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Productivity

How to Reduce Stress as a Busy Mom by Using a Paper Planner

how to reduce stress with a planner ChelsiJo

April 15, 2023

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Crunchy mom of two, married to my favorite boy for life, and lover of the dark chocolate peanut butter cups!
I went from nearly losing my mind and business to an intentional, successful woman all because of systems.
I'm Chelsi Jo
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This is the year you are going to get yourself together. This year you will a plan, a purpose and will bring intention into the space you’re living in each day.  Through chaos, emotions, ups and downs and even through despair, I can guarantee you it is possible to live a life with less stress. You can absolutely manage your marriage, children, finances, job, and everything else with a system in place. Furthermore, there is one key tool that is really powerful in reducing stress for busy, work from home moms. And that tool is your paper planner.

You are the one that runs your ship. And the most important thing when it comes to running your ship is to have a plan. Not just any plan, but a plan that is written down. This allows you to reduce stress in order to show up to all the areas you desperately want to show up to within your life. Therefore, in order to have a plan and to reduce stress, your paper planner is absolutely necessary. And there are five absolute reasons why you should be using your paper planner to help lessen the stress in your own life.

Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast

5 Incredible Reasons To Use a Planner to Reduce Stress

I’m a writer. I love to write and there are going to be lots of you that don’t love to write but that doesn’t matter, that’s okay. My husband is not a writer at all. He loves to read and he loves to listen but he is slowly but surely, seeing the benefit of having a planner in his life too. Paper planners are incredibly efficient and can help us out tremendously. Even if you don’t love to write or you don’t think a planner would be successful for you, this is absolutely for you.

My Love for Paper Planners

I started using planners in junior high and high school. It’s just something that our teachers made us do. You got a school tracker or a school calendar. I just did lots of things and I had lots of appointments and meetings and different things and deadlines that I had to meet.  I always used a planner and it helped me keep myself together. In college, I worked at the same time and I volunteered at the same time.  It’s just kind of me, but a planner has always made it possible for me to keep my sanity through all that. Not only just keep my sanity, but really put my best self into every commitment that I gave myself. That’s really what I want you to get out of this.

I think maybe most of us, as soon as we’re done with school, we’re like yes, we don’t have to write anything down in a planner ever again, and we ditch it. But when you think about it, what we go into in the next phase of our lives is just as meaningful as what we were doing in school. There are still deadlines that need to be meet. Therefore, paper planners are very necessary.

Your Priorities Are Valuable Enough To Be Put Down On Paper

I know it seems remedial but having your house cleaned every week, it should have deadlines. Going to the gym you should have a deadline for that. You know how many times you want to work out and you know that you have a deadline everyday for food. You know you have to get dinner on the table every single week.  There are very meaningful things that are still happening in your life every single day and every single week that are valuable enough and are worthy of having a plan put down on paper. So let me just mention these top five reasons that you should have a planner.

There are very meaningful things that are still happening in your life every single day and every single week that are valuable enough and are worthy of having a plan put down on paper

Reason # 1 – A Planner Can Help You Reduce Stress if You Feel Behind All the Time

The first reason to use a paper planner to help reduce stress in your life is by helping sort out the feeling of feeling constantly behind. Feeling behind all the time, that’s something I hear from women, regularly. Something is constantly overflowing or something is constantly spilling over. Whether it be her emotions or the house chores or the children’s emotions or the children’s messes. There’s always something that they can’t keep up with.

They can’t keep up with feeding their kids the food that they want to or they can’t keep up with their diet plan or their weight loss or their food sensitivities or their food allergies or whatever it might be related to food they can’t keep up with. They constantly feel behind on projects, either at work or in their school with their kids or just in school even if you’re in college and you can’t keep up.

Maybe some of you have a part-time job and you’re working from home. I know that you can constantly feel behind. There’s so much that I need to get done this week but, it’s just constant, constant being called on by other people. A planner can be an important tool to help you reduce your stress. 

