Paper planners are effective only if you are using them properly and regularly. Below are a few ways to get into the groove, if you’re not yet an addict!
Perhaps you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to be more organized. Paper planners are a conventional yet efficient way to keep along with everything that’s to be achieved by providing a robust visual layout and space for jotting notes, to-do lists, and ideas. The only problem is that no planner can help you get organized unless you use it. Establishing that routine is very important and worth the effort. Below are a few tips on how best to get going 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 another day. That refreshes in your mind 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 an excellent point by describing it as an important brain dump:
“I used to have issues falling asleep until I began this nightly practice many years ago. I no more 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.
In the beginning of the week, such as for instance Sunday evening (or whatever is best suited for you), take a couple of minutes to go over plans for the week ahead. This really is your chance to policy for broader tasks that can’t be pegged to a particular day, i.e. catch up with a friend, distribute thank-you notes, finish that pile of ironing, weed the garden. You can even transfer any information which could have gone into your phone throughout the week.
3. Use the monthly section.
Every planner has a monthly spread. I favor designs that place it from the beginning of monthly, though some planners put most of the month spreads at the start of the book. This really is where you must write down all the stuff 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 a single place, so there isn’t to consult multiple planners or calendars. Try color-coding business and personal tasks for better separation, such as a red pen for anything associated with work. This really is easiest finished with a document planner.
5. Make your steps concrete.
Write entirely sentences (with verbs!) to clarify things you need to do. Like, it’s much more likely you’ll tackle “Call Maria about recipe” quickly than if you simply 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 shelf as it can get forgotten. Pop it into your bag whenever you leave the house, just like you take your wallet and phone.
7. Choose a small passport or regular sized planner.
Small and more compact your planner is, the more inclined you is 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 much less practical, unless you keep an eye on everything on your phone and transfer it later to your planner, but that’s an additional step. On a related note, pick a planner that draws your eye – something colorful and decorative – because that will help you to consider it and make you wish to use it.
8. Don’t stress about filling it up.
Sometimes the look of empty space makes people think they have 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 lifetime at a specific time. Some weeks will soon be jam-packed; others empty by comparison.
You will have to figure out your own personal style, whether you want to write down everything as sort of brain dump, or if you want to stick to only relevant scheduling stuff. Some people like designs with calendars on the left and lined/graph paper on the proper, allowing for note-taking. Alternatively, you may get a slender notebook that slips into the back of the planner for writing down issues that don’t match particular days.