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We've all been there, right? Cleaning out a desk or closet and encountering a stack of unused planning tools: calendars, planners, notepads, and stickers bought with the best intentions, but ultimately not used to their fullest potential. At Cultivate, we design beautiful and functional tools that are meant to be USED in pursuit of your most intentional life, and so today, we're here to help you put an end to those stacks of products gathering dust forever!
Here are five of our best tips for actually using the tools you've invested in.
1. Make sure the tools you've chosen are the right ones for you, and for the season you're in. For example, I will chat your ear off all day about how the PowerSheets® goal planner can be used by any woman to focus on what matters most, whether her goals are big and flashy or small and simple. But it is a system that requires a baseline level of commitment - to the Prep Work, to creating a monthly Tending List, and to checking in on progress regularly - to be used most effectively.
If that's not realistic for you in your current season, choose something that is! You might find our Intentional Weekly Planner Notepad is a better fit for your days right now, and that's okay.
Choosing the right tool goes beyond content, too: would an oversized notepad that sits on your desk be best? Or a bound option you can throw in your bag on-the-go?
Think carefully through your needs and daily pain points right now, and choose a tool that provides the right solution.
2. Dig in right away. The longer you let something sit on your kitchen counter, unopened, the more quickly you'll see it as clutter instead of the tool it's meant to be! Or, you might get more and more intimidated by putting pen to paper, wanting to make sure you use it "right."
The antidote? Dig in right away! Open the packaging and commit to starting that day. Don't wait for the perfect moment! If you've bought a Write the Word™ journal, write your first entry. If you've bought PowerSheets, write your name on the first page. If you've bought a notepad, write your first list or daily schedule! Hopefully, you'll quickly see how helpful (and fun!) the tool is to use, and that there's no need to be intimidated.
3. Keep other items you need close at hand. The easier it is to use your tool, the more likely you are to use it. Keep your Write the Word journal next to a Bible. Keep your PowerSheets with a pouch of favorite markers. Keep your planner notepad alongside your family calendar, work computer, or command center with allthethings.
4. Keep your planning tool somewhere you'll see it. I joke that this is the answer to 99% of the follow-through problems users have with their PowerSheets, but it's kind of true. If you keep your PowerSheets open to your Tending List somewhere you'll see it every day (your desk, your kitchen counter, your bedside table), with a pen resting beside, you will be shocked by how easy it becomes to do a quick daily check-in, and how motivated you will be to take the next step forward.
And that goes for all planning tools! Assign your tool a home that makes sense for when and how you'll use it.
5. Make your time together something to look forward to. "Reward" is the last step in the habit-building process. If your time using your tool feels like a reward, you'll begin to crave using it more often, and soon enough, you'll be consistent without a second thought! Stack your use with your morning coffee, your afternoon sunshine break, or your nightly face mask. Pair it with a favorite playlist, a cozy blanket, or check-in time with a friend. Make it a pleasure to use and you'll use it more often!
Friends, we'd love to hear: for the tools you're most consistent in using, what helped you to build that habit?
P.S. PowerSheets user? Check out these tips for getting the most out of your goal planner, too!