How to Use Organizational Printables to Increase Productivity

How to Use Organizational Printables to Increase Productivity | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

We’ve made it to week 5 of our series Project: Purposeful Productivity, and today we are talking about one of my most favorite things– printables! If you’ve been around this blog for very long, you know that I love, love, LOVE organizational printables. If I’m feeling stressed? I make a printable to help me get organized. If I’m overwhelmed? I create a printable to help make sense of the chaos. When my house feels unorganized and out of control? I whip up some printables to help get it back on track. If I’m having an organization or productivity problem, 9 times out of 10 I reach for a printable to help me solve it.

I’ve also had the experience, though, where I’ve found a really cool printable online, printed it off feeling ready to take on the world, and then… nothing. Either I don’t end up using it or it doesn’t work for me or I really just wanted to fill out a fun printable but didn’t really want to take any action. So what’s the difference between the printables that make us spring into action and the ones that never make it off of our printer tray? In my many years of printable creating and implementing, I’ve recognized some recurring themes, so I thought I’d share them with you today in case you’re a fan of pretty printables like I am and are looking for ways to use them more effectively!

First, let’s take a look at some reasons why printables sometimes don’t work very well…

3 Ways Printables Can Be Stumbling Blocks to Productivity

1. Printables are almost never “one size fits all.”

Like nearly everything else in life, what works perfectly for one person may fall flat for another. We don’t all have the same schedules, we’re not all in the same phase of life, and we don’t all have the same needs, so it’s very rare that one certain organizational printable will be the thing that works for every single person.

I have experienced this time and time again with cleaning printables. I am the first one to admit that I’m not the best housekeeper ever, so I’m always looking for ways to fine tune my cleaning routine {or lack thereof 😉 }. I’d find the most beautiful cleaning printable on Pinterest and print it out, swearing up and down that this was going to be the “thing” that I’d finally stick to. And maybe I would stick to it for a few days, but then life would take over and soon my pretty little printable was long forgotten. Part of it was probably that I didn’t stick to it for long enough to make it a routine. But most of the time the cleaning printables I chose just were just not realistic for my schedule or phase of life. It was just not realisitc to clean 17 different areas of my house every day while I had two little boys following me around undoing all of my work and while I was trying to manage a bunch of other things at the same time. {Okay, 17 might be a little bit of an exaggeration, but you get what I’m saying, right? 😉 }

How to Use Organizational Printables to Increase Productivity | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

No matter how pretty a printable is, make sure you’re choosing one that is realistic for you and can fit in with the schedules and routines you have in place.

2. It’s hard for me to implement more than one new printable at a time.

Maybe you’re better at multitasking than I am, but I have found that if I try to introduce too many new systems at once, they all end up falling apart. I remember when I first started making my own organizational printables. I created an entire binder for myself, and I was so excited to start using it because it all matched and it had tons of different pages and I was just going to be so organized and productive with it. Do you know how many pages I actually filled out in that binder? Maybe half of the first one. It was overwhelming! I was trying to put 20 new systems in place all at once, and my brain could not wrap itself around all of those different ideas at the same time. I have had success, though, when I’ve chosen one simple printable, committed to using it for an extended period of time, and made it part of my routine. Then when I have that one down, I can add another one to the mix. Baby steps!

How to Use Organizational Printables to Increase Productivity | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

3. Printables can become a procrastination tool.

I cannot be the only one who is guilty of this! Sometimes I really like printables because filling them out makes me feel like I’m being productive when really I have no intention of taking any action. I have spent hours creating a detailed workout plan with a printable before, for example, only to have it sit on my desk while I complete exactly zero of the workouts! Writing down my plan made me feel like I was accomplishing something, but I wasn’t really committed to taking action, so I could have filled out a million printables, and they wouldn’t have gotten me any closer to my fitness goals.


By this point you’re probably thinking, “Agh! This is depressing! Are printables actually helpful at all?!” I would answer with a huge YES! Organizational printables have been total game changers for me, and there are definitely ways to use them effectively, so let’s look at…

3 Ways Organizational Printables Can Skyrocket Productivity

1. They keep me motivated.

It is amazing to me what an organized list on a piece of paper can do. I get so much more done during my days when I use my time blocking printable than when I just try to wing it. When I have an organized list of my goals that includes action steps to achieve them, I am so much more likely to accomplish them than if I just have a mental list of things I would like to do “someday.” Even the Cs are more motivated to complete their chores and work toward goals of their own when they have a chart to keep them on track. Organizational printables can be incredible motivators!

How to Use Organizational Printables to Increase Productivity | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

2. They are a physical reminder of my progress.

We all get discouraged at times and feel like we’re not accomplishing much, right? When I’m using printables to plan and stay organized, I can look back over them and instantly be reminded of how far I’ve come. I may only take a baby step or two toward my bigger goals each day, but over the long term those baby steps can add up to a lot, and being able to look back and see that progress can be just the push I need to keep moving forward.

