How To Routinely Use Your Planner

This past week, we wrote a post called The Best Planners For 2017.  But we wanted to take that post a step further and ensure that you won't just buy a planner to stuff in a drawer to be forgotten. We want to get you excited and help you take full advantage of how a planner can positively add to your life when you include it in your daily routine.


Here are four tips for using your planner:

1. Plan ahead.

Sure, it sounds cliche to plan ahead in your planner, but it's a must! Spend time immediately setting your planner up in such a way that you reap all the benefits of its blank pages. Don't just use the calendar. Outline your goals, list your dreams, track your finances, schedule chores, record appointments, and more! Making your planner more than a daily calendar will encourage you to come back to it again and again.

2. Create a color-coded system.

If you love to organize, you probably already do this. If not, try it out! Using colored pens or highlighters can help you better keep track of your plans. Use one color for family obligations, another for your “to-do” list, and add a few more colors to cover the rest of your responsibilities.

Rebecca Peterson wrote an article on her blog called 3 Ways To Color Code Your Planner. She broke color coding into three options: color by category, color by priority, color by time. Read her post for a description of each option to see what will best fit your planner's needs.

3. Design the planner to fit your style.

I have seen so many beautiful planners full of stickers, stamps, colorful notes, and other fancy additions. But for me, I like simple. If I see a planner thick with clutter, I will run the opposite direction. Colors are fun, but they aren't a representation of who I am. I prefer beautiful, handwritten fonts throughout and quotes written in the margins. Don't try to make your planner a replica of those you see on Pinterest. Create something that reflects exactly who you are so that you are more likely to visit it again and again — like the familiarity of an old friend.

4. Schedule time with your planner.

If you want to set yourself up for success, you have to spend time with your goals, remind yourself of your dreams, and prioritize. You will only do this if you refer to your planner on a regular basis. Schedule a time each day to touch base with your planner, and you will become more efficient in the planning process that best works for you.

If you are someone who regularly uses a planner, tell us in the comments what works for you!

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4 Responses

  1. I used to use a planner all the time – my busy teaching schedule made it imperative. In the last few years, however, I have moved away from them because of how technological we have become. I have a calender on my computer that syncs with my phone, but I somehow feel less connected to what I get done in a day. I loved the planning and the time spend setting goals. I think I will have to get back into it! Thanks for the timely reminder!

  2. I use my planner every day as a way to keep track of everything from my to do lists (for work & personal), meetings and social obligations. I’ve found that instead of keeping my to do lists separately, it’s easier for me to get a planner with a weekly & monthly view so that I can keep track of the month ahead and have lots of space in the weekly view for my daily to do list. I love having a large planner with lots of space and notes – if it’s not written in my planner, it doesn’t happen. I’m also a little obsessed with having something written on every day of the planner, but it’s great to keep everything organized for all the things I have going on. I also keep my planners from previous years so I can keep track of all the activities I’ve done. You’d be amazed when your friends can’t remember what you did on a specific weekend that you can go back to your 2014 planner to tell them!

    Thank you for the color coding tip – I just use a black pen now to mark everything in my planner, but I’ll have to try the color tip since I put literally everything in my planner for work and personal.

  3. I bought my Filofax at the Harvard Coop on 24, Nov., 1994 and have used it everyday since. It’s a Windsor’ personal size and goes with me wherever I go. My life is in it, as the cliche` goes. Everything: where to go / be; lunch with who and where; what I paid for something; my daily “to-do lists with little check-off boxes. I have hole punched train timetables, and subway maps. A map of NYC where I live but still get lost in once in a while.
    There is nothing fancy about it or do I rebuild or revise it very often because it works for me. I love it.

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