Introducing Planning with Purpose: 31 Days of Planner Tips – October 1-31


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“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” ~Anatole France

Welcome to my new series for October. Hands down this year my topic for the Nester’s 31 Days Series, had to be planners and  planning. I am pretty excited about the topic and it is one that is near and dear to my heart. My own history with planner love started out many moons ago. Dinosaurs still roamed the earth. Life was simpler then.

OK, OK, but truthfully, life was simpler when I used my first planner. I was attending community college, working part time, and single. Friends, life was a breeze. I remember my first little At- A -Glance Agenda like it was yesterday. What prompted me to use a planner was actually my first Personal Training Job. Before then, I don’t know what I did…I just went to classes, worked wacky hours with little sleep and basically showed up, by the grace of God, in all the places I was supposed to be without much adieu.

Fast forward. I graduated to a Day Runner style planner once I began running my own Personal Training Business. It was like a rite of passage. That Planner went with me everywhere. I recall taking a trip to West Palm Beach in 1990, only to discover I had left my precious planner in the airport at some point. The feeling I had, felt as if I lost one of my best friends. My planner served as my partner, really. I realized I had every important business document in that one portable place the day it disappeared, including my, at the time,  brand new “incorporation” papers. Miraculously, 3 days later, the airport phoned and told me my planner was safe and sound. Better still, also very convenient, it was in my own state. That experience was a quick education on what goes in the planner and what does not. However, my planner is still a very significant part of my life.

I have three books that are crucial to my peace of mind. My personal journal, my planner and my Bible. I  have an abundance of the three. But most  always, I keep one of each within reach.

This series, is not to sell you on a certain planner or planning system (That being said I will share my current system in an upcoming post). I have used many, both successfully and unsuccessfully. I have attended seminars taught by a number of time management specialists in the field of Planners, Planning and Time Management.

Let me put it this way:  Using a planner is not unlike anything else in life available to optimize our ability to live our best life. It’s like an Exercise Program or Gym. If we use it, it is beneficial to us, right? If  we  don’t…not so much.

Investing time and money in something we do not use is not practical. It’s not the planner itself, or the exercise program, or the particular gym. All of which I have had much experience in as well!

It is the habit that is crucial. If we do not develop the planner habit, no planner or magical planner printable page is going to help us. If we don’t develop the exercise habit, no awesome program or gym membership is going to get us into shape.

In reality the key to success in both realms lies in our ability to persevere, stay flexible and adapt the planner (or program) to our specific need. Most importantly, we don’t throw the baby out with the bath water, right? Or the gym membership out. Well, actually if you are not using it, YES, you do. Go and cancel it. BUT, find another way to do what you know you need to do. I love the saying, “Where there is a will, there is a way.” It’s true. Set your mind, and it will be done. If the planner is not working, whether set up, sheets, or whatever…chuck it or them (or graciously give them away) BUT don’t you dare throw out the habit!

So whether you are a planner drop out, planner addict or downright planner phobic, I am here to shed some light, have some fun, share some insight, encouragement and resources with the hope I will help balance whatever end of the spectrum you are on, in your current planning season, for the good!

Please note: The posts will be short and include a practical tip, a quote, and a planner prayer/meditation daily. 

I asked a few questions in my initial Planner Shout Out  and will put them here as well to give you all a chance to ponder and respond in the comment section:


1.) Do you use a Planner ?

2.) If not why, and if so, what are the biggest challenges, obstacles you face in your day-to-day usage?

3.) If you do use a planner now, do you believe you are using it successfully, and if not, why not?

4.) What kind of tips would be most helpful for you to see here in October? 

* Feel free to answer any or all of these!

Help me, help you! 😉

**One more thing: This will be the official “Landing Page” for all of the Planning with Purpose posts. You will be able to find a link to this post on my sidebar throughout October for easy access to each of the 31 Days here as they are available.  I will do my best to get the link up as soon as it goes live, but if I overlook it, feel free to give me a holla!

Thanks for joining me on this journey, I look forward to seeing you here in the days ahead! 

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Coming Soon: 31 Days of…

Intro Post: Introducing Planning with Purpose: 31 Days of Planner Tips/Landing Page for all posts

Day 1:  My Planner Perspective in One Picture

Day 2: To Do or Be: The Real Question

Day 3: KISS my …Planner

Day 4: The Planner’s Day Off

Day 5: Ode To The Master Planner

Day 6: Oh, Monday- How I Adore Thee!

