Do you have a habit of buying a planner but never really using it to its potential? I’ve been there..
I love planners but it takes a lot of work for it to truly make you more organized. Unfortunately, simply buying a cute planner will do absolutely nothing to make you more productive and organized.
Bummer, I know.
But there are some simple tips and tricks for using your planner to its full potential. Here are some simple ways I’ve found to make my planner more effective
First of all, to state the obvious..
Sorry to burst any bubbles here, but just buying a planner will not make you more organized. You have to actually use it and implement your plan and to-do list on a daily basis. At least if you want to be more organized.
You can do this by intentionally making it a habit to go over your planner at least once a day – either before bed to plan the next day or early in the morning.
Just writing down your to-do list helps declutter your mind and gives you a plan of action for the day ahead. Instead of just winging it, you can actually be productive.
Find The Right One
Since I’ve found the perfect planner for me, it has done wonders for my organization. That being said, if the one you bought isn’t quite cutting it, you can adjust it yourself.
You could always add post-it notes for areas that aren’t included. Maybe you need a space for writing out your grocery list or a little extra space for notes.
If you’re not sure what you want in a planner or where to start looking for one, be sure to check out my post on how to find the perfect planner.
If you are really busy it can help to break up your tasks into categories. For example, you could color code your planner like this: (all you will need are some different colored pens)
Social Outings & Errands: Red
Kids Activities: Orange
That’s just a small example.. there are lots of other categories you could add to make sure everything is separated and organized within your planning pages.
I do this often in my planner and it helps so much to see different categories of activities represented by different colors.
Take It With You
I love that my planner is a great size so I can easily take it with me when I go to work or run errands.
I have an ongoing grocery list in my planner that is really helpful so that I always have my list with me when I go to the store.
It is also a good idea to take it with you so that all your notes can be in one place when you need to write something down.
Even if you don’t take it everywhere, I find that bringing it along when I know I’ll have time to review and work on it is helpful to fit in extra planning time to be sure I’m making progress towards my goals.
Make It Fun
It’s fun to use stickers for birthdays and other special events and to just add a little extra decorations to your pages.
Add Functionality with Accessories
You can add some extra functionality to your planner by incorporating things like folder pockets, extra note pages, and more. Just search for planner accessories and you will find all sorts of options!
Don’t Overload it
This one is key for me personally – I tend to get into the habit of writing down everything that I would like to do that day in my planner.
The problem with that is, that I start the day overwhelmed with everything I need to do!
Now, I’m ok with not getting everything on my list done each day. But when it’s barely half completed it can be a little defeating.
So I try to find a balance and stick to the top priorities of my day and what I can realistically accomplish.
Try to be specific about your to-do’s. Instead of writing down a big, overarching project such as “declutter the house” or even a generic term like “work on decluttering,” try to instead write something like “Clean out and declutter 3 kitchen cabinets.”
First of all, this works better because you’re breaking down the big tasks into manageable chunks.
Furthermore, it helps us focus on the task at hand instead of the possibly overwhelming “Big picture.”
Prioritize Your Tasks
By implementing a prioritizing system in your planner, it will make it easier to accomplish the most important tasks first.
I do this by simplifying numbering the items of what I should do first, second, third, and so on.
I also like to take it a step further and separate out things I can get done during naptime by marking them with an asterisk.
Play around with different ideas and figure out what works for you to keep your items prioritized.
So, to recap, there are several simple tips you can use to make your planner more effective. First, you have to actually use it! But then by finding the right one, color coding, taking it with you, and making it fun, you will start finding yourself more organized.
Further, by being specific, prioritizing, and not overloading it you can take your productivity to the next level.
These simple tips can take you from a casual planner user to using your planner every day so that your life and projects stay organized.