Getting Everything Done Starts with Writing It Down

I know for a long time I always have had projects in the back of my mind and it would constantly eat away at me. As a small business owner, that nagging in the back of my mind, while my kids are “nagging me” too. It constantly left me in a headspace of always feeling behind. It’s just such a negative cloud to carry around with you all the time.

Feeling like everything is always nagging you and you can’t keep up. A planner will absolutely help you reduce your stress. I don’t feel behind all the time anymore. Because of my paper planner, I have less stress and know exactly what needs to get done in a week.

Start with a Simple Brain Dump to Reduce Your Stress

Doing a brain dump can help reduce your stress. That is where I start with my planner. I use my brain dump and then it helps me to know what to put into my planner every single week and I don’t feel behind. If you need help with starting, refer to this post on How to Use a Brain Dump To Increase Productivity. I know when I am behind but I don’t always think in my mind I’m behind before I’m actually ever even falling behind. I also know when I’m ahead and I can take a break so that that has helped me tremendously with not feeling that way.

Reason #2 – A Planner Can Help You with Staying Focused if You Feel Unmotivated and Have No Energy

Another great reason to use your paper planner to reduce stress is to help you stay focused even when you are feeling unmotivated, with no energy. It seems counterintuitive to write down everything in a planner that you have to do and look at it head on every single day. I know it seems counterintuitive, and it’s the last thing that you want to do, but it is the first thing that you need to do to help you reduce stress. When you feel unmotivated and you don’t have any energy to get up and do everything that you need to get done. There is usually another reason why you don’t want to do them. That procrastination is actually linked to something emotional that you need to deal with.

Writing It Down Can Help You Reduce Stress

When you have a planner and you have everything written down that you need to do that day. You see that you only have three things to get done that day and you also know exactly when you have to get it done. It has a time frame and you stick to it within that time frame and then when it’s done, you’re done. You can walk away from it. It absolutely makes you think, “Okay, I only have three loads of laundry that I need to do today. That’s awesome! ” I don’t have to do all of the laundry. I’m doing three loads of laundry and then I have an intentional 30 minutes sitting down on the floor with my kiddos. I’m playing with them, then after that I’m making lunch.

When you have all these things written down, it helps you progress through your day in a way that energizes you. You’re controlling your day. You know what comes next. You know that if you follow every single step that is on your planner, you are going to decrease you stress and that you are absolutely going to go to bed at the end of the day feeling accomplished. That energizes you to get up and do it again the next day. It just becomes a snowball effect. Not only do you start to get ahead of the game, you feel really excited and proud of yourself.

Reason #3 – A Planner Can Help You with Self Care if You Cannot Figure Out a Way to Prioritize You

Another really great way to use a paper planner to reduce stress is by allowing your planner to help with your self-care. If you can’t figure out a way to prioritize yourself, but you can’t figure out how. It’s probably because you don’t have a plan in place on paper. One of my favorite reasons for using my paper planner is because I can see, every single day, when I’m going to get time for me.

I know that it can seem pretty selfish. Coming from a family of women, that really takes pride in caring for other people, and I do too. It’s hard for me to want to put time down in my day for myself, but I have to. We all should be. If you struggle on a regular basis to find time and to commit consistently to having time by yourself. Just for you. I know you’re thinking how in the world is this paper planner going to change that, it will.

Reason #4 – A Planner Can Help Reduce Stress if You Struggle with Anxiety or Depression or are on a Constant Roller Coaster of Emotions

Additionally, another powerful way to reason to use a planner to help reduce stress is if you battle anxiety or depression. If you struggle with anxiety, depression or on a roller coaster of emotions. Here’s where you can start to relax when you see that plan on paper. By using a paper planner, you no longer have to worry about when certain things will get completed.

When you’ve taken the time to start with the big picture at the very end of your week. What do you want done at the very end of your week and you work backwards on what that looks like, every single day. That means on Monday all you have to do is worry about Monday.  You don’t have to worry about Friday because you know that Friday has a time and a place and so does Thursday and every other day of the week.  

