8 Simple Planner Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make

Got yourself an amazing planner but still find that you’re not being productive? You may be making these common planner mistakes!

It’s an easy misconception to think that once you have a planner everything will start to run smoothly. You will be more organized, productivity is at a maximum and you can start smashing your goals. 

Unfortunately, it isn’t so simple. 

You can actually make some pretty costly planner mistakes that stop your planner from being as effective as it could be. And I know from personal experience that these mistakes can sometimes really get you down.

You might start asking yourself…Why isn’t my planner working? What am I doing wrong?

The awesome news is that these mistakes are so easy to fix once you know what you’re doing wrong!

So if you are not seeing the results you want from your planner keep reading to see if you are accidentally making some of these easy-to-make mistakes.

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Planner Mistakes

goal setting planner

1.Using Your Planner Like Someone Else

I don’t mean pretending you are Jennifer Anniston for the day when I say you may be using your planner like you are someone else. 

No, this is a much easier mistake to make.

It’s about copying how others use their planners and trying to use their systems exactly. I promise you, this will not work! 


We are all beautifully unique and we all have our own style, routines, and ways to get things done.

Making sure you use a planner that is customizable to your needs and wants is vital for planner success.

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For example, some find they are super productive by having their day time-blocked. Others love just having a list of must-dos and working around this as their moods and times work. You need to find what works best for you rather than copying someone else’s planner exactly. 

This doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel. 

It’s okay to see ideas you love and try them. It just means being willing to experiment and take ideas from here and there to create a planner that works for YOU. 

2.Planner Perfectionism

We all may be a little guilty of this one! 

It’s so easy to focus on making your planner look amazing. Getting all the colors just right, adding stickers, matching fonts and pens….and the big one…never making mistakes.

But these things don’t make your planner work better. In fact, they can sometimes do the opposite.

If you get caught up in making your planner look perfect it can take up precious time you could be doing more useful things or even make you stop using your planner at all. 

I have known some of my readers put off using their planners because they were so worried they would ruin it. 

This makes me so sad. 

A planner is a working tool. It’s okay to experiment and make mistakes. This is what helps you create an amazing planner that improves your life. 

If you like to make your planner look pretty because it brings you joy then that is fantastic. But if being artistic makes you stressed out and less productive then it’s okay to have a planner that doesn’t look like it belongs on Instagram.

3.Not Including Everything In Your Planner

Oh, I am so guilty of this one. 

It’s the planner version of sticking your head in the sand!

Sometimes there may be things that I don’t really want to deal with so I don’t add them to my planner. And although that may make me feel slightly better for all of 10 minutes, it usually comes back to haunt me.

It is much more sensible to try and break that big thing down into a few smaller action steps that you can put in your planner. If something seems so huge and daunting that you can’t seem to bear to add it to your planner. Think about how you could tackle it in smaller and less stressful chunks. 

For example, seeing “Organise family Thanksgiving” in big letters on your planner page is enough to make anyone weak at the knees. But if instead, you had one day’s task as, “pick the first course for Thanksgiving” and then another as “ organize table setting for Thanksgiving”. It seems much more doable.

Another point for not including everything is forgetting to add all the small things into your planner. You may think that a task, appointment, or chore is so small it doesn’t need adding to your pages. But all these small things can add up very quickly. Leaving you frazzled when you realize you have much more to do than you thought. 

Be sure to add ALL your tasks down and you can then plan accordingly.

4.Not having A Planner Routine

A planner by itself just doesn’t work. The magic ingredient is YOU!

So you need to create a planner routine with some basic steps. 

The first step is making time to plan. You may like to do this just before bed or first thing in the morning. Whatever works for you is great. It’s all about setting aside a set time each day to fill out your planner for the day or week.

Next, you have to get into the habit of looking at your planner throughout the day. By referring back to your planner often you are able to check you are on track to getting everything you wanted to be done. 

I often leave my planner open on a bench that I know I walk past a few times a day so I am reminded to check in on how I am going with my goals and to-do list. You may prefer to check-in during your coffee break or at another time that suits you. Just be sure to make it a habit.

5. Not Reviewing Your Planner

Reviewing is such an important part of planning but something that a lot of people forget to do.

There are a few things that you should take the time to review which will make your planner work better for you.

The first is after each day. 

Make this part of your daily planner routine. Take the time to see how your past day went. What you managed to achieve and what didn’t get done. How smoothly your day went and what went wrong. 

Think about if you tried to fit too much in your day, or what you could have done to make your day better. Sometimes things happen that are out of our hands but more often it is that we could have planned better. 

Next, is more long-term reviewing. 

I like to review my weekly and monthly plans as well as one at the end of the year. Taking this time to reflect has made such an impact on my life. I can see much more clearly where improvements can be made, what wastes my time and it also has helped me better at goal setting and achieving. 

I am positive it will be a big help to you too.

6. Planning Without Purpose

Why did you start planning? 

You may think that the answer is pretty obvious but getting very clear and specific on what you want to achieve with your planner means that you will use it to make the biggest improvements. 

It’s a good idea to write down a few things you want to gain from having a planner. Maybe you want to stop forgetting important things in your life. Or perhaps you want to start developing better habits? Or maybe you want a planner to help you be a total boss babe.

Think of these as your goals, then use your planner as a tool to make these goals happen. 

What pages in your planner or going to help make these things happen? What things do you need to track? What parts of a planner do you need, and what pages will be irrelevant to you?

Knowing this is going to make your planner really work for you.

7. Not Planning For Your Wellbeing

Taking time to look after yourself is often something people forget to add to their planners. This means it ends up as not a priority and often doesn’t happen at all.

We add all the things we have to do for others into our planner pages but forget to add those things that make us healthy and happy. Taking care of ourselves makes us more productive and allows us to have a full tank to look after others in our lives. 

Be sure to book time important self-care habits. These could be gratitude, spa time, exercise, or meditation. 

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8. Making Your Planner Too Complicated

One of my biggest tips for becoming a planner pro is to start simple! 

This counts for many levels of planning. 

From having a simple code system in your planner so you don’t have to write out everything in full ( it could be shorthand, symbols, or stickers) to not using too many planning pages.

Start with a few pages that will make a big impact and help you work towards your goals. This may be a daily or weekly page and a monthly planner. Or maybe you need a habit tracker? Really narrow down what pages are going to work for you and use them, to begin with. You can slowly add more pages as you get more productive and used to planning. 

If you have lots of pages it can be very overwhelming and make you stressed, less organized, and less productive. 

Another way to simplify your planner is when you are actually planning! Break down complicated tasks into simple tasks. Start filling in your planner with the most important tasks first then add others as time and energy permits. 

The more simple and focused your planner is the more effective it will be.

Make Your Planner Work Better

Free digital planner for beginners

Did you find some planner mistakes you were making? 

By just tweaking the way you use your planner you can make some big changes to your life.

A planner is a tool that we need to learn to use and it’s very normal to make some mistakes along the way. Once you start using your planner properly you will find it helps you get organized, be more productive, and that it is much easier to make your goals a reality.

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