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How to Use a Planner to Decrease Stress

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We can all agree that stress is no fun. It’s hard on our emotions, health, and even relationships. There are many wonderful ways to manage stress, including meditation and yoga, and having a multi-faceted approach is a great idea.

But what if you could head some of that stress off at the pass; eliminate it before it ever occurs?

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Believe it or not, you can get rid of a significant portion of the stress in your life through proper preparation.

Plan to Avoid Stress

You can plan to avoid stress in your life. If you are prepared ahead of time for a large amount of what goes on in your days, you will find yourself less stressed and happier. Consider this example:

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  • Your child is supposed to bring a snack to school next Tuesday. You think to yourself, “I’ll make cupcakes on Monday; I’ll get the supplies when I go to the store on Sunday.”
  • Monday evening arrives and, just before you put your child to bed, he mentions the snack he’s supposed to bring the next day. You have no cupcakes, no supplies, and you’re already in your pajamas.
  • You go to bed, but don’t sleep well, and you have to get your child up early, rush out the door, and stop by the bakery to pick up a dozen donuts on the way to school.
  • You spend the rest of the day tired and cranky.

In the above example, things could go much differently if you did the following planning:

  • Your child is supposed to bring a snack to school next Tuesday. You think to yourself, “I’ll make cupcakes on Monday; I’ll get the supplies when I go to the store on Sunday.”
  • You immediately go to your planner and, on Sunday write: “Grocery shopping,” and on Monday write: “Make cupcakes for child to take to school tomorrow.” You also add cake mix, powdered sugar, eggs, and milk to your grocery list.
  • Monday evening arrives, and you put your child to bed while the freshly made cupcakes cool on the counter, ready to be put into a container and taken to school the next morning.
  • You sleep well, don’t have to get up early, and spend Tuesday feeling great.
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Get a Planning System

The first step toward planning your way to decreased stress is to implement a planning plan: get a planner!

You’ll first need to evaluate your personal preferences and what form of planner(s) you think you will be most likely to stick with using. Some people use a computer program like Google Calendar as a planner. Others prefer a hard copy that they can carry around, write in, and even decorate.

You may wish to have one planner for everything in your life, or you may choose to have one for work stuff, one for personal things, and one for budgeting and shopping. If you have a side business, you may find that a separate planner for that is helpful for keeping records and tax receipts.

You can get as detailed as you like with your planning. You will need to find the “sweet spot” for you personally. Do you feel less stressed if your planner tells you what to do with every hour of your day, or is it sufficient for you to have only major events and meetings listed? It may take a few months of trial and error for you to learn what works best for you.

You Can’t Plan Everything

Obviously, despite your best efforts to plan ahead and be prepared, wrenches can be thrown into your plans. For instance, in the example given above, if your child forgets to tell you about the snack until Monday at bedtime in the first place, you won’t be able to avoid a little stress.

However, you will still feel calmer during unknown situations that pop up if you have a good handle on everything else going on that day. When the entire day seems out of control and that day leads to the next and the next, suddenly you’ve had a month of stressful days and life isn’t so fun. But when you have mostly calm days for which you are well-prepared and one or two things pop up that are a bit stressful, it won’t be nearly as overwhelming, and you’ll be able to get right back on track.

Plus, you’ll never miss your de-stressing yoga class!

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