Paper planners are effective only if you use them properly and regularly. Here are some ways to get into the groove, if you’re not yet an addict!
Perhaps you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to become more organized. Paper planners are a conventional yet efficient way to keep on top of everything that has to be performed by giving a robust visual layout and space for jotting notes, to-do lists, and ideas. The only problem is that no planner will allow you to 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 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 another day. That refreshes in your mind what needs to be achieved, making it less likely for you yourself to just forget about appointments, etc.Organizational expert and blogger Jen from Pretty Neat Living makes an excellent point by describing it as an important brain dump:
“I used to own issues dropping off to sleep until I started this nightly practice a few years ago. I no longer 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 Sunday evening (or whatever works best for you), take a few momemts to review plans for the week ahead. This really is your opportunity to arrange for broader tasks that can’t be pegged to a specific day, i.e. meet up with a buddy, send thank-you notes, finish that pile of ironing, weed the garden. You can also transfer any information that’ll have gone into your phone during the week.
3. Use the monthly section.
Every planner has a monthly spread. I favor designs that place it at the start of monthly, even though some planners put most of the month spreads at the start of the book. This really is where you should 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 it all in one 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 associated with work. That is easiest completed with a document planner.
5. Make your steps concrete.
Write completely sentences (with verbs!) to clarify the thing you need to do. Like, it’s more likely you’ll tackle “Call Maria about recipe” quickly than if you only 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 display because it are certain to get forgotten. Pop it into your bag when you leave the house, in the same way 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 will be to carry it around and use it. Realistically, you’ll need something that can easily fit in a handbag or backpack. Big, hefty desk planners are nice, but much less practical, until you keep an eye on 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 allow you to to keep in mind 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 out and lose interest 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 will have to determine your own style, whether you prefer to publish down everything as sort of brain dump, or if you want to stick to only relevant scheduling stuff. Some people like designs with calendars on the left and lined/graph paper on the best, which allows for note-taking. Alternatively, you will get a slender notebook that slips into the back of the planner for writing down things that don’t match particular days.