Six Ways to Maximize Your Planner

We’ve all seen them, many own them, some envy them. Whether through an app or a DIY that begins as a simple notebook, planners/daybooks/agendas are a huge part of many people’s organization habits, including my own. It’s how I remember appointments and plan out homework. However, it doesn’t always come easy. Planning like this is something that is helpful but not necessarily ingrained, and it can feel like a waste of time if it isn’t personalized for you specifically. So, with that in mind, here are six ways to make whatever you use to structure your days make more sense for your life!

  1. 1. Be Minimalistic with the Pens 

    When I first started using my planner, I thought that if I didn’t have a different colored pen for every class and activity, it was a problem. I wanted Instagram-perfect planning no matter how many pens I dried up. Unfortunately, this made planning stressful as I was always trying not to miss a color and becoming frustrated when things did not line up the way I wanted them to. Now--one color for all things school-related one color for work, one color for appointments or meetings, one color for fun, one color for chores. It’s pretty without being distracting. 

  2. 2. Pick a Layout That Works for You 

    There are monthly, weekly, and daily planners and sometimes you feel like you need as much space as humanly possible. The thing is, you might or you might not! Using too many or not enough methods of organizing can make the planner feel as stressful as the tasks it’s supposed to organize. When I used a daily planner, the busy layout was always catching my eye more than my tasks and my weekly planning session took forever. With a weekly planner, my life feels manageable and the writing actually makes sense. 

  3. 3. Plan Ahead of Time 

    No day-by-day business here when it comes to big tasks. When you get your syllabus, find the deadlines and write them in. When you make a doctor’s appointment six months in advance, write it in. When you make plans for this weekend but also have an interview, write it in! It is much easier to see what is upcoming than struggling over what you should and should not be doing.

  4. 4. Update Each Morning 

    All that being said...things change. “Sleep on it” is a fact, and it’s hard sometimes to understand what truly needs to get done each day until that day has dawned. Let rest be your guide, and in the morning, decide what is truly important enough and needs doing. 


  5. 5. Keep Your Planner in Good Shape 

    I get that lives are messy. Backpacks and purses and desks can be gross, and sometimes you need to shove the planner in there and move on. But...couldn’t your life use a little more prioritization? Planners are what we use to keep ourselves in check and they might as well be treated as such. So, don’t shove it so hard in your backpack or leave it on the floor over the weekend. Treat it with care.

  6. 6. Make Sure You Know Where You Are 

    Just last night, my friend looked up from the table and exclaimed “Ugh! I’ve been planning the wrong week!” While this is mostly a silly inconvenience, deadlines can get legitimately messed up and appointments can be missed if you are not careful with where you are writing. Use the bookmark in the planner or buy one yourself, avoid embarrassment.

In conclusion, planners are convenient and helpful, but not all are created equal. How you use them is what matters.