When it comes to getting organised, a planner really is a MUST HAVE item.
Not only will it keep you on track with your day to day life, but it will also keep you on track for you longer term goals and priorities….
But only if you use it right!
If not – it actually becomes an overwhelming mess and another thing that makes you feel unorganised.
Who wants that?
So today let’s look at the things your planner must have.
What you really SHOULD include in your planner to make it work hard for you – so that you actually use it every day and couldn’t see living without it.
If you have a planner – then this is essential reading!
8 Essentials Every Planner Must Have
#1 – The Right Look & Feel
It makes sense to have a planner that you love using.
Think about all the following things when you are buying your next planner and you’ll be much more likely to have it for the longer term (rather than just a few weeks before you get bored!): –
- SIZE – If you need to carry it around then you’ll need it to fit into your handbag. If you need to write a LOT in it, then you may need a larger size for that.
- STYLE – Do you prefer a book style, or are you more of a binder type of gal? I personally LOVE spiral bound planner or disc bound because they can be laid flat AND they bend back on themselves so I can write in them really easily.
- TYPE OF COVER – Do you like a soft cover or a hard cover? I prefer a hard cover because I can lean on it when I write – so It feels much more comfortable when I’m out and about to just have it on my lap when I’m adding notes etc….
- LOOK & FEEL – Go for something that YOU love looking at – because if you feel like it’s too utilitarian you’re not going to want to use it every day. I like the feel of leather, and a very plain black cover – but in the past I’ve had planners with quotes on them and bright colours – that’s the beauty of a planner – you can have it for a year and then change your style completely!
#2 – Your Preferred Layout
This is CRUCIAL.
Probably the most crucial of all the points listed here – because you need a layout that works for you and your life.
Layouts for planners can be all sorts: –
- Week to 2 pages
- Week to a page
- Day to a page
- Monthly grid
- Time written down the side for appointments
- Simple lines for each day
- Spaces for meal planning, habit tracking etc…. within the actual diary pages
- Dated / Undated
Really think about what you specifically need for your planner to make it work well for you.
If in doubt – my personal advice is to go for a week to view style layout because most of us work in weeks at a time, and it’s easy to glance at a week in one go rather than have to flip through several pages.
It’s also less bulky to have a week to view rather than day to a page – but still has usually enough space for you to write what you need each day.
#3 – Work AND Play – and ONLY YOU
One of the key things to remember about using a planner is this is the tool that is personal to YOU and YOUR time.
You are only one person – so it makes sense to have everything you do in one place.
So – don’t have one planner for work and another for personal stuff, and don’t have other peoples stuff in it (unless you need to do something for it as well) because you WILL end up getting more disorganised overall.
It’s always easier to manage one thing – so keep things simple and track your time in one place.
TIP – Keep the family stuff on a wall planner so everyone can see these things. If you don’t need to take the kids somewhere or do something for their schedule, then it shouldn’t be cluttering YOUR planner.
#4 – Your Schedule
Having a weekly schedule with everything in it that is usual for your week is a great thing to add to the front of your planner.
Creating this can help you to see how your time is taken up right now, and maybe help you to simplify things a little.
It will also help you to plan your weeks over time, because you won’t have to write in everything on each week, just add those things that are over and above your usual list.
TIP – Only YOUR schedule should be in your planner – the rest of the family should have theirs on the wall/command centre in your home and/or the Home File.
#5 – Your TO DO List
I like to keep everything that relates specifically to me and my life in my planner, as this is the thing that I carry around.
Have your personal TO DO’s in there – so you can stay on track. But don’t be tempted to add in everyones TO DO’s and those TO DOs related to the house that aren’t specifically for you (these should go in your HOME FILE).
When you have your TO DO’s listed in your planner, it’s easy to check them each week and add them to any unscheduled time you have over the days ahead.
#6 – Any Personal Tracking
I never advise having a budget or financial stuff in your planner – as you carry this around with you and it *may* be lost or get seen by others which wouldn’t be great at all. As such – all financial stuff is in my Home File’s Budget Section.
What I DO suggest adding into your planner is all the personal tracking you want to do: –
- Life Planning
#7 – Time Blocking / Colour Coding
A great addition to a planner is to make each day easy to read at a glance.
To do this – you can add in time blocking AND colour coding.
Time block your days so you can clearly see where you are busy and where you may have time to do other things (add in travel and prep time for appointments – as these are easy to forget).
And colour code so you can see what balance the week has. For instance – green could be fitness, orange is work, blue is personal etc…
It doesn’t have to be complicated – but getting into the habit of using these 2 organising tools will dramatically improve the way your planner works for you.
I LOVE to see my week at a glance – with time blocks of what I’m doing. It helps me to plan ahead, not overbook, and be more intentional with what I’m doing.
#8 – Some Fun Stuff!
Last but definitely not least is that every planner should be a pleasure to use.
I love adding in colouring in sheets (my monthly planners are perfect for this because they are useful as well!), notes pages for when I want to brainstorm, and maybe even a few puzzles!
This is why I tend to create my own planner each year, because I can personalise to exactly what I want!
And Those Are The Things Your Planner Must Have To Stay Organised….
How many of these do you already have? I hope it’s given you a few more ideas of what your planner can do for you, and how to make it really work for you.
P.S. If you already make your own planner each year, or want a calendar for your wall to stay on track, don’t miss the gorgeous monthly planners HERE. There are 3 different styles so you’re bound to find one that works for you!