Paper planners are effective only if you utilize them properly and regularly. Here are a few ways to find yourself in the groove, if you’re not yet an addict!
Perhaps you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to be much more organized. Paper planners are an old-fashioned yet efficient way to keep along with everything that’s to be done by providing a strong visual layout and space for jotting notes, to-do lists, and ideas. The sole problem is that no planner will allow you to get organized if you don’t use it. Establishing that routine is essential and well worth the effort. Below are a few tips on the best way to begin with a planner. (See our slideshow on 10 fabulous planners to stop you organized all year.)
1. Have a regular daily planning session.
Take 5 or 10 minutes every evening to go over your tasks for another day. That refreshes in your thoughts what needs to be done, rendering it less likely for you to ignore appointments, etc.Organizational expert and blogger Jen from Pretty Neat Living makes a great point by describing it being an important brain dump:
“I used to own issues falling asleep until I started this nightly practice a few years ago. I no further experience racing thoughts scrambling through my mind of tomorrow’s to-dos since they’re all nicely laid out for me.”
2. Have a regular weekly planning session.
At the start of the week, such as Sunday evening (or whatever works best for you), take a couple of minutes to review plans for the week ahead. This is your opportunity to arrange for broader tasks that can’t be pegged to a certain day, i.e. meet up with a friend, send thank-you notes, finish that pile of ironing, weed the garden. You may also transfer any information that could have gone into your phone during the week.
3. Use the monthly section.
Every planner has a monthly spread. I prefer designs that put it in the beginning of every month, while some planners put most of the month spreads at the start of the book. That is where you must jot down everything that won’t change – birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, due dates for bills, etc.
4. Use a single planner for everything.
It’s easiest to keep all of it in one single place, so you do not have to consult multiple planners or calendars. Try color-coding business and personal tasks for better separation, such as a red pen for anything relating to work. This really is easiest completed with a document planner.
5. Make your steps concrete.
Write in full sentences (with verbs!) to clarify the thing you need to do. Like, it’s more likely you’ll tackle “Call Maria about recipe” quickly than if you just write “Maria.”
6. Check your planner a lot.
Check it frequently and leave it somewhere obvious when you’re at home, a desk or table, ready for use. Don’t stuff it away on a display because it are certain to get forgotten. Pop it into your bag when you leave the home, just like you take your wallet and phone.
7. Choose a small passport or regular sized planner.
Small and scaled-down your planner is, the more inclined you is to make it around and use it. Realistically, you’ll need something that may easily fit in a handbag or backpack. Big, hefty desk planners are nice, but not as practical, if you don’t keep an eye on everything on your own phone and transfer it later to your planner, but that’s one more step. On a related note, select a planner that draws your eye – something colorful and decorative – because that will allow you to to keep in mind it and make you intend to use it.
8. Don’t stress about filling it up.
Sometimes the appearance of empty space makes people think they should fill it up. Don’t go there because you’ll burn up and lose interest in your planner. Rather, allow your planner to be reflective of your daily life at a particular time. Some weeks will soon be jam-packed; others empty by comparison.
You will have to determine your own personal style, whether you like to write down everything as sort of brain dump, or if you like to stay with only relevant scheduling stuff. Many people like designs with calendars on the left and lined/graph paper on the proper, allowing for note-taking. Alternatively, you may get a trim notebook that slips into the trunk of the planner for writing down things that don’t match particular days.