Day 7: On Reading, Lists and Playdates

Day 8: Life IS Your Mission- Mission Based Planning

Day 9: The Day That Got Away (When Things Don’t Go As You Planned)

Day 10: Top Tips for (Wanna Be) Planner People

Day 11: Longing for Languid Days

Day 12: The Master Planner and Me

Day 13: Trusting God with our Time (Guest Post by Laura Boggess) 

Day 14: Relinquishing Control

Day 15: One Thing (5 Questions to Shape Your Day)

Day 16: A Planner Tale with a Happy Ending

Day 17: More Top Tips for (Wanna Be) Planner People

Day 18: The Planner-Journal Connection

Day 19: I’m Fascinated By His Love

Day 20: The Planner Rebel: This One’s For You!

Day 21: The Serenity Prayer (Modified) For Planner People

Day 22: Journal It: Your Perfectly Planned Day

Day 23: Planning Big (Guest Post & Giveaway with Jenny Penton)

Day 24: Making Time for Small and Simple Pleasures

Day 25: Even More Top Tips for (wanna Be) Planner People

Day 26: Praying and Living with Joy 

Day 27: Everybody Wants To Be A Time Lord

Day 28: Why Some Days Require Pie

Day 29: Color Coding, Creativity and Calendars- Oh My!

Day 30: Confessions and a Word on Planner Peace

Day 31: The Impact of “Plans” Unforeseen

 “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.”  ~Benjamin Franklin

Linking with Create with Joy

Published by enthusiasticallydawn

Dawn Paoletta is the author of Journaling for Discovery and Delight. Her writing is included in several anthologies and her poems have been included in the Wickford Poetry and Art Exhibit and Books. Dawn is currently working on her next book. Inquiries at

83 thoughts on “Introducing Planning with Purpose: 31 Days of Planner Tips – October 1-31

  1. I am so excited can you tell?
    1.) Do you use a Planner ? Yes currently I am using two. One for work and one for home. The one that suffers the most is the one for home.

    2.) If not why, and if so, what are the biggest challenges, obstacles you face in your day-to-day usage? Day to day usage as far as my home planner is a matter of time for me. I do my work planner at work but my home planner always get shoved back as I would rather spend time in God’s Word that plan. I know right.

    3.) If you do use a planner now, do you believe you are using it successfully, and if not, why not? No I am not using it to its fullest potential. I am missing appointments and not tracking to do’s properly.

    4.) What kind of tips would be most helpful for you to see here in October?
    Accountability in planning. how to successful track to do’s, goals, dreams and projects.


    1. 1. I am glad you are excited!
      2. I totally get this…balance is a challenge- some days are better than others for me. I think making a little progress can be a great encouragement. Hope we can come up with useable strategies, or encouragement to help!
      3. So we need to pin point why. How abpout planning to open the planner at a certain point no matter what? Routines will be covered. How to make them successful…and how not to throw in the towel when we fail.
      4. We have 31 days to work on it. Let’s build something….wait that’s Lowes commercial I think? Let’s Do This!

      Se you soon, Hugapoohloise!


  2. I am so excited! Can you tell?

    1.) Do you use a Planner ? Yes. One for home and one for work.

    2.) If not why, and if so, what are the biggest challenges, obstacles you face in your day-to-day usage? I am not very faithful to my home planner.

    3.) If you do use a planner now, do you believe you are using it successfully, and if not, why not?
    No I am not. I need to track to do’s better and be faithful to my home planner.

    4.) What kind of tips would be most helpful for you to see here in October?
    Accountability. How to track to do’s, goals, dreams, projects etc.


