Paper planners are effective only if you use them properly and regularly. Below are a few ways to get involved with the groove, if you’re not even an addict!
Perhaps you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to are more organized. Paper planners are a traditional yet efficient way to remain together with everything that has to be done by giving a strong visual layout and space for jotting notes, to-do lists, and ideas. The only real problem is that no planner can help you get organized if you don’t use it. Establishing that routine is important and really 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 keep you organized all year.)
1. Have a regular daily planning session.
Take 5 or 10 minutes every evening to review your tasks for the following day. That refreshes in your mind what needs to be achieved, which makes it less likely for you really to just forget about appointments, etc.Organizational expert and blogger Jen from Pretty Neat Living makes an excellent point by describing it as an important brain dump:
“I used to have issues falling asleep until I began 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 organized for me.”
2. Have a regular weekly planning session.
At the start of the week, such as for example Sunday evening (or whatever works best for you), take a few minutes to review plans for the week ahead. This really is your opportunity to plan for broader tasks that can’t be pegged to a particular day, i.e. catch up with a pal, send thank-you notes, finish that pile of ironing, weed the garden. You may also transfer any information that may have gone into your phone through the week.
3. Use the monthly section.
Every planner has a regular spread. I prefer designs that stick it at the start of each month, even though some planners put all the month spreads at the start of the book. That is where you ought to write down all the things 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 everything in one 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 relating to work. That is easiest completed with a document planner.
5. Make your steps concrete.
Write entirely sentences (with verbs!) to clarify the thing you need to do. Like, it’s much 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 in the home, a desk or table, ready for use. Don’t stuff it away on a shelf as it will get forgotten. Pop it into your bag once you leave the house, just as 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 will be to carry it around and use it. Realistically, you need something that may easily fit into a handbag or backpack. Big, hefty desk planners are nice, but never as practical, if you don’t keep an eye on everything in your phone and transfer it later to your planner, but that’s yet another step. On a related note, select a planner that draws your eye – something colorful and decorative – because that can help you to remember 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 have to fill it up. Don’t go there because you’ll burn up and weary in your planner. Rather, allow your planner to be reflective of your daily life at a specific time. Some weeks is going to be jam-packed; others empty by comparison.
You’ll have to determine your own personal style, whether you prefer to create down everything as a kind of brain dump, or if you prefer 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 will get a thin notebook that slips into the trunk of the planner for writing down things that don’t squeeze into particular days.