Plan on It: 5 Ways to Get Yourself Organized with a Planner

We all wish our lives could feel more organized. Year after year, it’s one of the most prevalent New Year’s resolutions and one of the most common goals students set at the start of the academic season.

If you’re ready to stop missing appointments and start feeling like you’re on top of all your projects, a well-maintained planner could be the solution to all your organizational problems. Here are our top five tips to make the most of your planner.

1. Step away from the screen. Opt for a physical planner. While the calendar on your phone can be convenient, physically writing things down can increase your cognitive engagement, give you a mental boost, and even help you remember appointments. Plus, you can give your eyes a break from the strain of the screen.

Pro Tip: If you need to use an online calendar to schedule meetings at work, try taking a few minutes every Monday to go over your weekly overview and enter meetings in your planner. This will help you keep appointments fresh in your mind—meaning you’re less likely to miss them and more likely to come prepared.

2. Get the timing right. You can choose between planners that are broken down by month, week, day, or even by the hour. Pick the one that is best for you. Students who want to keep track of due dates for different assignments can benefit from a daily planner. Workers who need to juggle an array of meetings and phone calls, however, might do better with an hourly break-down.

3. Manage your goals. Is there anything more satisfying than checking something off your list? Keep yourself motivated by creating daily to-do lists and prioritizing tasks. This makes it easier for you to glance through your responsibilities and decide what to tackle next. Additionally, seeing your progress on the page can help keep you engaged in your work.

4. Accessorize. Don’t be afraid to color code, highlight, use page markers, or add a couple of post-it’s to a page. Short of scheduling bathroom trips, the more detailed you make your planner, the more likely you are to hold yourself accountable.

Pro Tip: Use a binder clip to mark your place so that you don’t waste time flipping through pages. Highlight deadlines and reminders so you can find them easily.

5. Use it or lose it. According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s resolution. Find the planner that works best for you and then STICK TO IT! Your system might involve glitter, stickers, or just a lot of shorthand notes. If it helps you stay organized, then keep going!

Happy planning!