How often do we hear that the "hardest part is getting started" when in reality, the most challenging part of anything is sticking with it! The sentiment is especially true when it comes to using our planners and especially a Christian planner that you've bought with the hope that it would draw you closer to God. Even then, it still can seem hard to "stick with it" sometimes when life gets in the way.
It's no wonder we struggle to keep up with our lives when we are toting around a combination of planners, notebooks, bullet journals, devotionals, phones, and calendars. Just trying to remember what you write in each one can get confusing, and before long, you've got a pile of organization tools collecting dust. Your planner should make your life easier and not become another task on the list.
We've got a few tips to help you make sure that your planner is working for you and not the other way around. A Christian planner, when used effectively, is a blessing that will bring peace to your days. Here's how.....
First, Define what "Effective" Means to You
What is your ultimate reason for using a Christian planner? If it's simply the desire just to have Bible verses to read throughout your day, then the next 10 recommendations probably won't relate to you. Or maybe you've switched to a Christian planner because you're looking for a tool that will help you grow closer to God, strengthen your prayer life, read the Bible more or just talk to God more often throughout your day. Either way - you have to decide what your "why" is and that will be the strongest factor that keeps you using it every single day.
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Pick the Right Christian Planner for your Personality
The biggest question to ask yourself is – will you thrive using a daily planner layout or weekly planner layout? What works for someone else might not work for you. You have to find a groove that works for you and prioritizes all of your needs.
In a Daily Christian Planner....
you'll find more of an emphasis on your daily devotion writing, along with everything else you can expect to find in a daily planner. This is the type of planner that keep your notes for both your quiet time and everyday life in one place. In a daily Christian planner, you can scribble all the to-dos of life, keep track of your schedule, record your monthly projects and goals, and organize your weekly sermon notes. Begin each day with a fresh start for the next six months, and see how far you've come. A daily option gives you a foundation to start a daily devotion habit and the reminder to maintain it everyday. For an example and pictures, see our click to see our Hope Planner - daily edition here.
In a weekly Christian Planner.....
you'll find less emphasis on your daily devotional writing, but still enjoy the devotion reminders every week. If you already have a great habit in place for maintaining your daily time in scripture - then this is probably the perfect set up for you. Using a weekly Christian planner, provides you with a reminder of His wisdom and to intercede for others in prayer, every time you check your schedule. Your daily routine impacts your spiritual discipline, so make sure it's a positive impact! A weekly Christian planner typically spreads one week across two pages, has a daily devotion habit tracker, a weekly prayer list reminder, and Bible verses each week. For an example and pictures, see our click to see our Hope Planner - weekly edition here.
Prep your Pages
Don't jump in on page one and get started without first preparing your pages for the coming months. The need to prepare is solidified over and over throughout scripture. That need is the same whether it relates to the bigger, more important aspects of our lives or if it’s seemingly simple like the way we organize our world.
Proverbs 24:27 (ESV), "Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in your field, and after that build your house."
A Christian planner serves as the foundation for your schedule, devotion to the Word, and life. The more you've prepared, the stronger your foundation will remain, even on difficult days. Your preparation is a massive part of your success and effectiveness.
We spend time looking at Pinterest or Instagram because the visuals draw us in. Just think how much more effective your planner will be at redirecting your priorities if it visually draws you in! Ever heard your pastor say it's okay to have fun in Church? We encourage it! We are so blessed to be loved by the Creator of all and that creativity dwells within you. Look at inspiration pages or ideas of where to start in scripture and then let your pages become an extension of your originality.
Make a Devotional Plan
The purpose of selecting a Christian planner over a planner you might buy at Target is because you want a planner that is going to work in your spiritual life too - right? So, it's important to set a plan of what your expectations are for your spiritual growth using this type of planner and how you'll achieve it. How will you spend your daily devotion time? What will you use in your "quiet time?" Will you be reading your Bible? Listening to a podcast? Reading a devotional? Pick it out while you're prepping your pages and before you get started.
Schedule your Time with God
The purpose of a Christian planner is more than just using a planner with Bible verses.... it's about using it to make your relationship with Christ stronger, improve your Biblical literacy and grow to rely and trust in God more. You're probably used to a secular planners that schedules your days, but having your day separate from your devotional puts a disconnect between your daily life and your faith. Instead, you should be using your new Christian planner to schedule your time, but also to write down your prayers. Christian planners often become planners and prayer journals in one. Taking time each day to focus your attention on the Word is an investment in your life and relationship with God. If it's not on your calendar, you can't be sure it will take place. That's why we believe in using a Christian planner that prioritizes your faith as the key to sustaining your day-to-day life.
Create a "Bible Study Corner" in your House
Again, you're setting yourself up for success here. Because your daily quiet time is just that - a time of quiet, it's helpful to set a space where you'll go to everyday to read scripture, spend time in prayerful meditation and study God's word. This is also a great place to gain some peace and quiet to make a plan for the week and review your progress on goals.
Follow the Plan
It's as simple as it sounds. Once you've reached this point in setting up your planner and your daily routine, if you follow the plan day-by-day as you've set it out, like you would a work-out plan, you will be successful in being both productive and more prayerful - the ultimate goal you set out for. Your Christian planner should be used as a map, guide or accountability partner in the process.
If you want to be consistent in using your Christian planner to relieve your mental load and transition your priorities, you have to accept that it won't be perfect. Our planners are a representation of us, and that means entirely and beautifully imperfect. If your page doesn't look how you hoped or as pretty as the one you've seen on social media, that's okay. When we have a day that's not so pretty, we rest in Him and know that tomorrow is a fresh start. Use that same mindset and release yourself from the need to be perfect.
Don't Give Up
If you're using a Christian daily planner, when our days are light or there's nothing on the to-do list, you can still use your Christian planner to record your thoughts and prayers. And vice versa, sometimes our days get the best of us leave us with no time for quiet time or devotional study... and that's okay. Blank pages or sections are okay, they are simply reminders of seasons in our life and adjustments to be made.
Don't Wait for the Perfect Time
If you feel God calling you to spend more time in prayer and Bible study, but you don't think you have the time in your current season of life or the right set up at home, we're here to tell you, those things don't matter. When God calls you, or puts something on your heart, act on it and together you will make a way. Don't wait for the right day or the right moment, right now is the exact time for you to begin strengthening your dedication to your relationship with your Heavenly Father.. Waiting will only postpone the blessings that come from effectively using your Christian planner.
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