Paper planners are effective only if you utilize them properly and regularly. Below are a few ways to get involved with the groove, if you’re not yet an addict!
Perhaps you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to are more organized. Paper planners are an old-fashioned yet effective way to keep on top of everything that’s to be done by providing a powerful visual layout and space for jotting notes, to-do lists, and ideas. The sole problem is that no planner will help you get organized until you use it. Establishing that routine is essential and well worth the effort. Here are some tips on the best way to get started 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 the next day. That refreshes in your thoughts what needs to be done, which makes it less likely for you yourself to forget about appointments, etc.Organizational expert and blogger Jen from Pretty Neat Living makes a good point by describing it being an important brain dump:
“I used to own issues drifting off to sleep until I started this nightly practice a few years ago. I no longer experience racing thoughts scrambling through my mind of tomorrow’s to-dos since they’re all nicely presented for me.”
2. Have a regular weekly planning session.
At the start of the week, such as Sunday evening (or whatever is best suited for you), take a few momemts to go over plans for the week ahead. This is your possiblity to plan for broader tasks that can’t be pegged to a certain day, i.e. catch up with a pal, distribute thank-you notes, finish that pile of ironing, weed the garden. You can also transfer any information that may have gone into your phone throughout the week.
3. Use the monthly section.
Every planner has a regular spread. I prefer designs that place it in the beginning of each month, although some planners put all of the month spreads in the beginning of the book. That is where you need to make note of everything that won’t change – birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, due dates for bills, etc.
4. Use a single planner for everything.
It’s easiest to help keep it all in a single place, so you don’t have to consult multiple planners or calendars. Try color-coding business and personal tasks for better separation, such as a red pen for anything concerning work. This really is easiest completed with a document planner.
5. Make your steps concrete.
Write in full sentences (with verbs!) to clarify things you need to do. For instance, 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 table or table, ready for use. Don’t stuff it away on a shelf as it are certain to get forgotten. Pop it into your bag once you leave your house, just like you take your wallet and phone.
7. Choose a small passport or regular sized planner.
The smaller and smaller sized your planner is, the more inclined you is to make it around and use it. Realistically, you will need something that may easily fit into a handbag or backpack. Big, hefty desk planners are nice, but never as practical, until you keep an eye on everything on your own phone and transfer it later to your planner, but that’s an additional step. On a related note, select a planner that draws your eye – something colorful and decorative – because that will help you to consider 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 need to fill it up. Don’t go there because you’ll burn out and weary in your planner. Rather, allow your planner to be reflective of your life at a particular time. Some weeks will be jam-packed; others empty by comparison.
You’ll have to figure out your own personal style, whether you prefer to write down everything as a sort of brain dump, or if you want to stick to only relevant scheduling stuff. Many people like designs with calendars on the left and lined/graph paper on the best, allowing for note-taking. Alternatively, you may get a slender notebook that slips into the trunk of the planner for writing down things that don’t fit into particular days.