the dogs out.

I have to let the chickens out. I have to do this, I have to do that. And it like builds up and it all tries to like pile on me at one time. and it’s usually like first thing in the morning, like putting in my contacts, like, you know, day has not even started and I’m feeling this sense of anxiety over everything that needs to get done

and I’m just thinking about my morning, not even the full day, like that’s not even considering what’s for dinner and all that stuff, but I just, I simply overcome this. , there’s, there’s two questions you can simply ask yourself, which is like, what are you actually afraid of? And what’s the worst that could happen?

Like literally walking yourself through the worst that could happen, but more when it’s dealing with my anxiety over what’s going on is I will simply breathe deeply and repeat, between two different phrases, between remembering one thing at a time. Just do one thing at a time. Why? And then also the phrase, like it will all get done just as it always does.

Like everything will be completed in the right timing. And I just breathe deeply and alternate those two phrases and remind myself, you know, it’s okay. It’s gonna be okay. It’s always okay. We’ll get through this.

I wanted to address when your day gets off course, because of course it always will. I mean, not always, but I mean like there will always be days where your day doesn’t go as planned. Like it’s inevitable that that’s going to happen at some point. And the simple answer to that, to that is grace.

Giving yourself grace, and if this seems to be happening a lot, that you’re always getting off course and your day is never going as planned, the simple, obvious suggestion, suggestion to this is to get in the habit of planning less. Stop trying to plan out your full day. If it’s not going as planned, it’s not gonna hurt to just not plan it.

It’s okay to make your busy days well-planned, and then to wing it the rest of the week. Like if you have a couple days a week where you’re like, I know I have to be outta the house and doing a bunch of things, and these days are packed with stuff, it’s okay to, well plan those days to plan them down to the minute, and then the days you have off from that, the days where you don’t have to be out and doing things all the time, it’s okay to just not plan those days.

and to just wing it and be like, well, we’ll figure it out when we get there. Right, I also wanna address working from a restful state or what I’m starting to call slow productivity, or peaceful productivity, let’s call it that. Peaceful productivity. I’m even gonna make a note of that. So I remember that.

Cause I like that. So as an Enneagram nine, I love living in the gray area. So if you’re unfamiliar with Enneagrams or you’re unfamiliar with the number nine, I am the peacemaker. I am what’s known as someone who will do anything to avoid conflict and to just keep everyone around me someone would call me hi, highly sensitive.

Some would call me an empath, but I absorb the energy around me. So it’s very important for me to like, keep everyone around me happy, which, you know, is something I’m working on, is being my own peacemaker of myself and keeping myself at peace instead of joining my cup empty to keep everyone else happy.

That’s just a person struggle of mine, personal thing I’m working through, but I love living in the gray area and sometimes this can be a really, really great thing. So life doesn’t always have to be black and white. It’s not about either or. There is another option and it’s called, and I love and.

Okay. Because you don’t have to choose between having a restful day and a productive day. You can have both at the same time. Okay. Not every day has to be one or the other. And I really love the way that, Allie Casazza talks about working from a place of rest, and she is the absolute reason that I write so many of my emails and do my podcast outlines from the bathtub.

Because you can do your work from a restful place. You can be super comfy and cozy while working. I mean, yeah, obviously there’s some types of work that you can’t, you know, , but if there’s something you can do to make your work more fun, more enjoyable, a little bit better, then do that. Like when it comes time to make dinner, what can you do to have more fun making dinner or to make it more of a peaceful experience?

Can you light a candle? Can you play some soft music? What can you do to be peacefully productive?

Okay, friend, I’m going to link in the description of this episode. Information to my Guide bundle. Okay. The guide bundle is relatively new. I have taken all of my best guides and principles and planning and workbooks from my Etsy shop. All of the printable stuff, the, the digital downloads, and I’ve put them all in one place where you can make one purchase and get, about a dozen different files.

So in this guide bundle . There’s this great resource, it’s called the Self-Love Starter Kit, that’s all about growing in self-love, and it’s gonna walk you through exercises to accept yourself, to love yourself, and to kind of grow in some confidence.

But also, I have the quick Declutter Guide, which is gonna help you get started. Easing the environmental overwhelm around you. I have the Happy Mom Brain Workbook. That’s right. The Happy Mom Brain Workbook is in the Guide bundle. It’s a digital download version, not the same one. You’d get off Amazon and have delivered to your house.

This is the digital version, but all the information is still in there. It’s exactly the same. I, it’s also got my monthly goal planner, which is very similar to the Everyday Joy Planner. It just doesn’t have daily or weekly views to it. It’s just your month, but it’s got all the planning and all of those kinds of guided questions about your month plans and month organization in that, that can be super helpful.

The meal planning guide, because planning dinner. , like deciding what’s for dinner can really suck. The meal guide is gonna walk you through how to plan your dinners and it’s got all the templates you need for planning your dinners for running a family, a family menu, grocery shopping templates, all of that in there.

This also has the gratitude guide, which is gonna walk you through how to grow gratitude. It’s all my best advice on really getting into an attitude of gratitude. It’s got over a hundred journal prompts. It’s got my entire affirmations collection, and it has a bunch of adult coloring pages that I am really excited to be sharing with you guys.

So I’m gonna link that below, the guide bundle. And I’ll tell you right now, up front, it’s 23 bucks. The value far exceeds that. If you were to buy each of these things individually on Etsy, it would be over $36. and Etsy prices are even discounted from what these things are worth. A lot of websites, a lot of other businesses, if they were selling these things, they would be charging at least double what I sell.

But like I’ve mentioned before, I grew up on Walmart clearance racks and I am just really into a good deal and I love passing on savings to people. So if I can save you money, by not making as much money myself, I will do that because. That’s the Enneagram nine in me, the peacemaker, the problem solver, conflict avoider.

I’m just here to pour out to you , so I’m gonna link that below the guide bundle if you’re interested in that.

About Me

Hi, I’m Brittni, a mom who’s determined to share my light, wisdom, and joyfulness with every mom. My desire is that every woman knows she is worthy of ease and joy and finds the encouragement and motivation to pursue her best life possible.

I live in rural Oregon with my husband and 3 sons. I never dreamed of being a boy-mom, but now I can’t imagine life not surrounded by toy dinosaurs, race cars, and fart noises.

Let’s hang out

Let me help you make the mundane easier, so you have more time and energy for what you really love! Start by grabbing the Mindset Makeover here:


Published by Brittni Clarkson

Hi, I'm Brittni, author, podcaster, transformational speaker, and a mom of 3 boys, passionate about helping moms overcome the overwhelm and actually ENJOY MOTHERHOOD.

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