Paper planners are effective only if you are using them properly and regularly. Here are a few ways to find yourself in the groove, if you’re not yet an addict!
Perhaps you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to be organized. Paper planners are an old-fashioned yet effective way to remain on top of everything that has to be performed by giving a strong visual layout and space for jotting notes, to-do lists, and ideas. The sole problem is that no planner will help you get organized if you don’t use it. Establishing that routine is essential and worth the effort. Here are some tips on the best way 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 next day. That refreshes in your thoughts what must be performed, rendering it less likely for you really to just 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 falling asleep until I started this nightly practice a few 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.
From the beginning of the week, such as for example Sunday evening (or whatever is most effective for you), take a few minutes to review plans for the week ahead. This is your possiblity to policy for broader tasks that can’t be pegged to a certain day, i.e. meet up with a friend, send thank-you notes, finish that pile of ironing, weed the garden. You can also transfer any information that may have gone into your phone through the week.
3. Use the monthly section.
Every planner has a monthly spread. I favor designs that put it at the start of each month, while some planners put all of the month spreads in the beginning of the book. This really is where you ought to jot down all the stuff that won’t change – birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, due dates for bills, etc.
4. Use a single planner for everything.
It’s easiest to keep everything 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, like a red pen for anything relating to work. That is easiest done with a document planner.
5. Make your steps concrete.
Write in full sentences (with verbs!) to clarify things you need to do. As an example, it’s much 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 desk or table, ready for use. Don’t stuff it away on a corner as it will 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.
Small and more compact your planner is, the more inclined you will be to carry it around and use it. Realistically, you will need something that can fit in a handbag or backpack. Big, hefty desk planners are nice, but never as practical, if you keep track of everything on your phone and transfer it later to your planner, but that’s an additional step. On a related note, select a planner that draws your eye – something colorful and decorative – because that will allow you to to remember 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 lose interest in your planner. Rather, allow your planner to be reflective of your life at a certain time. Some weeks is going to be jam-packed; others empty by comparison.
You will have to determine your personal style, whether you want to create down everything as a kind of brain dump, or if you prefer to stay with only relevant scheduling stuff. Many people like designs with calendars on the left and lined/graph paper on the proper, allowing for note-taking. Alternatively, you may get a slim notebook that slips into the back of the planner for writing down things that don’t match particular days.