Paper planners are effective only if you are using them properly and regularly. Here 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 be much more organized. Paper planners are an old-fashioned yet efficient way to keep together with everything that has to be achieved by providing a robust 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 if you don’t use it. Establishing that routine is very important and worth the effort. Below are a few tips on the best way to get going 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 head what must be performed, which makes it not as likely for you really 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 drifting off to sleep until I started this nightly practice many 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.
In the beginning of the week, such as for example Sunday evening (or whatever is best suited for you), take a few momemts to review plans for the week ahead. This is your possiblity to plan for broader tasks that can’t be pegged to a specific day, i.e. meet up with a pal, send out 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 monthly spread. I favor designs that stick it in the beginning of monthly, however some planners put all of the month spreads at the start of the book. This is where you should make note of 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 keep all of it in one place, so you do not have to consult multiple planners or calendars. Try color-coding business and personal tasks for better separation, like a red pen for anything associated with work. This really is easiest completed with a report planner.
5. Make your steps concrete.
Write completely sentences (with verbs!) to clarify things you need to do. As an example, 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 are certain to get forgotten. Pop it into your bag whenever you leave the home, in the same way 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 make it around and use it. Realistically, you’ll need something that could fit in a handbag or backpack. Big, hefty desk planners are nice, but never as practical, if you don’t keep an eye on everything on your phone and transfer it later to your planner, but that’s one more step. On a related note, pick a planner that draws your eye – something colorful and decorative – because that will allow you to to remember it and make you want 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 lifetime at a certain time. Some weeks is going to be jam-packed; others empty by comparison.
You should have to figure out your own personal style, whether you like to create down everything as sort of brain dump, or if you prefer to stick with only relevant scheduling stuff. Some people like designs with calendars on the left and lined/graph paper on the right, which allows for note-taking. Alternatively, you can get a slender notebook that slips into the trunk of the planner for writing down items that don’t squeeze into particular days.