  3. Love this, Dawn! And of course, the whole point is not just to plan, but to plan with PURPOSE–His purpose. Honestly, until I read about your planner passion, I thought there must be something a little wrong w/ me (well, not wrong, but eccentric)! Michael really thought I was kidding when one year for Christmas I requested a Franklin Covey Planner. He didn’t get it, because it sounded really practical and unexciting. I was so disappointed, and so I went out and treated myself to one. It really *was* what I had wanted as a gift! I first learned about the idea of a planner from my mentor Anne Ortlund, now living out the fruits of her planning with Jesus in heaven, when I read her book, Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman. Honestly, I think that her idea of using a “notebook” was the mother/prototype o f all great planners. So, using her ideas, I just put together a notebook, with all the various tabs. But using Franklin-Covey…..well, no, first Dayrunner, made it much more professional. It did not have a Christian application though. There was a really neat Christian planner called DayMaster, but Sandi Lucas no longer makes it. Then I went to Franklin-Covey, and yet it didn’t have the color I liked. I knew I wanted something with flair, where maybe I could draw pix, do mindmaps, create collage, and do some journaling. I foudn something called Sacred Journey Planner ( There are a # of features I really love about it, like creamy, heavy paper that will “take” drawing and collaging/glue, and places to write goals, your credo, journal entries, etc. But I ultimately stopped using it, because there was not enough room to put my appointments or really to journal (just short entries). It has a decidedly weird, New Age element to it, which I don’t like. But because my head was on straight, and I didn’t buy into all of that, I just ignored it, taking what I could. But in the end, it wasn’t working for me. Next,I tried a Moleskine planner, which looked professional, but there was not enough room to write, and frankly, the paper quality if inferior. So I dropped that. Now, I am using Planner Pad. It’s recommended by paper-organizing guru, Barabara Hemphill, author of Taming the Paper Tiger. SHe apparently stopped using a digital planner, and prefers the simplicity of this one. I really like the fact that you can see the week all laid out on two pages. There’s a place for miscellaneous notes, daily to-do’s, and your schedule. ….also for calls and perhaps a shopping list. You can customize it. There is a place for phone #s, goals, and long-range calendar pages. You can get it in spiral or loose-leaf. Interestingly, I found a lady who uses the monthly spread to do her art-journaling-collage of her goals for the month.
    Again, overall, her site is way too New-Agey for me, so I don’t read it, but I thought her concept of collaging monthly goals was interesing. I am realizing the oider I get, the more color I need. There’s a great quote in The Message that talks about color. I need to find that. I digress……but these are just some of the tools I’ve used over the years. But I am finding that I need to invent a neat Christian planner that would utilize some of these design elements that I love and that cheer me on to make plans. Can’t wait to see what you are offering here, Miss Dawn. Soooo grateful to you!


    1. Hi Lynn…AND Kel…Oh my, I have been missing all of this commentary! LOL. I was out all day and here some of my very favorite people are here without me. Boo! Well, I know of that book, and by Ann O. Have perused it and yes I do believe she and many other lovely thinking women probably kept simple notepads and they were all creative in there own way…I attended many Franklin Covey programs and it is one of my fave products and resources. I have an orange one I’ll not part with hubs gave me for the birthday years ago. I love it. Sigh. SWOON. and Sigh again. I do not know why I love so much planners…but I will be writing about this as well in the upcoming days and how it relates to our relationship to and with God…anyhoo. Let’s see, yes, I did use the Planner Pad for a while while I was still working full time in PT. I did like it. Loved the layout. Very practical. I can work with just about anything…because the planner habit is so ingrained. I have multiple prototypes in my journals for the ultimate journal/scrapbook/planner…but I just do not think we creatives can be limited to ONE book. Right, Kel? What do you think, Lynn? Many women design there own, and I am part of a wonderful group of Planner peeps, who share free created templates and also sometimes help out to create them (those who can) for those who can’t to their own design! I will check the links you shared out…I may have seen the art journal collage one, as I am about that…love that exercise and have done it many times throughout my life…Yes, you could design your own…I think everyone should kind of tailor to their own needs and desires…Love you…


