Write It Down! 5 Easy Ways to Organize Your Thoughts (and Life) in 2021

One of the biggest lies we tell ourselves is, “I don’t need to write that down, I’ll remember it.” – only to discover 2 hours later, we cannot remember what we were suppose to remember. Call me old school, but I live by the motto, “Write it down!”

Needless to say, I love a good day planner. Nothing makes me feel more in control of my world than sitting down on a Saturday morning looking at crisp clean lines of my week’s schedule ahead. Adding color to these lines and boxes is like painting the life I want to lead—chaotic and beautiful most weeks, calm and serene others.

Here are a few things besides appointments and meetings that I incorporate into my day planner to paint the life I envision:

Gratitude Journals

Each day begins with at least one line of gratitude. I love stationery and office supplies as much as the next girl, but keeping track of 4 different notebooks or journals for each item of self reflection was a nightmare and invitation to literally not show up—add the fact that I would often wrote the wrong thing down in the wrong planner, I felt like a failure—not exactly the state of mind you should start from when giving gratitude. So I gave myself some grace and in turn, begin each day with single thought of sincere gratitude on my planner. Now planners come with inspiration and devotions embedded into them, but those feel like cheating to me so I just make sure to give props on my daily appointment page.

Menu Planners

The best thing I did for meal prep at our house was to institute the menu onto my day planner. This allowed me to set a realistic expectation for meals for our busy schedule.

Dream Lists

A goal without a plan is just a dream. When I am working for something, professionally, personally, or for family, a sure fire I need is to be told I can’t do something because of some arbitrary limitation…nothing takes me from zero to done than a fresh page in my day planner and maybe than a thoughtful strategy session with friends over coffee or wine developing an over the top plan.

Gift Ideas and Media Lists

Nothing entrusts you as the most sincere and authentic friend or family member than remembering a story or token that inspires a gift or some kind of gesture. Whatever it is, discreetly write it down! Nothing breaks an intimate connection or conversation than picking up a phone and typing it in, for all the other person knows, you are texting someone “more important” or calling an Uber.

After picking up a clue that our favorite child care provider loved a particular drink at Starbucks, that became a frequent gift of appreciation, but I was hopeless to remember it–even after my husband saved it into my Contact on my iPhone under her name, so instead I started writing it in my planner on a day that I knew might be an early pick up or late drop off. We adored this caregiver, and 10 years post care, she is still an iconic role in our lives.

I’m always on the search for a good book, podcast, Netflix movie, or music. What better place to capture this than in my day planner? Yes, the Notes app works on my iPhone, but did you miss the part about getting to use colorful pens?

Life Lessons

How many times a day do we get a pearl of wisdom? Moreover, I love reflecting on all of the ones I have captured over the years. Additionally, I wouldn’t be embarrassed to have my children, grandchildren, or even great grandchildren stumble across my day planner. I hope it is used as a tool to remind me of how extraordinary this season of my life actually was because every single day is truly a gift.

Rachel Banning
Originally from the Wichita area, Rachel’s greatest adventure began 20 years ago when she married her husband. Together, they have one living child with Asperger’s (Dylan, ‘03) and one heavenly daughter with cerebral palsy (Mia, 2000-2013). She is a homeschool mom and business owner. Rachel is an unapologetic advocate for children of all abilities, a bookworm, and she will find any excuse to use her Kitchen Aid and wear Junior League red.