Paper planners are effective only if you use 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 organized. Paper planners are a traditional yet efficient way to remain on top of everything that has to be achieved by giving a robust visual layout and space for jotting notes, to-do lists, and ideas. The sole problem is that no planner will allow you to get organized if you use it. Establishing that routine is important and really worth the effort. Here are some tips on how 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 next day. That refreshes in your head what must be done, making it not as likely for you to forget about appointments, etc.Organizational expert and blogger Jen from Pretty Neat Living makes an excellent point by describing it being an important brain dump:
“I used to own issues falling asleep until I started this nightly practice a couple of 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 instance Sunday evening (or whatever is best suited for you), take a few minutes to go over plans for the week ahead. This is your chance to plan for broader tasks that can’t be pegged to a particular day, i.e. catch up with a pal, send out thank-you notes, finish that pile of ironing, weed the garden. You can even transfer any information that may have gone into your phone during the week.
3. Use the monthly section.
Every planner has a regular spread. I prefer designs that put it in the beginning of each month, though some planners put all of the month spreads at the beginning of the book. This is where you need 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 keep all of it 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 paper planner.
5. Make your steps concrete.
Write in full sentences (with verbs!) to clarify things you need to do. Like, it’s 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 in the home, a table or table, ready for use. Don’t stuff it away on a corner as it will 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 scaled-down your planner is, the more inclined you will be to make it around and use it. Realistically, you’ll need something that may easily fit in a handbag or backpack. Big, hefty desk planners are nice, but never as practical, if you don’t keep track of everything on your own phone and transfer it later to your planner, but that’s yet another step. On a related note, choose a planner that draws your eye – something colorful and decorative – because that will allow you to to remember it and make you intend 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 up and weary in your planner. Rather, allow your planner to be reflective of your daily life at a certain time. Some weeks will undoubtedly be jam-packed; others empty by comparison.
You should have to determine your own style, whether you want to create down everything as sort of brain dump, or if you want to stick with only relevant scheduling stuff. Some individuals like designs with calendars on the left and lined/graph paper on the best, which allows for note-taking. Alternatively, you can get a trim notebook that slips into the back of the planner for writing down items that don’t fit into particular days.