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By | February 4, 2020

Paper planners are effective only if you use them properly and regularly. Here are a few ways to find yourself in the groove, if you’re not even an addict!


Perhaps you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to be organized. Paper planners are an old-fashioned yet effective way to keep along with everything that’s to be done by providing a strong visual layout and space for jotting notes, to-do lists, and ideas. The only problem is that no planner can help you get organized until you use it. Establishing that routine is important and worth the effort. Below are a few tips on how best to get started 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 the next day. That refreshes in your head what must be done, rendering it less likely for you yourself to just forget about appointments, etc.Organizational expert and blogger Jen from Pretty Neat Living makes a great point by describing it as an important brain dump:

“I used to own issues falling asleep until I began 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 organized for me.”
2. Have a regular weekly planning session.
At the start of the week, such as for instance Sunday evening (or whatever is most effective for you), take a few minutes to review plans for the week ahead. This really is your chance to plan for broader tasks that can’t be pegged to a specific day, i.e. meet up with a buddy, send out thank-you notes, finish that pile of ironing, weed the garden. You can also transfer any information that will have gone into your phone during the week.

3. Use the monthly section.
Every planner has a regular spread. I prefer designs that stick it from the beginning of monthly, even though some planners put most of the month spreads at the beginning of the book. That is where you must jot 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 a single 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 concerning work. This is easiest done with a report planner.

5. Make your steps concrete.
Write completely 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 merely write “Maria.”

6. Check your planner a lot.
Check it frequently and leave it somewhere obvious when you’re at home, a table or table, ready for use. Don’t stuff it away on a corner because it will get forgotten. Pop it into your bag once you leave your 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 is to make it around and use it. Realistically, you will need something that will fit in a handbag or backpack. Big, hefty desk planners are nice, but much less practical, until you record everything on your own 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 help you to keep in mind 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 need 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 life at a certain time. Some weeks will undoubtedly be jam-packed; others empty by comparison.

You should have to figure out your own personal style, whether you prefer to write down everything as a sort of brain dump, or if you want to stay with only relevant scheduling stuff. Many people like designs with calendars on the left and lined/graph paper on the right, which allows for note-taking. Alternatively, you will get a trim notebook that slips into the rear of the planner for writing down items that don’t squeeze into particular days.

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