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Women are obsessed with planners.  Just search Facebook groups, there are an endless supply of groups for every type of planner obsession there is.  They spend so much time and money buying a planner, stickers, fancy pens, washi tape, etc.  You name it.  They can spend at least a couple of hundred dollars on a planner and the accessories.  So even after all of that, planners still don’t work for most people.  Why? 

15 Reasons why planners don’t work for most people:


1. They buy into the myth planners = productivity

This is the biggest reason on this list planners don’t work for people.  It’s kind of like the diet industry.  Only buying diet pills, Slim Fast, or joining Weight Watchers doesn’t make you skinny and a planner doesn’t make you manage your time and master productivity. 

Buying a planner and writing in it every so often doesn’t make you productive.  A planner is just a tool.  Meaning you have to use it.  It won’t do the work for you.  It is a tool to help you manage your time and be more productive, but just owning it without using it doesn’t work.


2. Too big

A paper planner can be too big and bulky for you to carry around which defeats the purpose.  The purpose of a planner is to always know what you are doing and staying on top of it.  If you don’t have it with you all the time, how do you know what to do? You can still miss appointments and forget about deadlines.


3. Not customizable or too plain

Planners don’t fit everyone.  Some have financial stuff in them, and some don’t.  If they do have financial stuff, it might not be how you organize your finances.  There just isn’t a way to make one planner work for everyone which brings us to blank and plain planners. 

Blank and Plain Jane planners are too vanilla.  They aren’t customized enough.  If you have to write too much stuff in it and customize it too much, then that defeats the purpose of having a ready-made planner where you just fill in a few details.

4. Writing it in the planner doesn’t mean you will do it.

Some people instantly feel more productive just writing something down in the planner.  You aren’t doing anything until you’re actually doing the thing.  That bears repeating.

You aren’t doing anything until you’re actually doing the thing.

Writing it down does not equal productivity.


5. Can’t put reoccurring tasks, etc.

You can’t put reoccurring tasks in a paper planner.  You would have to buy a stamp or sticker to put it on every single day or every Monday.  It makes it harder to remember.  You have to manually add your child’s weekly therapy visit to all 52 Mondays in the year. 

You can’t put a meeting on the second Tuesday of every month in there automatically either.  You have to manually write it in each month.  If you are distracted when you are writing in your planner it might completely slip your mind that you have a meeting every second Tuesday and you might double book yourself.


6. It can get costly. 

Paper planners can get costly.  They cost an average of around $50 and then on top of it, most people want stickers, pens, washi tape, etc.  It can add up quickly.


7. Takes too long maintain.

When you add on all of the accessories, the time commitment to a paper planner adds up.  You can spend ½ a day or more just planning and then still not doing what you planned to do which is a complete waste of time. If it takes too long and is long and drawn out, the likelihood of you continuing to maintain it is slim to none.


8. Perfectionism

You don’t use the planner and scribble all in it or really do anything with it for that matter because it won’t be perfect.  You have to perfectly line up the Washi tape with the lines on the paper and you have to have a complicated 15 color pen system just to do your planner. 

You can’t plan until that sticker comes in the mail from Etsy that is just going to make it perfect and flawless!!  If you do it before then, it will mess up the planner.  Again, when you have a system that is overly complicated, you won’t continue to do it because it takes way too much work.


9. Expect planner to motivate you

Just because you wrote your dreamy complicated morning routine in your planner, doesn’t mean you will do it.  The planner doesn’t motivate you.  YOU have to motivate yourself.

10. You don’t make it a habit

You don’t make it a habit and part of your routine.  You forget to do it.  You might go great for a few weeks and then one month in, you don’t do it.  One week turns into another and another and another.  You forget about it and it starts getting dust caked up on it sitting on your nightstand or bookshelf.


11. You think it’s going to make you more productive

Planning and doing what’s on the plan can make you productive, but it doesn’t make you productive just because you wrote it down.  You still actually have to do the thing. People get so wound up creating to do lists and instantly feel productive because it looks like you’re going to have a productive week.  BUT you aren’t doing anything until you actually do the thing.


12. You treat it like a scrapbook party

Remember the Creative Memories Company from back in the 90s?  Everyone spent a ton of money on scrapbook supplies and most people never completed the scrapbook.  They spend $300 just to complete a few pages.  You don’t need 20 different colored pens and 10 different types of Washi tape to be productive.


13. You don’t really plan

You don’t really plan what you want to do each week.  You don’t plan out your goals.  You just scribble some doctors’ appointments and a birthday party in your planner.  You don’t really plan to balance your checkbook, run a mile, create a budget, declutter your house etc.  You just buy a $40 planner to keep track of appointments.


14. You make it way to complicated

You think to be productive you need a complex system of color-coding appointments, etc. You don’t need all of that.  Now, I’m all for color coding calendars, but you don’t need 20 different color codes.  A handful if that will do just fine.  If you make your system too complicated, it won’t last.  You have to create a system in a simple replicatable way, or you won’t continue to do every week.

15. You don’t maintain it

You don’t consistently do it week after week.  You do it in January for your New Year’s Resolution and quit by Valentine’s Day. You have to plan each week.


A planner will not make you productive.  You don’t need a complex system, $200 worth of supplies, and a whole Sunday to plan your life.  That’s too much.  You don’t need all of that.  So, if paper planners don’t work, what does?

A digital Google Calendar works much better.  You can even make it easier with Time Blocking. Time blocking and a digital Google calendar changed my life.  Literally.  I bounced around from planner to planner to planner.  I missed appointments, didn’t budget, etc.  You name it.

I thought I just needed to find the “right planner” and my life would be a piece of cake.  I was the problem.  I was placing the productivity in the planner not in me.  The digital calendar is much easier because you can setup reoccurring appointments, you can take it wherever you go, and you can color code it makes it easier.


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