We live busy lives and keeping track of everything we need to do on a given day can be challenging. Whether it’s a Google calendar with reminder notifications, a bullet journal or some other planner, keeping a planner can help us make sense of everything and stay grounded in the chaos.
I love my bullet journal. The thing serves as my brain, helping me keep track of everything I need to do. I write everything in that planner, from bills I need to pay to reminders to take my vitamins every morning. I would be lost without it.
Kids and teens might not have the same concerns or responsibilities, but their lives can be just as harried and hectic as ours at times. Here are X reasons you should encourage your kids and teens to use a planner.
It’s a Time Management Tool
A popular platitude when discussing time management is that we all have the same 24 hours in the day. While that might be true on paper, it doesn’t hold up in practice. Many things could impact the number of productive hours someone has in a day. For kids and teens, a planner can serve as a visual reminder of the tasks that they need to complete during the day. It also gives them the tools to block off the time they need for various activities like chores, self-care or school assignments.
It’s a Commitment Tracker
Does your teen have afterschool activities, sports practice or other commitments they need to keep track of during the week? Planners are the perfect tool for keeping track of all these commitments for the upcoming weeks, months or school year, depending on what they need. All they have to do is keep up with any scheduling changes and update the planner accordingly if they get any new information.
It’s a Journal
Did you keep a journal when you were growing up? Having a journal can give your teen somewhere to express their thoughts and feelings. It can be a fantastic tool to help them process their emotions and the things they experience. Everyone, regardless of age, can benefit from keeping a journal. Even if you don’t have any particular plan, having a place to brain dump can be an incredible tool to help with mental health maintenance. Opting for a physical journal over a digital one is often the best option. Not only is it easier to keep a physical journal privately, but science also shows that writing by hand improves memory and retention. The same goes for taking notes in class, too — they’re going to remember things better if they write them down instead of typing them up.
It’s a Mindfulness Tool
Mindfulness, or the practice of being in the present moment instead of worrying about the future or agonizing over the past, has gained popularity in recent years as a way to reduce stress and improve mental health. Keeping a planner might seem like the antithesis of mindfulness because you’re planning things in the future, but it ends up being the perfect tool to help teens reduce their stress levels. Putting things into the planner means that they don’t have to spend extra brainpower to remember all these upcoming tasks and events, making it easier to be mindful.
It’s a Goal Tracker
Everyone has goals, both big and small. Breaking those goals down into small steps makes them easier to achieve because these baby steps aren’t so overwhelming. If you’re making SMART goals — an acronym standing for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound — planners make it easier to assign a time to each goal step.
It’s a Stress Reducer
Is there anything more stressful than being a teenager? Possibly, but when you’re dealing with high school drama and raging puberty hormones, every little zit and B- grade can make you feel like the world is ending. Having something like a planner can help reduce those stress levels to something more manageable. It won’t make zits stop feeling like the end of the world, but it can make those inconveniences a little less catastrophic.
Encourage Them To Try It Out
If you use a planner in your daily life — and even if you don’t — consider encouraging your teen to try adopting one as part of their routine. Give them the tools and support they need and then stand back and let them turn it into the tool they need. It might be fancy and artistic, like the bullet journals you see on social media. It might be plain and monochrome, but that doesn’t make it less functional.
A good planner can be a lifesaver if you’ve got a packed schedule or trying to keep track of schedules for multiple people. If you haven’t started using one yet, now might be a good time to try it out and see if it works for you.