Organized Charm: How I Organize My Planner

Thursday, February 6, 2014

How I Organize My Planner

Ok, so I have already talked about how I am completely obsessed with planners. Planners are like an art form to me, seriously. Even if I don’t need a new one, I still just enjoy flipping through them, seeing how they’re laid out, and I also LOVE seeing how other people organize theirs!

Last year (and for the 10 years prior to that), I have pretty much always used the same type of planner and the same system for using it. But there was something that always really frustrated me about this system: life!

Do you know what I mean? Like, I have this beautifully laid-out, organized, color-coded day where everything fits together like a puzzle (because I just can’t say no and have to use every single square inch of time in my day on something) and then, all of a sudden, something changes!

And it throws me into an absolute panic. 

Well, one of my goals this year is to become a person who is more spontaneous (stop laughing). You know, one of those people who “goes with the flow”. Well, obviously I need a plan in order to be more spontaneous, riiiight? 

And so, I got a new kind of planner and a new kind of system!

As of January 1, 2014, here is how I organize my planner:

-My Planner-
I used the OrganizeHer on-the-go Family Planner from Target ($11.99). It is traditionally a "mom" planner, but with a little modification, it could really work for anyone! I would even go as far as to say it's the best planner I've ever had!

{laminated Post-It tabs to quickly flip to this week and next week}

This planner has 4 sections: Meal Planning, Expenses, Scheduling, Organization. I used Washi tape to repurpose the ones that I needed to use for something different. 

-Color-Coding System-
I stuck with the same color-coding system that I’ve been (obsessively) using for years:

Pink —> School
Purple —> Personal
Blue —> Social
Green —> Work
Orange —> Writing
Gray —> Goals

(I just recently began putting my goals in my planner… which I now think is pretty vital to achieving them!)

-Section 1: School-
Since I don’t really “meal plan” (like, ever), I decided to use this section as my weekly to-do list for school assignments. Everything I have this semester will be due on a Thursday, so I covered the days of the week with Washi tape and started the week with Friday (since that’s when I’ll start on new assignments). 

{the left column is for things to do and the right is where I track my progress}

{and yes, I actually do write nothing when I've been completely unproductive}

-Section 2: Expenses-
Sure, I use Mint for tracking my spending but there is just something about writing it down that makes it feel a little more real. Not like the money is floating around in la-la-internet world.

-Section 3: Scheduling-
When something comes up, instead of WRITING it IN my planner, I write it ON the Washi tape instead and place it on the day it’s supposed to happen. Because, you know what? Plans change; things change. And, honestly, I’m so tired of feeling like my whole day is thrown off when I have to mark something out in my planner because of someone else. Since I started using the Washi tape, I can’t even begin to describe how much EASIER it makes it to just switch things around. 

And yes, that is totally a plan for being spontaneous.

{laminated Post-It tabs for “This Week” and “Next Week”}

{laminated Post-It tabs to easily identify different months}

{Washi tape for standing time commitments}

{color-coded pen or marker to make notes of things to remember for each time commitment} 

-Section 4: Goals-
After doing all of the reading and research that I recently did on goal setting, I decided that they DEFINITELY deserved a place in my planner! I wrote my checkpoints down on silver Washi tape and taped them on the dates that I hope to complete them.

*My Essential Planner Organization Items*

1. Post-It’s
I’m still kind of playing around with the whole Post-It system in my planner. I see SO MANY great ones on Pinterest but have had a difficult time making it actually work for me.

...Maybe you can offer me some advice?! :) 

This is another way I’m “planning for spontaneity”. If I write a to-do list directly into my planner and it doesn’t get done, it drives me nuts! I start feeling like I’m behind… and worse, I start feeling like a slave to my calendar. I SHOULD be able to throw an impromptu Margarita date with my bestie into the mix without it throwing off my whole week. 

I just hate the guilt that comes afterwards… when I look at what productive thing I had PLANNED for that time. So, these Post-Its are kind of a way to keep me focused on the things that are really important in life. I’m disciplined enough to know that I will get everything done by its due date. But my biggest fault sometimes is that I’m TOO disciplined, and my friends and family are the ones who get treated as second priority. 

2. Writing Utensils
Well, obvi. Not much getting done without these. I love these pens from The Board Dudes and they go perfectly with my color-coding system! I have been using then for a long as I can remember. However, I have recently become a big pencil-in-er over time (you know, that whole pesky life thing, again). Unless a date is absolutely set in stone (like a holiday or a wedding) I pencil it in at first then seriously add it later.

Also, I LOVE to highlight tasks as I complete them! It gives a major sense of accomplishment! I also highlight days that are over because it creates a little bit of a sense of urgency for me to get more done!

Washi Tape
Finally, this is my new fave part of my planner! I love how it's a very visual breakdown of time. Plus, I just love Washi tape because it's pretty.

Best of all? You know, it helps me plan to be spontaneous! :) 

So, what about you? How do you organize your planner? Do you had a tried and true system that you've been using for years? Do you have any advice for me? 
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