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 more organized. Paper planners are a traditional yet effective way to stay along with everything that’s to be achieved 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 essential and worth the effort. Here are a few tips on the best way 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 mind what needs to be performed, which makes it not as likely for you to forget about 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 falling asleep until I started this nightly practice many years ago. I no more 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 Sunday evening (or whatever is most effective for you), take a couple of minutes to review plans for the week ahead. That is your opportunity to policy for broader tasks that can’t be pegged to a certain day, i.e. meet up with a pal, distribute thank-you notes, finish that pile of ironing, weed the garden. You can even transfer any information which could have gone into your phone during the week.
3. Use the monthly section.
Every planner has a regular spread. I prefer designs that place it at the start of monthly, although some planners put most of the month spreads in the beginning of the book. This is where you need to write down 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, such as a red pen for anything relating to work. This is easiest done with a paper planner.
5. Make your steps concrete.
Write entirely sentences (with verbs!) to clarify things you need to do. For example, it’s much more likely you’ll tackle “Call Maria about recipe” quickly than if you just 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 shelf since it are certain to get forgotten. Pop it into your bag when you leave the house, just like you take your wallet and phone.
7. Choose a small passport or regular sized planner.
The smaller and more compact your planner is, the more inclined you will be to carry it around and use it. Realistically, you’ll need something that could easily fit into a handbag or backpack. Big, hefty desk planners are nice, but never as practical, unless you keep track of everything on your phone and transfer it later to your planner, but that’s yet another step. On a related note, pick a planner that draws your eye – something colorful and decorative – because that can help you to remember it and make you wish 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 will undoubtedly be jam-packed; others empty by comparison.
You should have to find out your own style, whether you prefer to create down everything as a sort of brain dump, or if you like to stick with only relevant scheduling stuff. Some people like designs with calendars on the left and lined/graph paper on the right, allowing 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.