Maybe you’ve told yourself you would start using a planner to stay organized. If you are interested in keeping track of tasks and getting sh*t done, you have to have a planner.
Some days I’m a hot mess. I admit it. (Sound familiar?)
Whether it’s the school lunches that have to be made, telling the hubby where to be after he gets out of work, planning content for my website, not to mention my actual job…Life can get pretty dang crazy!
I would like to propose something: Use a planner…yup I said it.
Whether is be old fashioned paper or digital planners, give you a visual space for writing down notes, creating to-do lists, and noting ideas. Writing things down is the age-old way to get things done.
Check out my list of tips on how to use a planner effectively.
1. Use the Monthly View
Most, if not all planners come with a monthly overview section. The goal is to use one planner. Here in the is where you can write down things that don’t change like birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, special events like weddings, bills, and recurring meetings.
Tip: To take is a step farther, I like to color code things so I can see what is going on at a glance. Pink for my personal appointments, orange for hubby, blue for the boys, yellow for work related and so on.
2. Use the Weekly Plan Section
Every Sunday evening, I like to sit down with my planner and look over the week ahead. This is a chance to plan for to transfer what items or appointment are in your monthly view for a quick overview of what’s happening this week.
You can also use this section for personal items like “put out trash”, “create FB content”, “pick up dry cleaning” and other tasks like this.
3. Use the Daily Plan Pages
The daily section is where your plan gets refined. This is where you list out your specific tasks that you want to accomplish. You can also plan outfits, workouts, and meals.
I also use this section to break out what I entered in the weekly section into separate time slotted tasks, so that I can put a “check” next to them when it’s complete. Getting things done and crossing them off feels GOOD!
4. Be specific with Your Steps
When you are planning for your day, in your daily page, be sure to be specific. Instead of “make calls”, instead write down “call Erin and schedule shopping trip”. It also helps you figure out how much time you need to finish your task.
5. Your Phone is Not Your Planner
We ALL use our phones to enter notes and appointments. Unfortunately, your planner will not send you reminders with an alarm 15 minutes before it’s start. When you have important things that you CAN’T forget, be sure to enter an appointment in your calendar so you can be reminded.
Nothing should go unplanned. Names, dates, dollars, appointments and goals should all be written down in your planner.
6. Organize by important activities
Create sections that clearly state the action to be taken for the day, week or month such as:
- To Do
- To Buy
- Next week
Not only will this help your key tasks stand out, but it also helps to keep them top of mind on a daily basis.
7. Set aside time to actually plan
Are you tired of buying new planners on January 1st only to find it sitting in the shelf collecting dust by Valentine’s day? Setting aside the time to plan is one of the most important things you can do to make sure you stay on track.
Get into a routine and stick with it. Set aside 20 minutes every week to spend time setting up your planner for the upcoming week/month. You can also plan each day the night before so your tasks can stay top of mind. Planning is most effective when you are put a consistent effort in.
8. Don’t try to fill it completely
Blank spaces in your planner doesn’t have to be filled, white space is OK! Take this time for YOU. Work on hobbies, read a book, or to relax.
9. Make if fun, make it YOU
Planner stickers are a great way to bring your planner to life and show your personality. There are a variety of stickers, functional and fun. Functional stickers are not only pretty but put action and definition to your tasks.
10. Don’t throw away used planners
If you use your planner effectively, they can serve as reminders of your thoughts and feelings for the year. Flipping through the old pages of planners is like a walk down memory lane. You can reflect on the things you celebrated and how far you have come in your personal journey.