      1. It’s interesting that you and Kel use several. I have always “heard” that one should stick to one so nothing gets lost. That was the beauty of Anne O’s system, although then you have lots of loose-leaf paper to store. And now that I have PlannerPad, it’s spiral, and harder for writing goals, etc. I realize I could get their looseleaf version and insert my own stuff, but i was hoping to simplify a bit. And I don’t like the idea of all that storage. i know that Covey makes these storage notebooks, but again, I didjn’t want to do that. I guess one could have an appointment planner and then a lifeplanner. I’ll be interested for you (and Kel and others) to share more about this. As far as customizing and just designing my own, which in a way I did early on, I don’t like that the quality isn’t there. I love the idea of really nice paper that doesn’t bleed, etc. That is what I liked about Sacred Journey. The paper is thick an velum-y. But I hated it’s awkward spiral and no real good way to put app;ointments down. And I didn’t like the New Age element, though as I’d said, I just ignored it. You don’t have to throw the baby out w/ the bathwater, but overall, it didn’t work so well for me. I wish I could design something that could be reproduced at not too great of an expense. Oh, and Anne, included written prayers in her notebooks, but I definitely put mine in a regular journal. Just some thoughts……. Thanks for doing this! Excellent.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Lynn, I appreciate you sharing these thoughts. It is helpful. I should clarify though…I do only use one planner, but I write too much to really carry that around all the time. I do like the idea of Jenny Penton who also keeps it VERY simple…as her own mother did. They were influenced by Anne Ortland as well. And I love Jenny’s life-planning for women approach instead of being task masters…I think I had that paperback by Ann years ago – it was a pink cover. Right?


    2. YES! I was 16 and babysitting for a mom of 2 when I discovered Anne Ortlund’s Disciplines. It. Changed. My. Life. I’ve used a planner ever since. When I finally got to go to an actual Franklin store about 25 years ago, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven!!!!! I remember almost feeling like I was going to throw up I was so excited. I have used a Franklin planner ever since.


    3. Sandi Lucas does have a Christian planner site now called The Blaze Planner! I’ve been looking for it for years and just discovered it!


  4. My big question is what keeps me from keeping track of life in one place? I have appts on a wall calendar and on my phone, but not the same appts on both. I also create weeks at a glance in my journal…I look forward to you wisdom O wise one 🙂


    1. I get this…I actually do week views in my journal. I think for me, Kel- it’s the difference between my Planner and my journal. My planner is me on the go…I try to keep it a record of my activities and a director of my to gos, to dos, and must gets, and not forgets. Kind of the superficial. But now I try to squeeze in aspects of creativity more purposefully…for fun. And to make me want to use it. YET I do not want it to be my everything…because there is no planner big enough for that! lol. My journal is my place of soul revelation, and rambling heart cries – it is a continuous journey of the inner me on a journey of transformation. Yet there are random s in there. Lord, knows! I will be sharing more on this theme…


  5. Ha! Freudian slip. I didn’t write “woman,” but “women,” which implies your jewel-facted nature–lots of talents and lots of stuff going on in your life and in your head!


    1. Will check these…but honestly I can give you a million links to some amazing etsy shops that have every kind of planner page imaginable. I think we need to use something , keep it simple. And let it be…we are creative souls with limitless possibilities reflecting a God who can not be bound to a “perfect planner”. Maybe the desire for that one perfect planner would bind us too closely to the here and now. This earthly existence. Maybe the desire is something we need to release to God. Ultimately. Just rambling here. Hope this makes sense. Heading into the deep end. 😉


  6. I just went back to using a paper planner after using strictly Google calendar and my iPhone for a few years. 1) I wasn’t really looking at my calendar on a daily basis, mainly when I knew something was coming up; 2) On my phone it’s hard to get “the big picture”; 3) I’m terrible at journaling and hoping recording little tidbits in my planner (I’ve left room for that) on a regular basis might get my mind thinking that way. It’s just good to hold it in your hands or on your lap and put pen or pencil to paper. I use my planner for my calendar, recording prayer requests & praises, keeping track of my housecleaning routines, notes, coupons, shopping lists. It’s really a work in progress since I’ve just gone back to it this week. I print my own pages for maximum flexibility. I look forward to seeing your tips!


  7. Excellent topic. I am excited to follow along with this! Here are my answers to the questions you posed:
    1.) Do you use a Planner ?
    I have a planner but I don’t use it to its full potential! I have a small zippered planner that was given to me when I was in the Army. It is camouflaged and well-worn, and out-dated, but it is all mine and has seen me through almost 2 decades.

    2.) If not why, and if so, what are the biggest challenges, obstacles you face in your day-to-day usage?
    I want to be able to customize the inserts to meet my needs, not just what I can buy at Office Depot. I also find that I have way too many sticky notes throughout that are never transferred to a more permanent location in my planner.

