Planning is a critical part of living with mental illness.
I have been using a personal planner for just over a year, so I wanted to share some of my ideas and tips with you to help you!
Today I’ll be going over the very basics.
Step One: Buy a planner that works.
I bought my first Erin Condren LifePlanner last June. Although it was an investment, I am still happy with my decision to spend a little more. If you use the link above, you will get $10 off your planner (I will also get a $10 credit). I love that the Erin Condren LifePlanner splits each day into three sections. They also have many options like horizontal, vertical, and hourly, and you can customize your cover.
If you are not ready to drop $50 on a planner (and I don’t blame you!), I highly recommend the Happy Planner ($30), which I used below to create a mock spread. It looks a little bit like the Erin Condren LifePlanner, but it might require a little extra customization to fit your needs.
Of course, there are other options out there, so I suggest you do some exploring and find the right solution for you.
Step Two: Find a system.
It takes experimentation to find a planning system that works for you. I don’t like organizing my day by Morning/Afternoon/Night, so I cover those labels with washi tape to say Events/To Do/Mood. For Events, I write what I’m doing that day. This helps me realize when I am over-scheduling myself. I also try to reserve one “free” day per week if possible. For To Do, I come up with two items that I want to accomplish each day. This also helps with preventing over-scheduling. Finally, for Mood, I rank my mood from 1-10, and I write down if I took my morning and evening meds. I like to put stars on days when I was a 7 or higher, and I like to circle days when I was a 4 or lower.
I also like to keep track of things I am thankful for each week.
Step Three: Bust out the stickers – it’s time to decorate.
A little decoration helps me to look forward to using my planner. I like to pick three colors to use per week. In the spread below, I picked red, orange, and green. I also bought some inexpensive sticker sunflower sheets at Walmart. You can also add your own doodles, stamps, washi tape, page flags – the list goes on.
I realize now that the mock spread I created looks a little busy. I guess I was having too much fun with the decorating part. It’s easy to get out of control, especially when you find the planning communities and Etsy stores online.
In my next post, I’m going to dig a little deeper into the nuances of planning with mental illness. I’ll expand on mood tracking, and I’ll share some of my favorite sticker stores.