How’s your self-care going this week? This week’s Self-Care Sunday episode was about planning. If you missed it, check it out here first before reading this post! The fifth step of starting a new or changing your current planning process is AUDITING. Auditing your planning system means reviewing the products you use — and how you use them — to plan.
Here’s how to get started:
1) Pros and Cons List
We love lists in this planning community, don’t we?!
The first step is to write down — or at least think about — what’s working and what’s not working about your planning system. This is purely for organizational purposes, though it does help you pinpoint the exact issues with your planner so you don’t get sidetracked.
This is also a really good time to review your past planner spreads to see how you are planning. You may realize patterns that you couldn’t see before! Perhaps you are using the to-do list and notes sections of your insert but don’t use the schedule section. Maybe you have an hourly planner but only use the lines as a to-do list.
Also, if you are stuck and don’t know where to start, consider these questions: Do you like the format of your planner? Is there enough space to plan? Does the planner meet your carry needs (i.e., can you plan on-the-go if you need to)? Most importantly, does your planner spark joy for you?
2) Evaluate the Cons List
So you now know what you like and don’t like about your planning process. If you pros outweigh your cons, that’s a really good sign. You probably don’t need to change anything.
Now if your list of cons is longer than your list of pros, then you definitely need to review the cons.
BUT you should also consider whether your cons are truly disadvantages. Are they cons because you discovered a new planner company and now want to buy everything from that company? (Bloop! Don’t worry I’m coming at myself for this one too.) If this is you — I get it. I think we’ve all been there! Take some time before making the purchase (like wait a week or two) and see if you feel the need to buy all the things from this new company.
3) Review Your Planner Research
Remember the planner “research” from steps two and three from this week’s Self-Care Sunday? I suggested that you consider how you like to plan and then seek planner inspiration.
Well it’s time to revisit that research!
Does your current planner system inspire you to plan? Does it fulfill your planning and scheduling needs? For example, maybe when you bought your planner, you were at a point in your life where you only needed to plan your schedule. Maybe life has changed and you need to plan and get your finances together! That’s okay, things happen. Revisit what works for you and the inspiration you found on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest. Find another planner system or process that may meet all of your needs.
4) Look for Templates or Inserts
Well, now you have a planner system and process in mind. Before you take the plunge and buy more planner supplies, you should “test” the new system or process first by looking for freebies, templates, or inserts.
A lot of companies have freebies on their website that you can use to test the layout first before buying the planner or other supplies.
If that doesn’t work, Facebook is home to many BST (buy/sell/trade) groups dedicated to specific planner companies. Join those groups! You’d be surprised at what inserts or planner systems you’ll find!
This step is important and should probably be where you spend most of your time. Once you have tried the planner layout or inserts for a few weeks or so, look back to see how you are using it. Do you feel that the layout or inserts are fulfilling all of your planner needs? If so, you’re ready to take the plunge!
5) Enjoy Your Planner System
You’ve done the hard work of auditing your planning system, so purchase and enjoy your planner! Better yet, if you completed an audit and realized that your system works for you, continue to enjoy it!
Auditing your planning system and process is important because if you don’t love your planner, or if your planner is not working for your life, you may use it less. We should all audit our planning ever so often because as our lives change, our planning should change as well. I like to audit my planning system and process quarterly, or after a big life event.
Do you enjoy auditing your planner system? In fact, when is the last time you audited your planning system?