    3.) If you do use a planner now, do you believe you are using it successfully, and if not, why not?
    Sometimes I think I am too busy and just don’t use it…but then I end up forgetting half of what I should have done, or trying to remember if I did or didn’t do specific things.

    4.) What kind of tips would be most helpful for you to see here in October?
    Motivation to use it and ideas for consistency and creating routine when using a planner.


    1. I really hope I cover exactly what you are saying…I am hoping to write about cultivating the planner “habit” and also I have lots of ideas for persoanlizing which I will be sharing. Also on my You Tube channel, I have shared customizing and personalizing planners. Here’s to our planner victories and success!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. 1.) Do you use a Planner ?
    I do! I’ve used a Franklin Covey planner – Classic size for the past 25 years. Even worked in one of their retail store because I was passionate about their planners!

    2.) If not why, and if so, what are the biggest challenges, obstacles you face in your day-to-day usage?
    I constantly fight the size issue. I want the convenience of the half-size with the roominess of a full page! I drive myself and my husband crazy with my out loud conversations about this.

    3.) If you do use a planner now, do you believe you are using it successfully, and if not, why not?
    I use my planner for EVERYTHING. It holds me entire life – from plans to lists to brainstorming to quiet time notes and everything else!

    4.) What kind of tips would be most helpful for you to see here in October?
    Anything you throw at me is going to make me happy. I love hearing how other people use their planners. I love seeing photos of planners. (My Instagram follows certainly prove THAT.) #imanerd


    1. Hi Jacque,
      Oh, I love you already! I am a hard core Franklin Girl. I used to go back between compact and Classic all the time! I really wanted to work for them and I attended multiple training’s with the company. I recently gave away a few of my oldies…but I have one burnt orange slimline…leather- oh it is my girl!

      I will look for you on Instagram! We are destined to be friends!


      1. I read your reply to my husband to prove I’m not the only person like me. He just shook his head. Sigh. 🙂 I don’t have one single real life friend who uses a planner like I do. I was so glad when I started seeing all the FB groups and Instagrammers who use their planners! Yay! I have people!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I just pinned your site to read as I have time! I just got new planners for next year and am in the process of figuring out what system is going to be best to keep myself organized and productive! 😀 (sorry, I didn’t answer your specific questions but the screen is blurry and I’m about to log off but wanted to post a quick comment 😉 )


  10. great topic! i use my planner each and every day–like you, i need my bible, planner and journal! i feel so much more at peace and like i can live in the moment when i know that i have everything written down that i need to get done on my list, where i don’t have to keep it in my mind all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am the same way – if I don’t get it out of my head and into the planner it might not happen in real life! 😉 Hope you have been enjoying the series. I just realized their were more comments on this post. Hope you are enjoying #write31days!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. 1.) Do you use a Planner? Yes, I am using a weekly planner.

    2.) If not why, and if so, what are the biggest challenges, obstacles you face in your day-to-day usage? My biggest challenge is not having the different areas (or roles) organized in my planner where I can properly schedule and arrange tasks. I want sections for each area.

    3.) If you do use a planner now, do you believe you are using it successfully, and if not, why not? No. I want to make a planner tailored to my needs, but haven’t taken the time to do so.

    4.) What kind of tips would be most helpful for you to see here in October? Not sure.


    1. Hi Tami, Hope that this series will help you- I am sorry I just saw this comment now BUT am going to be doing a short planner instructional video which allows for tailoring a simple planner to determine what type of planner format will work for you…hoping to have it up by the weekend! Thanks for answering these questions!


  12. In true form, I’m late to this party! Still, I’m thrilled to find it and will be living an October-like November as I go through your daily posts, optimistically! Thanks for the effort!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m in.

    I on’t currently use a planner system but do rely on my fridge calendar and my daily journal. That said, I need more of this to stay on top of how productive I want to be.

    Do we need to sign up or anything?


    1. Hi Jeanne! I lead a planner boot camp which sounds like a good match for you and is based on these posts! This is my 2014 “write 31 days ” effort! I have been working on revisions of this for awhile. This year I’m most likely doing journaling with psalms but not 100 percent sure yet! Thanks for visiting! I am planning pbc for January 2017 tentatively.

      Liked by 1 person

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