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10 Ways to Train Your Brain to Plan More Effectively

10 Ways to Train Your Brain to Plan More Effectively

10 Ways to Train Your Brain to Plan More Effectively

A little planning can go a long way – in fact, planning behaviors can lead to more positive emotional, health and life outcomes. According to a new study by Zulily conducted by ENGINE, a global, full-service media and marketing services company, planning and procrastination behaviors were revealed as a means of coping with anxiety. Planning behaviors are more effective at reducing stress and those that are planful reported feeling more confident, happy, healthier, and more respected.  

Mom has always been the foundation of our business. As the hero of her household, she makes 72% of all purchase decisions, and buys for herself, her family and her home, which is why we offer thousands of new styles every day, all curated and personalized, at prices moms can brag about.

To understand what is top of mind specifically for moms everywhere – emotionally, cognitively and interpersonally – we commissioned a quantitative and qualitative study of more than 2,000 moms across the country that used AI-based linguistic and facial coding to analyze differences in language, words and emotions displayed by Planners versus Procrastinators as they engaged in a variety of video- and photo- based tasks.

We know our customers – millions of moms – plan, because when it comes to making financial decisions for her family and home, she knows the value of trade-offs. She’s willing to save $5-$10 on every item purchased over speed to receive the item. The more moms save, it’s meaningful to her, her household wallet, and the life experiences she can create for her family.  Deeper insights from the study taught us there are tangible benefits to planning ahead, and planning behaviors can be learned. Of course, there is no right or wrong way to tackle life responsibilities, but planning ahead through small behavioral changes can help even the most steadfast Procrastinators find ways to experience these benefits.

10 tips and tricks for being an effective planner:

  1. Make lists. Yes, more than one! Lists are a constant visual reminder to stay on track. Having more than one list helps you focus, be more intentional, relieve stress, and provide satisfaction when items are being accomplished.
  2. Use phone calendar apps AND paper calendars. Both are useful tools for keeping track of your schedule, prioritizing, and setting boundaries so you can achieve your goals in the time you have. Write out what needs to be done and digitally slot it in to maximize your day, every day.
  3. Periodically look ahead on the calendar. This simple step creates confidence and a sense of certainty because it allows you to better prepare for special events, like birthdays, and anticipate needs that may require additional planning and commitment, such as buying a gift.
  4. Set reminders. Reminders can help your future self stay on track with important tasks and build productive habits. The more specific you can be when setting reminders, the better, so you can more quickly jog your memory of all thoughts, ideas, and actions necessary to set you up for success.
  5. Get others involved to help you stay motivated. Family, friends, and peers can motivate you to achieve your goals and help you get the job done – you can’t, and shouldn’t, do everything yourself. By delegating certain tasks, you can use your time more productivity.
  6. Break large tasks into smaller parts. Big tasks can feel impossible to complete and inhibit your ability to focus. If the task is too large or overwhelming, create smaller, more manageable tasks that lead up to accomplishing the big task. This will help you feel accomplished and in control of your schedule.
  7. Use your words. Problem-solve the issue with “if I, then I, and that’s how” statements. This strategy will help you identify things that could be changed or improved and take active steps to cope with problems in a productive way.
  8. Take a breath and a break as needed. But not too long – regular breaks can help you be more productive and reduce the need for longer recovery at the end of the day, but make sure to set your markers of break and end break to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  9. Set an artificial deadline ahead of the real deadline. If you need to accomplish a task on Thursday, tell yourself the deadline is Tuesday. Self-constructed deadlines help you get ahead of your schedule and reduce the stress of leaving things to the very last minute.
  10. Give yourself rewards. Rewards cause your brain to elicit positive emotions, so the more your reward yourself, the more energized, contented, and accomplished you will feel.

To learn more about Planners, why they plan, and the benefits of doing so, check out the Brain of the Planner study on

If you’re looking for a way to prep for the holidays extra early, our new Santa’s Workshop features everything moms need for the holiday season, with early deals on gifts, holiday décor, toys and more. Santa’s Workshop is live now through December 15, 2021.

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