I love using a planner to track important events, due dates, and birthdays. A planner is an ideal tool to keep everything scheduled throughout the year. Here are three ways you can get the most out of a planner!
1. Always keep it close
One of the reasons people fail to use their planners is because they don’t use it regularly. Keep it close to you throughout the day, and you’ll always be able to check it.
2. Make a to-do list
I often write a to-do list when I begin my work day. Writing a smaller list will help you track your daily accomplishments and goals. I typically write my list beside each day in my planner to organize each task.
3. Use the monthly and weekly views
I love this feature in my planner. Writing general reminders in the monthly view (e.g. vacation dates, due dates, birthdays) is a great way to encapsulate an overall view of my month. A weekly view lets me easily schedule daily, everyday tasks.
Do you use a planner?
I love to plan. I usually buy a new planner every January, but this year I decided to buy a new one in November. The planner I previously owned did not have adequate space for my daily scheduling and I know I’ll need more writing space once I head into a new internship in January.
What planner did I buy?
I bought a large, spacious planner from my local bookstore. This one originates from a brand called ban.do. It features a 17-month spread (August 2017-December 2018), color-coded tabs and yearly/monthly/weekly calendar pageviews. To satisfy my inner organized nerd, it even contains a coil-bound closure and internal pockets.
So, why did I buy a new one before the year ended?
This new planner serves two purposes:
- It tracks all my reminders – Important dates, reminders, and schedules popped up throughout this semester. I already used up a lot of space in my previous planner, and required more writing space to track everything. (Grad photos, party reminders, group work, etc.)
- I can schedule activities in advance – I already have a few important dates scheduled for 2018. This new planner allows me to write those dates and times without waiting until January.
Tips to set up a new planner
Setting up a new planner doesn’t need to be time-consuming. Here are three tips I use whenever I buy a new one:
- Transfer all important dates into your new planner before throwing the old one away
- Determine how you will colour-code your planner to organize it
How do you organize a new planner?
Finding the right planner for you can take time. Picture this: After finding the perfect planner at your local stationary store, you stare at the blank pages, unsure of exactly where to start. Today I’ll share tips to help you use those pages!
1) Use a single planner, if possible
It can be cumbersome to manage both a personal and work planner. Find a planner you can use to record business and personal tasks. This will streamline your tasks, due dates, and appointments. A bonus tip: It is a good idea to consistently check your planner to review the day ahead.
2) Create a list within your planner
I make lists often. I list each task to be accomplished by the end of the day, and check them off as I complete them. I enjoy the motion of marking a check-mark next to my list during the day. It provides both a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
3) Slow down in order to speed up
Set aside time each week to plan ahead. Inputing tasks and reminders for the week ahead offers you time to organize thoughts, de-stress, and provides a clear view of what you plan to accomplish. The act of physically writing out your to-dos is an effective tool for cognitive recognition.
4) Use a color-coding system
My favourite method of colour-coding is using different pens or post-it notes. Use a different colour for each specific task you need to remember. For example, reserve a pink pen for exam dates, a blue pen for reminders, a red pen for appointments, etc.
Do you use a planner? If you do, is it an effective tool to keep you organized?