How to Use Organizational Printables to Increase Productivity | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

I love to use weekly {part of my free printable library for newsletter subscribers–sign up here!} and monthly planning printables for this reason. At the end of last week I was complaining to Donnie that I felt like I wasted so much time and didn’t accomplish anything. When I looked back over my weekly planner, though, I saw all sorts of things that I had checked off my list, and I was definitely further along than I was at the beginning of the week.

3. They help me organize my thoughts and ideas.

This is the most obvious one, and it is also the most helpful reason for me! I always feel like my brain is going in 100 different directions, thinking of ideas, things I need to do, stuff the Cs need, etc. Having planning printables gives me a place to keep all of those things organized so that I can 1. remember them all, and 2. work them into my schedule effectively.

Up until this point, I have used sort of a hodge podge of different planning printables to help me boost my productivity, but I have always wished I had a planner than encompassed all of me needs in one spot. I looked far and wide and when I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for, I created one myself!

The 2016 Intentional Life Planner will be available next Monday, November 9th, and I hope it helps to boost your productivity as much as it has mine!

The Intentional Life Planner | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

We are offering it in both standard 8.5″ x 11″ size and junior 5.5″ x 8.5″ size, both of which will be delivered as a PDF file that you can print any way you’d like.

The Intentional Life Planner | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

Most importantly, the planner will be packed full of goal setting and planning pages that will help you take action steps to work toward your biggest goals all year long.

The Intentional Life Planner | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

We are so excited for the release and hope you’ll join us next Monday to check it out!

If you missed any of the previous posts in the Project: Purposeful Productivity series, you can visit them below…

How I Crush My Biggest Goals: My 5 Step Formula | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

Week 1: How I Crush My Biggest Goals: My 5 Step Formula

10 Simple Ways to Be More Productive Today | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

Week 2: 10 Simple Ways to Be More Productive Today

5 Ways to Revamp Your Routine and Increase Productivity | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

Week 3: 5 Ways to Revamp Your Routine and Increase Productivity

Why We Fail at Productivity | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

Week 4: Why We Fail at Productivity

Thanks for following along, friends! Have a productive week!

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  1. Great article! I’m so excited about your new planner! I’m ready to tackle my goals and planning for 2016.

  2. Jessica Burgess - Fantabulosity says:

    Yay!! I’m super excited for this!!! Love your style and love your thought process on your organization techniques! 🙂 Can’t wait!

  3. Lutetia Flaviae says:

    I love printables. I spend my time pinning them or creating my own! Can I ask what do you use to do yours?

  4. Jess @ Make and Do Crew says:

    I swear my sister’s favorite hobby is “organizing” her life. Especially if there are different colored pens involved 🙂 She would love these! (But needs them a lot less than I do–organizing is not quite my thing…)

  5. Lauren Baxter says:

    You can definitely tell & read this is one of your favorite topics. You put your whole heart into it and I have just finished for your 7 days to organizing your life email list. It has literally jump started and put me in the right direction in all aspects of my life.

    So thank you and keep up this great series and doing what you do best.

    Lauren Baxter | Lovely Decor

  6. Christina @ Embracing Simple says:

    You make the prettiest printables Abby! Really looking forward to your intentional life planner. I’m a big fan of keeping track of my progress on paper!

  7. I’m so happy to be apart of your blog and I’m looking forward to the new planner! thank you for making these for all of use to enjoy!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Amber! I am thrilled that you are here! 🙂 Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  8. Sarah FittingGirl says:

    love this post ! Its so motivating and satisfying to keep everything organised ! Def trying these printables ! Have a nice day xxx


  9. Rosa @ Cat Lady Confidential says:

    I use a few printables to organize myself. These have been created by me (because just like you said there are no one size fits all). Your planner seems really interesting!

  10. Hannah@SeeingtheLovely says:

    Great observations, Abby! I totally identify with using them as a procrastination tool, although I don’t really care to make my own, I’m happy to browse 10 different systems and printables that will fix my entire life! And then I don’t actually get anything done…
    I love using planners to keep me from being overwhelmed trying to remember everything I have to do, as well as motivating me to keep at it. This could just be my personality though, I’m not sure that everyone enjoys using planners, even if it does keep most of us more organized!
    Can’t wait to see your planner!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Oh girl, I so hear you on the procrastination with printables… kind of ironic, right?! 😉 Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  11. Hi! I’ve been following your emails for starting a blog. It’s helped me immensely. I would love to know how to create a calendar. Thank you!

  12. I love your gold stapler.. where is it from?
    I am also loving your blog, it keeps me so excited when i read new things on it.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Felicity! The gold stapler is from Target! One of my favs! 🙂 Have a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  13. I love this, I can relate on so many different levels! I’m a printables junky. I used to scour Pinterest trying to find the perfect ones. You are so right, we are all different and those lovely print outs may work for some and not for others. My biggest takeaway was not implementing more than one at a time! I needed that advice a few years ago lol. Thank you so much for this post and series, it completely ROCKED!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yay! So glad it was helpful for you, Jenn! Have a wonderful Monday!

      ~Abby =)

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