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How to Fill & Use a Planner for 2021

Updated: May 21, 2022

Here's my secret... I LOVE planners. ALL of the different planners. I love organizing information, and I love the process of writing and reflecting as a means for getting more clear. So let's talk about how to use your planner, and WHY things sometimes go so sideways even with a planner.

Planners should not feel like the gatekeepers of 'to-do list' hell. If your planner feels like a to-do list that leaves you exhausted or disempowered at the end of the day, you're using it wrong. Planners aren't there for us to barf out all of our "shoulds." They are actually a fantastic tool for seeing how we're managing life, so that we can make different decisions.

At a glance, I can see visually what my month looks like it wants to be. I've learned over time how to honor the cycle of days and weeks so that I don't try to cram everything in as if there's no tomorrow. Planners remind us that there IS a tomorrow. As long as we're filling today with what is truly important, there will always be more time for other important experiences, until we die.

Whether you're trying to figure out how to organize your coming year in life or for business:

FIRST begin with a clear assessment of where you’ve been.

THEN decide how you want to feel!

FINALLY meditate on where you’re going, and choose a planner to match. ❤️


Every time I get a new planner, I look through my old planner to get a sense of what worked, and didn't work. I ask myself, "Where was I exhausted? Where could I have left more time for my goals?" Then I look at the facts. I look at what events and activities were filling up my calendar. I look at what types of activities, or what sequences, tended to make me feel depleted. I look at what activities filled me up, and also dates and times I felt off-track.

Because this is a regular process for me, I've learned to write in when events have been changed or cancelled, even if it's after the fact. I've also learned to make notes of my spiritual well-being, because I find it helpful to the assessment process.

If you're planning for a new year, you can look back over the past year and notice how things flowed. Didn't have a planner or journal? That's okay. Just pull out a piece of paper and see how much you can remember of your year, month by month. Even better, look up a retrospective online. Sometimes public events help trigger more personal memories.

You'll want all of this awareness in order to decide what comes next.


Here's a great secret of metaphysics. How you feel makes a big difference. Rather than focusing your planner on everything you need to DO, killing yourself each day to fit life in, focus instead on how you want to feel. Begin with a simple meditation. You can do the meditations taught in my online Reiki 1 Training to help get super clear. Otherwise sit quietly, maybe even with music, and take a journey into your ideal life. Don't worry about material goods. Stay focused on who it feels important for you to be connected with (aka your family or your peeps). Do you want your days to feel easy and flowing, or intense and ambitiously driven.

When you set these energetic and emotional intentions, your brain begins to carry them out in reality. This is taught in metaphysics through the High Priestess Tarot Card Key 2, which says, "As within, so without!" What we create in our inner environment flows out into the external world. I call this the horizontal axis of co-creation, and teach about it in Reiki.

Your brain resets it's defaults around living, so that anything important to your intentions is easier to notice. The reticular activating system that guides what you see, literally allows you to see the opportunities that will help you.

This may sound far-fetched, but you experience this everyday. Your brain has been trained to notice stop signs when driving. Police officers' brains have been trained to recognize a person who may be a threat within an instant, through this reticular activating system. Scientists even did an experiment years ago where they watched participants read, and they found that the texts could preclude letters and even whole words, without impeding the understanding or context. This was because the brain supplied the 'right' answers, even to the point that participants didn't always notice that words were even missing. Their brains had a narrative and they ran with it.


So you want to be very clear about your emotional narrative before you pick up a new planner. THEN you can decide what experiences in life all calling to you based on that, and choose the right planner for that experience. I talk more about this in a video on my youtube channel. But essentially this is the fun part, before you begin planning, in which you ask yourself, "Do I want to travel? Do I want to focus on work? Is this year about love? What experiences do I want to have?"

We can get so used to doing things for others that we lose track of what we deeply desire. If that's you, then fear not, there's help! Leonie Dawson produces a pair of planners every year called the Goal Getter workbooks. These are colorful workbooks meant to appear to your creative inner being, and each page is a worksheet to help you get clear about what you desire. Although they can be used as a vibe-y planner for the year, they're meant to be filled out spontaneously over time. The most helpful aspect of this is allowing yourself time to actually dream, not just do.


I love the We'moon weekly planner for tracking my moontime (aka menstrual cycle), and helping me to stay connected to the cycles and poetry of the earth. It's a planner that stays open near my altar most days, allowing me to see when important astrological turning points are coming. I tend to use it more like a journal, recording significant family and personal events. This in turn helps me plan my business around my energy patterns, keeping the sacredness of my life intact.

I also love the Happy Planner series of planners. These are fun planners with stickers, multiple layouts, and add-ins for special goals and topics. I love how crafty it feels, but it's also structured enough to hold my entire life, including business.

In the past I have also used Franklin Covey planners, and I recommend them if you need a detailed planning system and you are still learning to manage your life.

I also work with the Llewelyn Astrological Wall Calendar. I love having this up in my bedroom where I can see it each day. It feeds the part of me that love fantasy art. Rather than using it to record things to do--because that's why I have the happy planner!-- I write my accomplishments in it, allowing me to celebrate at-a-glance all of my victories over the past month.

Target also carries the Create & Cultivate line of planners and I love those as well. I've used them in past years, and like the Happy planner, find that they have a variety of styles and fashionable looks that make planning fun.

The important thing is to find the planner that works for you. If you're planning on traveling and working minimally for 6 months, you may prefer a bullet journal that allows tons of space for your creative notes and experiences. Or you may even want a slender, pocket-book sized planner to keep important destination points. If however you're the Queen, maybe you need the Franklin Covey for all of that travel, so you have all of the details of your life on hand no matter where you are. Be creative, and trust your heart.


Having a planner doesn't mean your life will be orderly at all times. In fact, the joy of planning for me is watching how things transform and evolve away from my initial imagination. However, you want that transforming to be good!

Here are 3 reasons why your planner may not be working for you:

1. Ignoring your true self. For you planner to work, you've got to create a life plan you actually want to follow. If your planner is filled with things you should do and don't want to do, then your work is to figure out how to delegate or eliminate as much of that as possible, so you're planner reads like a menu of your favorite experiences.

2. Ignoring your time boundaries. There are only a certain number of hours in the day, and you need some of those hours to be for you, for what is truly important to you, and for the cultivation of your spiritual well being. HOW you cultivate that well-being is ultimately up to you, but you'll need time to write in your planner, check in with how you feel, think, and BE. I've often seen that clients go by the wayside when they are allowing beloved family members to dictate all of their time. Yes, our children and loved ones are very important, but so are we. When we give ourselves that respect, then our loved ones learn to hold that respect for themselves as well. Tension reduces. Peace is restored. So if your life is feeling like a runaway train, pull the break and demand (yes, demand) time in a space alone to look at what's happening, so you can reset and redirect.

3. Inconsistency. Planners work when they are your best friend. If you forget about them for weeks on end, they lose their mojo, and you lose track of where you were in your process. Treat a planner like a magical tool, and it will help you get where you want to be. Begin that process with the consistency of looking at your planner everyday. Make notes if things change. Release judgement, and enjoy imagining all that your life can be!


DAILEY LITTLE is a healing practitioner, transformational life coach, ordained Priestess, and teacher who founded Healing Heart Reiki to help others navigate life with joy. She teaches classes in healing and mindset from a magical peaceful corner of the world in Northern California. For more info see:

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