Planning can help with mental health in a variety of ways.

Due to my ADHD, I tend to be very forgetful and it gets worse when I’m stressed. Instead of having 30 million tabs open in my head, I have 50 and they’re all spinning. Many tools are available to help calm my brain like sticky notes, notebooks, and planners (yes, more than one) to stay on top of everything and hope nothing slips through the cracks. It helps to write everything down and get it out of my head. It’s like one of the tabs stops spinning and closes. When I get overwhelmed, can review what needs to be done now and what can wait.

The first thing to do is prioritize daily tasks.

I know, I know. Your to-do list is a mile long. I get it, so is mine. But you can use your planner to prioritize which ones are most important. Because even though you think they are all priorities, some are higher on that list than others. No matter what planner you have you need to make it work for you. Whether you have a weekly or a daily, put your top priority first.  

When I used a vertical planner, the top box was always my workout. In my hourly and daily duo, my workout goes at 6 am, even when that might not be the time I do it. I cover the time with a sticker. To me, my workout is a top priority. I want to make sure I get it done every day. Next, pick your next two priorities for the day. They may be different each day.

I put my run at the top in the daily duo no matter what time I am doing it because it is my biggest priority for the day. My to-do list is also in order of priority.

Prioritizing also helps on the hard days. If you only have the energy to do one thing, you can glance at your planner and know what you should do.

You can use your planner to track all kinds of things to help with mental health.

Many people will make mood trackers and color in how they felt each day. These work great on the monthly dashboard or a bujo. Others like to track habits that make them feel good or help their health like reading, creating, or tracking water intake.

mental health
A bujo can be a great addition to your planning system! If you use a daily planner it can be harder to track monthly or weekly items.

Another way to use your planner? Goal setting.

Most planners have a dashboard you can use to write out your goals and the steps you need to take. Use your monthly calendar to determine “due dates” for reaching certain milestones with your goals. Then transfer the action steps and due dates to the weekly or daily pages. You can also use a bullet journal key to show which action steps or tasks you’ve completed, started, or are migrating to the next day or week.

We all know how our mental health can throw off our desire to reach a goal. So don’t forget to celebrate when you’ve met a milestone or a goal! You can make a fun spread on the day you reach your goal. Or plan a fun reward, like a new planner accessory, when you’ve achieved your goal. Celebrate the small achievements too. Because you worked hard and made progress and that is what is important!

How do you use your planner to help your mental health?

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Products mentioned: EC Daily Duo, EC Petite Dot Grid Notebook

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Categories: Planning


Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.