It’s a brand-new year, and that means time to start a fresh planner! For most of us, calendars and planners are the only way to stay organized and get through the day. But a planner can also be used to set goals, track progress, plan big projects and explore personal development. Whether you’re new to planners or a seasoned pro, here are a few tips to help you get more from your daily planner in 2019.
Choose the Right Planner: Planners, calendars and agendas come in a wide variety of sizes and layouts, so it’s important to pick one that matches your specific requirements. Do you need a daily layout or weekly view? Something to carry with you or one to keep at your desk? Appointments and to-do list only, or with space for goal setting, habit tracking and motivational sentiments? Once you know how you want to use your new planner, you’ll be able to choose the one that best suits your needs.
More than To-Dos: Besides managing your schedule, there are many ways to use a planner. Here are some ideas you might want to include:
- Fitness, diet or habit tracker for other self-care goals
- Budget and finance tracker
- Goal setting
- Gratitude lists
- Mood tracker
Setting Up: Once you’ve picked out a new planner, you’ll need an hour or two to get it ready for the new year. Keep last year’s planner handy while you transfer:
- Important dates & appointments— holidays, vacations, anniversaries, birthdays and other notable events
- School and/or work dates—big meetings, payday, upcoming exams, etc.
- Housekeeping & auto maintenance routines—add reminders for regular tasks like changing the filter on the air-conditioner or having your tires rotated
- Goals and deadlines—write down a few goals for yourself for the new year, and schedule check-ins to help keep you on track
Staying on Track: To get the most out of your planner, you should make it a habit to update on a regular basis. To stay mindful of what you need to accomplish, try to review your schedule and to-do lists at least once a day, either first thing in the morning or right before you go to bed. Keep long-term plans moving forward with weekly and monthly check-ins. Don’t forget to add appointments and notes from your digital calendars to your agenda on a regular basis, and to set appointment reminders on your cell phone for anything listed in your paper planner.
Planner Aesthetics: You can find all kinds of artistic ideas for embellishing journal and planner pages on Instagram and Pinterest. These ideas can be both inspirational and intimidating. Creative embellishments might encourage you to use your planner more regularly. On the other hand, you might worry that your pages aren’t “Instagram worthy” and avoid using the planner at all. It’s up to you to decide what balance of art and function will keep you motivated.
If you like the idea of an artistic planner but time is an issue, take advantage of ready-to-use embellishments. Here are some of our favorite quick tools that turn planning from a chore into a fun creative pastime:
- Die-cut shapes and words
- Doodle reference sheets
- Sticky notes and flags
- Washi tape
- Highlighters and pens for color coding
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