First – there are no rules on how you are required to use your planner. None. Whoever tells you different is lying or trying to sell you something. You can use it anyway you feel comfortable. It is your planner and no one has to see it but you. However, the more effort you put into it, the more it will benefit you.
I’m not talking about sleeping with the thing and recording every single second. A planner is to help you plan. The name says it all.
Let me tell you about my planner and how I use it. By no means am I telling you this is how you should use yours.
First, my planner has a personality. Her name is Patricia and she’s my PA (personal assistant) and she’s purple. Seriously, she is like another appendage. I feel lost when I don’t have her. I always have her open on my desk at work.
This is my daily spread. This is where the dream began. I have a 2 page daily spread and I love to write things down. The top left box is labeled PTS – it’s the productivity software I use at work. So this is my work section. I keep track of how many files I work on, and how long I spend on a project. It’s red because that’s one of the main colors of the company I work for. I also have a red Frixion pen I use for this section. The red keeps me focused on work.
Right below it is my appointment schedule. Meetings (work and home), my son’s school schedule, whatever important things I need to remember. Right now I’m attending a challenge hosted by a wonderful business coach that is designed to help me post more on Facebook. On the right (since I’m right handed), I have my writing sections. The top is my to do list (that I’m always adding to). Underneath is a lovely section I call brain dump. Everything else goes here. Say I call the cable company – I’ll jot down notes from that call here. If I have an idea for a new planner page – I’ll write it down. I have additional notes pages always on hand in case I fill up this section.
This is what I look at on a daily basis. As I’ve said before, I’m always reviewing my week’s schedule. I like to keep on top of appointments. I always have 2 months of dailies in my planner. This month’s and next month’s. And I have a monthly calendar for the year. So future appointments are written down.
Once a month, I print the next month’s dailies and remove last month’s dailies. I then go back and review what I’ve written those days. I’ll put important things to remember on last month’s calendar (like haircut, or doctor appointments). I have a long list of eventual to do items – and anything I didn’t accomplish or finish thinking about from the brain dump, I’ll write there. Then when I’m looking for a new project, I can go to that to do list that carries over every month.
I don’t need stickers to motivate me to use my planner. Other people do, and there’s nothing wrong with it! They like to colorize their planner and make it pop. I have colored pens and highlighters and those are plenty to keep me motivated. Although, if I had stickers, maybe I would find more motivation to exercise.
Anything you need to help you motivate to use your planner and to crack it open – go for it. If you want to track things, like exercise or water or coffee – go for it. As I’ve said before, this is your planner.
And if you’d like me to make you a daily spread – Yay!!!!! I love designing different spreads and working with people. I just designed a weekly spread for a customer and she loves it! It is plain and simple and she loves that she can decorate it with stickers.
I’m going to be talking more about my planner and the different sections I have and different pages I’ve created. I have a group on Facebook that is devoted to planners and organizing. Hop on over and comment. Let me see your planners. What do you use?