The following is a guest post about how to use a paper planner from regular contributor, Kristin at The Gold Project.
In my last guest post here, I shared how to decide on a paper planner. Picking out the planner is important, but you need to know how you will use it to make the best decision. From my experience, no two planners are the same. The monthly calendar may be set up different. The weekly spread may be in a vertical layout, or it may be in a horizontal. Or, it may not be laid out like that at all. So, you need to know how you will use the planner in order to figure out what brand and style works best for you.
Honestly, it took me awhile to fully recognize how I was going to use my planner the most effectively. I remember opening up my first Erin Condren life planner. It was very overwhelming. Before that moment, I just used a basic academic planner. The Erin Condren had all of these notes pages, pockets, and the weekly pages had a lot of extra boxes and space.
I was very intimidated! I can say that I didn’t use that planner much that year because I was very unsure of how to use it.
Fast forward five years and I now have my planner style down. I am still using an Erin Condren life planner as well, but I have switched from the vertical to the horizontal layout.
So, how do I use my planner?
I will start by saying, I am a one planner girl. I do not have multiple planners hanging out at my house. I don’t swap from one to another. I use the same planner for everything.
The Six Ways I Use My Paper Planner
Daily To Do Lists
I am an individual that lives by a to do list. Every single day, I write out a to do list and I work hard to complete everything on it. It keeps me focused and reminds me what I need to be working on throughout the day. Plus, I am extremely forgetful and the list helps.
When I accomplish a task on my list, I will either mark through it with a pen, check the box next to it (if there is one), or highlight it. And, there is really no reason why I choose one over another. If a highlighter is close to me that is what I will use.
Appointments, Meetings, Practices, and Special Dates
These are usually the first things that get written down in my planner. I will write them down on my monthly spreads immediately, then add then to my weekly spreads once that week arrives. I will refer to my monthly spread when writing my tasks and to dos each week.
This is a pretty new way I am using my planner, and it is definitely my favorite. Back in the summer of 2016, I finally broke down and purchased a Polaroid Zip. I was on the fence about it for over a year, but decided to purchase it and give it a shot. I am so glad I did because it has transformed my planner. My planner is not only a planner now, but a memory keeper as well.
I will print out photos twice a week to add to my weekly spread. They are usually photos that I have shared on social media that week. Plus, my blog post thumbnail pictures.
Now, my daughter even enjoys going through my planner to see what photos I have used each week.
I am not a spontaneous person. Just about everything that I do has to be fully planned out. I wish I had a little of that “fly by the seat of your pants” type of personality, but I don’t. Therefore, I write down and plan any and all blog posts and videos. Many times, I will have them planned out several months in advance.
All of this is written in my paper planner. But, nothing is set in stone until the post is written or recorded. I will write things on sticky notes until I reach a certain date. Then, I will mark the topics in my planner.
Keeping a schedule allows me to plan accordingly. I know what things need to be prepped beforehand and what things need to be purchased, if any.
My husband and I start super early shopping for Christmas presents. We not only have Christmas, but many of our family members have birthdays during the holiday season. So, we are also shopping for birthday gifts.
I keep track of the presents that we plan on purchasing every paycheck in my planner. So, when payday rolls around, I know exactly what gifts need to be purchased.
This is the newest way I am using my paper planner. I have only been doing monthly goals since the beginning of July when I started using my new life planner. This time around, Erin Condren changed the notes page that is included before every month. The page has 4 circles at the top of the page. I have decided to make those circles my top 4 goals for the month. I am thinking big picture type of goals too. Not something like, take out the trash.
How do you use your paper planner? What other planner related posts would you like me to share?
My name is Kristin and I am a middle school career education teacher by day and a mommy/wife/blogger by night. I am married to my high school sweetheart and we have two loving children. We recently made a life-changing move to Arkansas, so our new house is always under construction. I get excitement out of finding new creative, functional, and cute ways to organize things! I also enjoy writing and documenting life as it happens. So, I put these loves together and created The Gold Project. With the help of my husband, I am attempting to turn our house into a home. So, check out this special place of mine and take this journey with me!