- Color Coding: Assigning a different color for each category of tasks can make it easier to see what needs to be done at a glance. I don’t use a lot of color coding in my planner, but I always use green for items related to paying bills, payday, and anything else that has to do with money. I also use red when I have an important or urgent task that I cannot overlook.
- Use Stickers: Adding fun stickers to your planner can make it more visually appealing and motivating. You can use stickers to highlight important events, mark deadlines, or simply decorate your pages.
- Set Goals: Writing down your goals in your planner can help you stay focused and motivated. Break down larger goals into smaller, achievable tasks, and track your progress along the way. Try a monthly review of what worked and what didn’t and adjust accordingly.
- Make Lists: Lists are one of the best ways to keep track of things that need to be done. Whether it’s a to-do list for the day, a grocery list, or a list of books to read, writing things down can help you stay organized. It’s especially fun when you can cross something off your list!
- Keep it Simple: Don’t overcomplicate your planner with unnecessary details (and this is easy to do). Stick to the basics and use your planner as a tool to help you stay on top of things. Make it your own and don’t try to keep up with what everyone else is doing in their planners.
- Use a Weekly Spread: Many planners come with a weekly spread that allows you to see your schedule for the entire week at a glance. Use this space to plan out your week and make sure you don’t miss any important deadlines or appointments. Sometimes I have to make a note to remind myself to look at my weekly spread.
- Add a Habit Tracker: Keeping track of your habits can help you form new ones or break bad ones. Use a habit tracker to keep track of things like exercise, water intake, or meditation. I don’t do this all the time, but if I get enough days in, it helps me see where I’m trending in the habits I’m wanting to establish (or conquer!)
- Use Washi Tape: Washi tape is a decorative tape that comes in a variety of colors and patterns. Use it to add borders to your pages, mark important events, or create fun page dividers. This can be fun if you really don’t have many plans and just want to stay busy in your planner. When I do this, I look for pages in the past that don’t have much on this and try to “prettify my planner”.
- Create a Brain Dump Page: A brain dump page is a place to jot down all of your thoughts and ideas. Use it to capture ideas as they come to you, and then refer back to it later when you have more time to flesh them out. You can’t go wrong with a brain dump. I usually have a running list going but when my brain feels unusually cluttered, I pull out a clean sheet of paper and start pouring out the words.
- Make it Portable: If you’re always on the go, consider using a smaller planner that you can easily take with you. Look for planners that fit in your purse or tote bag and have a durable cover to protect them. Really great when you’re away from your planner and you need to make some sort of appointment.
- Use Sticky Notes: Sticky notes are a great way to add temporary reminders to your planner. Use them to mark important pages or events, or to add notes to your pages. When I’m using my paper planner, I use tons of these!
- Don’t Be Afraid to Customize: Your planner should work for you, so don’t be afraid to customize it to fit your needs. Add pages, change the layout, or experiment with different pens and markers until you find a system that works for you.
Planning is like having a map to help you get to your destination. But just like how different people prefer different routes to get somewhere, different people prefer different ways to plan their work.
So, it’s important to try different planning methods until you find the one that works best for you. Don’t worry if you don’t get it right the first time, it’s normal. Every time you try a new method, you’ll get closer to finding the perfect one for you.
Remember to always check if your planning method is still working for you because things change, and you might need to adjust your plan. With the right planning method, you’ll be able to work more efficiently and achieve your goals.