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 effective way to remain on top of everything that has to be achieved by providing a strong visual layout and space for jotting notes, to-do lists, and ideas. The only real problem is that no planner will help you get organized unless you use it. Establishing that routine is important and worth the effort. Here are a few tips on the best way 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 go over your tasks for the following day. That refreshes in your thoughts what needs to be done, which makes it less likely for you really to forget about appointments, etc.Organizational expert and blogger Jen from Pretty Neat Living makes a good point by describing it as an important brain dump:
“I used to possess issues dropping off to sleep until I started this nightly practice a couple of years ago. I no more 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.
From the beginning of the week, such as for example Sunday evening (or whatever is best suited for you), take a few minutes to review plans for the week ahead. That is your chance to policy for broader tasks that can’t be pegged to a certain day, i.e. meet up with a pal, send thank-you notes, finish that pile of ironing, weed the garden. You may also transfer any information which could have gone into your phone throughout the week.
3. Use the monthly section.
Every planner has a regular spread. I favor designs that put it in the beginning of each month, however some planners put all the month spreads at the start of the book. That is where you ought 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 all of it in one 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 relating to work. This is easiest done with a report planner.
5. Make your steps concrete.
Write entirely sentences (with verbs!) to clarify what you need to do. Like, it’s much more likely you’ll tackle “Call Maria about recipe” quickly than if you merely 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 when you leave the house, just as 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 will be to take it around and use it. Realistically, you need something that could easily fit into a handbag or backpack. Big, hefty desk planners are nice, but much less practical, unless you keep track of everything on your phone and transfer it later to your planner, but that’s one more step. On a related note, choose a planner that draws your eye – something colorful and decorative – because that will allow you to to consider it and make you wish to use it.
8. Don’t stress about filling it up.
Sometimes the looks of empty space makes people think they have to 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 certain time. Some weeks will be jam-packed; others empty by comparison.
You will have to figure out your personal style, whether you like to create down everything as a sort of brain dump, or if you want to stay with only relevant scheduling stuff. Some individuals like designs with calendars on the left and lined/graph paper on the best, allowing for note-taking. Alternatively, you may get a thin notebook that slips into the rear of the planner for writing down things that don’t squeeze into particular days.