Using a planner is not just about the binder or the inserts. Using a planner is about making it work for you.
Here are some things that I do to make my planner do its job - keeping me organized.
If any of the ideas help you, go ahead and steal them!
1. Weekly Task List on Page Marker
I put my weekly task list (which I clean up and recopy on Monday mornings, but you might prefer Friday afternoons or Sunday nights) on my page marker so that it shows on any day of the week.
2. Use Context Codes
Context codes are crazy useful for telling me where I'll be doing the task. For example, if I am sitting in a coffee shop while my child is doing his homeschool work, I might work through computer, planner, and anywhere tasks. However, I won't use the phone, as that would distract my kid.
All context codes really are is a shortcut to lead your decision-making.
Lots of computer work? Maybe you need to go to a coffee shop and work through it.
Tons of errands? Pack an errands bag and lunch-on-the-go.
3. Keep Daily Task Lists Short
There's only a set amount of time in each day. Focus on the things that need to be done or will make tomorrow easier.
4. Designate a Space to Track Stuff Dependent on Others
Along with my menu plan, I track anything that I am waiting on my husband to take care of in my "daily tracker" area. "@ A" means "after Alan" - my husband - does his part.
5. Have a Place for the Biggest Priority of the Day
I usually have something that is critical. If I do, I put it in the top slot of the daily schedule.
6. Plan a Menu
Seriously. Even if it just says "peanut butter and jelly sandwich," having at least one food option decreases stress (and overspending and unhealthy eating) so much.
7. Create a Schedule
Remember to include travel time!
8. Add Time-Sensitive Tasks (Like Most Errands) to the Schedule
I need to defrost the steak AFTER I get home but before dinner. I put that task on the schedule because I might miss it on the task list.
Errands need to go on the schedule because they take so much time and require leaving the house.
9. When Using Daily Pages, Have a Deadlines Sticky Note
A Loyal Reader in the Giftie Etcetera Facebook group came up with this brilliant idea!
If you are not depending on a weekly view, you still need to keep upcoming deadlines on the radar. One way is to put them on your monthly pages, but mine are way too jammed up with actual appointments!
10. Put a List of Things Owed to You and That You Owe on a Weekly Sticky
This pairs well with due dates. Plus, it's a function of a planner that lots of people ignore, but it really helps.
11. Make a Prep List
I've previously gone on and on about prep lists, so I won't bore you here.
TIP: Hide them behind your weekly page marker.
12. Low Priority But Necessary Household Tasks Go in a Low Priority Area of the Spread
You have to do laundry. Seriously. I know. I understand. I don't want to, either. Now go do it.
13. Use the Lowest Priority Area for Notes
I use an asterisk earlier on my schedule to show there is a note elsewhere.
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