Paper planners are effective only if you utilize 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 organized. Paper planners are an old-fashioned yet effective way to stay together with everything that has to be performed by giving a powerful visual layout and space for jotting notes, to-do lists, and ideas. The only real problem is that no planner will allow you to get organized if you use it. Establishing that routine is essential and well worth the effort. Below are a few tips on how to begin 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 following day. That refreshes in your thoughts what needs to be done, which makes it not as likely for you yourself to forget about appointments, etc.Organizational expert and blogger Jen from Pretty Neat Living makes a good point by describing it being an important brain dump:
“I used to have issues drifting off to sleep until I began this nightly practice a few 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 Sunday evening (or whatever is best suited for you), take a couple of minutes to review plans for the week ahead. This is your possiblity to plan 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 may also transfer any information that could 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 each month, however some planners put all of the month spreads in the beginning of the book. This is where you need 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 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 completed with a report planner.
5. Make your steps concrete.
Write entirely sentences (with verbs!) to clarify the thing you need to do. For example, 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 desk or table, ready for use. Don’t stuff it away on a shelf since it are certain to 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 scaled-down your planner is, the more inclined you is to carry it around and use it. Realistically, you need something that can easily fit into a handbag or backpack. Big, hefty desk planners are nice, but not as practical, if you don’t keep an eye on everything in 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 can help you to keep in mind 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 need 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 specific time. Some weeks will soon be jam-packed; others empty by comparison.
You’ll have to find out your personal style, whether you want to publish down everything as a kind of brain dump, or if you prefer to stick with only relevant scheduling stuff. Some individuals like designs with calendars on the left and lined/graph paper on the right, allowing for note-taking. Alternatively, you may get a thin notebook that slips into the back of the planner for writing down items that don’t squeeze into particular days.