If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: I love paper planners! I received my first one in 7th grade and I’ve been hooked ever since. But it wasn’t until I got into high school and college that I started buying planners that were both pretty and practical. I mean, it’s so much more fun to stay organized if you love what you’re using to keep yourself organized, right?
About the same time as I got my first paper planner, the fancy schmancy PalmPilot was becoming popular for kids my age. Do you remember those? Everyone wanted one and you were counted lucky if your parents bought you one for your birthday or Christmas. But as for me, I was never interested in one. I loved being able to look at my whole day or whole week or even my whole month and see exactly what I had going on. It just made sense to me to put it on paper, plus it was a whole lot prettier. You can’t doodle your crush’s name using Gelly Roll pens on a PalmPilot! *wink*
Even now, 17 years later, I’ve had people (like my husband) ask me why I don’t just do everything digitally. Dump the planner and use the apps on my phone. I’ve actually tried different apps and systems, but nothing compares to my good old fashioned paper planner and pens. Call me a creature of habit, but nothing else helps me stay organized the way a paper planner does.
If you feel the same way and are part of the paper planner fan club, head on over to Time Saving Mom to see how I personally use my planner to keep my life organized. (see note below) Plus, I’m sharing 5 of my favorite brands for pretty planners to get you excited to stay organized in the coming year!
Amanda has decided she is no longer going to be running the Time Saving Mom blog so that she can focus her efforts in other areas. She offered to let me move my content from there to here so that nothing would be lost. Below is the post that originally appeared on Time Saving Mom on December 12, 2016.
If you want to remember something, one of the best ways to do it is to make it visible. Put it in a place where you know you’ll see it. This is why we’re told to put our goals, positive affirmations, quotes or anything else important some place like the bathroom mirror. We know we have to go into the bathroom at some point during the day and we’ll see it. Same thing goes for a planner. I keep my planner in my kitchen next to my computer and pens. A lot of my time is spent in that area of our house, so it makes sense to keep it there. If something comes up that I need to write down, I know exactly where my planner is and I have pens readily available to make note of it.
Use Color Coding
When I first started using a planner, I just wrote everything down one right after the other. It took me a little time to figure out that using different colors for different things helped me stay more organized because I was able to see exactly what I needed at a glance. I’ve used both highlighters and colorful pens to keep things fun and help me stay organized: one color for appointments and things that are static (example: preschool for my daughter), another color for my to-do list and another color for anything that doesn’t fall into one of those two categories. I recently changed to a new planner, so I don’t use color coding in terms of different pens, but I use stickers to help bring important things to my attention.
Each Sunday night, I pull out my planner and pen and plan out my week. I’m able to view my entire week at a glance which gives me a starting point for what the week looks like. I start with the non-negotiable items, such as appointments, meetings, preschool, and fill those in first. Then I look at what needs to be accomplished that week and determine what has to be done on a certain day but maybe not a certain time. Lastly, I add in flexible items that can be done at any time, trying to space out my time throughout the week so I have flexibility if anything else comes up. When I start my week off this way, I feel more prepared and ready to face whatever is ahead.
The last tip I have is to make it fun! Gone are the days of boring planners with a solid colored cover and no pretty designs or colors inside. I honestly believe that paper planners are here to stay because they are so much fun to use! When I mentioned color coding above, I said that I use pens. These are just pens you accidentally steal from the bank. They are cute, fun, bright colors and a little higher quality. I personally love these felt tip pens. I even like to use double sided scrapbooking markers. Just using something that is a little nicer makes me happy and more likely to use it. I also love these and these stickers, which I use in my Happy Planner right now.