We've all seen those beautiful planners on social media or YouTube -- perfect lettering, color-coordinated and seasonal themes, perfect drawings, and tons of stickers. Such planners are great for those who create them as part of their own creative time, but we aren't all that person: our planners tend to have a lot of scribbled out writing, lists and notes all over the place, and too many meetings crammed into one day. You may be surprised that using planner stickers can help us be more productive with our planners.
Yes, even for the most minimalist of us, functional stickers can help us better plan our time. Inspirational stickers here and there can help us keep motivated or have a laugh while using some of our own creativity. We've compiled a list of ways to use stickers for productivity in your planner.
- Allow white space. This is probably a no-brainer, but if you use up a lot of space with stickers, there's not much left space for actual planning. You need room to write down your plans, goals, lists, and unexpected events and tasks that always seem to arise.
- Flag important dates. Using stickers to make special events and meetings stand out will help you more easily plan your time. Use functional stickers like flags, icons, and banners. If using banners, ensure they have a good writing surface if you plan on writing on them so the ink doesn't smudge or completely wipe off.
Keep finances on track. Track your budget, expenses, and bills with functional stickers for pay days, due dates, savings deposits, and financial habit wins. Use them to keep your financial goals in front of you, and use motivational stickers when you reach or surpass a goal.
- Track the habits that matter. You can find stickers with blank areas meant for writing and tracking habits that YOU choose. Use these to help avoid the all-or-nothing thinking that can stop progress: see how much progress you make even when you can't perform a habit perfectly every day.
- Cover sections you're not using. Do you leave some planner sections empty, but find yourself scribbling notes on random paper? Cover up that planner space header with stickers on which you can write, name the space what you want, and use that space for those notes. Or, cover up the whole space with a big blank writable sticker or decorative sticker - whatever works for your needs. Remember: make your planner work for YOU; you can use these spaces however you want.
- Up-cycle an old planner. Do you have an old planner you've barely used, or is there a big sale on last year's planners? Use calendar stickers (month, day, numbers) to refresh that old planner and use it, knowing you upcycled something instead of letting it just sit on a shelf or throwing it out.
- Create order when planning activities. Using color-coded or icon stickers can make things simpler; just glance at your planner and you know what types of tasks and events you have that day. (We'll discuss planning using color-coding in a future blog post.)
- Hide mistakes or changed plans. Our best-laid plans are often changed as the month, week, or even day progresses. If you hate the look of a messy planner, you can use stickers to cover up scribbles.
- Practice self-care. Daily planning and journaling can improve mental health, increase productivity, and prevent burnout. Remember, self-care is very personal and is different for everyone; figure out what works best for YOU, not what others tell you should work. Ideas include meditation, a nature walk, going to the gym, engaging in a well-loved hobby, or learning something new. Celebrate the small wins and rest when needed by blocking out time on your calendar for yourself.
- Create a cohesive theme in your planner. It is fun to create themes for each month or week by combining complementary stickers and pen ink. you can often find sticker packs with a variety of options based on one theme, allowing you the flexibility to easily decorate your planner.
Remember that whatever planner you are using, it is yours to use as you wish. You can just use a black pen and not embellish anything, if that's what works best for you. If you want a bit more of an "at-a-glance" feeling, or prefer a bit more color and flexibility, the tips above should help.