It's not too late to get a day planner or even organize your current one for 2013, so read on as I explain how I maximize the efficiency from my planner, and some tips for your own day planner too.
I've loved day planners since I was in my early high school years. I didn't really understand at the time how to get any efficiency out of them, at that point it was all about making them look pretty but now as an adult who still loves day planners, I not only want my planner to look nice, but to also help me stay very organized.
Step 1: Know your size
Planner size that is. Think about whether or not you'll want to take your day planner with you on the go, or whether it will be strictly housed on your desk. Knowing this will help you decide what sized planner you should purchase.
I purchased my planner from a Newsagency for $35 which was a big jump from my $6 planner I had for 2012 (from Kmart.) I previously wrote a post about my 2013 planner which you can read here.
Step 2: Colour Code
Each member of my family has a coloured marker assigned to them. This way when I am writing down events on the calendar section of my planner, I know who it is in reference to. For example;
Jett=Green and any whole family event is marked in Orange.
I use Bic Mark It Fine Point Permanent Markers, they don't seep through the page (though the pages are thicker then usual printer paper) which is a large reason for me liking them, I purchased these from my local supermarket (in a pack of 5 for $3.50)
I also purchased a PaperMate 4 Ball 4-Colour Pen for .87 cents from my local Supermarket which has 4 of the 5 colours (doesn't have orange) that I use to colour code. I use the pen for my weekly view, and the markers for the monthly layout.
I had previously been using coloured dots to mark important days and events, but I wasn't happy with the efficiency of them so I switched to coloured markers..the dot stickers were not easy to remove but if you aren't happy with the system you have at the moment, change it! It's all about finding what works for you along the way.
I also use coloured sticky tabs on upcoming events such as birthdays or anniversaries in the calendar section so I can make sure I am always prepared. This makes those important dates stand out just that little bit more. If it's related to Luke, Lily, Jett or I then I use a coloured tab in our assigned colour. Otherwise it goes in Yellow to show me it's another family members event. Consistency is key if you want a colour coded system to work, otherwise you're going to get very confused/ flustered and not very organized.
Step 3: Have Multiple Date Formats
Most planners will come standard with a yearly view calendar, along with a weekly format anyway but my point is to refer back to all formats. If you keep looking only at your weekly format, you won't be able to be better organized for events further along then that week.
Step 4: The To-Do List
I use a post-it note to write down my daily to-do list as opposed to a larger piece of paper, if I don't get what I needed done for that day, I simply move the to-do list to the next date. I also find that by writing my to-do list on a post-it note rather than a larger piece of paper, I am not writing too much down for one day, so the probability of me accomplishing everything on my to-do list is much higher (winning!)
Step 5: Keeping Track of Finances
A popular choice nowadays is to have a separate planner for your finances, and whilst I am one of those people (trialling) this option currently (you can bet I'll be doing a post on it soon), I also keep a tracking of our monthly expenses in my day planner.
Step 6: Meal Planning
I have blogged about this previously (here) and this is just something that works for us at the moment. I like to know what we are having for dinner ahead of time, so in the morning I just look at what I have written, then take that meat out of the freezer to defrost for the day.
Step 7: Keeping Paperwork Secure
I keep a few paperclips in my planner to help secure any paperwork that needs my attention; such as posting off a letter or any forms I may need to hand in. I simply slide the paperclip onto the paper and have it on the day that I plan to send it off/ hand it in etc.
I also use a coloured tab as a marker on the page, to remind me I still have something that needs attending to. Once I have completed the action, I remove the coloured tab and return the paper clip to the front of the planner.
That's my seven steps for maximizing the efficiency of your day planner :) If you have a blog and would like to share how you organize your planner, feel free to leave a link in the comment section below.
Until Next Time,