My anxiety came from feeling like the weight of the world, the weight of my kids, the weight of my marriage, the weight of the food, the weight of making money, the weight of keeping the house clean, the weight of keeping the garage from becoming cluttered. The weight of all of it was riding on me constantly, and it doesn’t have to feel that way.

Take One Bite At A Time

When you break it down and you put it into little segments, not in your brain, but on paper, it can help you reduce your stress level. You can see it.  It becomes one bite of the elephant at a time. Here I am swallowing elephants every week. One bite of the elephant at a time. It’s just you get up on Monday and you do Monday. I’m present, and plugged in with my kiddos. I’m plugged in with me and don’t have to feel overwhelmed or bad about myself at the end of a week, month or year. I don’t let that cloud of depression and negativity hang over me. I don’t have to do that anymore because I’ve relinquished all of the fear in my  mind of how I’m going to get it all done.

Just committing to a plan, even if it doesn’t work out and it’s not perfect, that’s okay. I got more done than I would have without the plan. Simply, start somewhere, and if you don’t have it written down you’re not going to remember it. My own roller coaster of emotions is completely mitigated by simply being able to calm the voice in my head. Instead of feeling overwhelmed about needing to record a podcast each week, through using my paper planner, I know exactly when that task is going to be completed. Therefore, instead of feeling stressed or worked up, I am simply full of joy!

Reason #5 – A Planner Can Be an Important Time Management Tool if You Want to Become More of What You Are But Are Not Exactly Sure Where to Start

Finally, the fifth reason to use a planner to help reduce stress. Let your planner be an important time management tool. It is the cornerstone of me being able to keep my act together. Of me being able to become the next level of me, consistently. I’m doing all of this just like I did throughout childhood, young adulthood and within my early career. I’m realizing that it has always been the tool that has allowed me to reach that next level. To climb every next rung of the ladder. I really hope that you consider doing the same thing for yourself. Regardless of what the excuse may be, I hope that you ignore all of them and find yourself a good daily planner.

I really love daily planners, but you could start with something that just laid out the week for you. Daily planners ensure that nothing is left behind from one day to the next. So in a daily planner, you actually get to see every single day laid out in a larger format. You have more space to write down everything that you need to do that day. Seeing that plan on paper can immediately reduce your stress.

A Planner Can Reduce Your Stress and Impact Change

If you’re sitting at home thinking that you are always going to be the woman that feels frumpy, lost, or left out. Or you are the woman who feels behind, or under-appreciated, neglected, sad and lonely. I wan you to know that it doesn’t have to be that way. This will work for you. Just trust me, get a paper planner and utilize me as a resource. It is a tool that so many people underutilize. There’s a whole group and a whole culture of women that love paper planners for a reason. It’s not just because we like to write. It’s because it’s useful and truly impacts change in your life completely.

Prepare Yourself for What You Can Potentially Achieve

If you’re struggling with feeling behind all the time, feeling unmotivated and having no energy, feeling like you cannot prioritize yourself, struggling with anxiety or depression or just wanting to level up, a planner can be one of the tools that can help you tackle many of the challenges you and so many other women are experiencing. I encourage you to start right now and start today.

Let me know in the comments below if using a planner has helped to decrease your stress in any way. If you are looking for other ways to take care of yourself while you are taking care of your family, please check out my free guide, The Fundamental Needs Workbook. If you are overwhelmed, here are 3 things that could be keeping you stuck in a rut and how to break through. Or, if you are looking for extra support from other busy work from home moms, just like you, join the free Facebook Group.

how to reduce stress by using a planner

Frequently Asked Questions

I am completely overwhelmed. Is there a planner that you recommend?

Any daily planner will work when you are just getting started. The one planner that I currently use and have used for several years is the Horacio Planner. If you would like even more resources and support, why not see what Systemize Your Life is all about?

5 incredible reasons to use a planner as a busy work from home mom chelsijo
How to reduce stress with a paper planner chelsijo

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