I love to plan my day using a day planner that I designed myself. I am excited to share with you How to Organize Your Day Planner! This article is a continuation of the articles How to Organize Your Personal Calendar and Tips For Using Your Personal Planner. If you haven’t read it yet, you may want to check these out too!
I previously wrote that I work with a lot of technology and a couple of different digital calendars in my day job and I have tried going totally digital when it comes to my planning. But I have to admit that I use the tech version as my back up and I prefer to use the hard copy version for my yearly and day-to-day planning.
I also previously wrote about how I organize my personal calendar and now I want to share with you how I organize my personal day planner to stay on top of everything I need to do.
Most of you know that I have worked as a teacher for a long time. Teachers are very skilled at making lots of different kinds pf plans including day plans indicating how the instructional day will go. It has been only natural that I create day plans to help me plan and organize my personal daily life as well. I also have to admit I quite enjoy planning because it gives a sense of control and confidence for how my day is going to be.
I have tried a number of systems over the years ranging from purchasing day planners with all of the times listed in a column for each day, to a basic notebook or a large binder filled with loose leaf pages where I filled in all of the content.
I have finally settled on a system that really works for me. However, there is a bit of a start up cost. Let me explain.
At Staples I bought the Avery® Mini Durable Binder for 5-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ Pages with 2″ Round Ring (Product #27275), three packages of blank lined pages, one package of dividers for each month, plastic dividers and plastic pockets. The cost was around $20.00 by the time I bought all of the pieces. But my only cost now will be replacing the lined pages and I don’t have to buy a whole new day planner every year.
I decided to go with this small binder for a number of reasons. It is lightweight and I like the size because it will fit in my workbag or purse if need be. Most of all, I can organize this little binder in a way that works for me.
Here are the instructions for how I organize my personal day planner:
The first section is for things that need to be remembered and tasks that need to be completed. I organize my tasks by the following categories: Phone Calls, Emails, Errands, House Tasks, Craft Projects, Blog Tasks, Shopping, Groceries. Each category gets a page. As each new ‘must-do’ or item comes up I just add it to the corresponding page and as they are completed I cross them off. There is something therapeutic about crossing off things when they are completed. I don’t record a completion date for any of these tasks or items here because I list this information in the day plan section.
The next section is for my day plans. The photo below shows how I write two dates per page. I also underline each date with a pencil crayon using a ruler. The colour coding system is the same as what I use in my year planner. I use green to indicate days off, pink for weekdays, blue for important dates and purple for special celebrations.
Then underneath each date list anything that will help you be and keep organized. I list things like what I am going to have for breakfast (B), lunch (L) and dinner (D), and other personal things I need to take care of. I don’t include my work tasks because I have a separate planner at work but when my children were young I also included their various activities.
Another little handy trick is to clip the corners of each page as each day passes. This saves a lot of time looking for the current date.
I like this system because now it is a perpetual calendar. As each month ends I just move it to the back of the binder and add dates for the next year.
I use the plastic pouches at the back of the binder to hold things like notes, cheques, stamps and coupons. I have extra dividers at the back of the binder just in case I need to use them to make a new section.
I have my personal calendar open to the corresponding month while I am planning in my day planner. I like having the two planners because I don’t have to flip back and forth from the month page to each of the week or day pages, which would be the case if I were using one agenda.
I leave my day planner and personal calendar open at the breakfast table every morning. You guessed it! As I eat my breakfast I check both planners and mentally get organized for my day.
Here is the most important thing to remember. When working with your day planner, try not to over plan. Planning isn’t about seeing how much you can get done in a day but more about how you can effectively use your time.
The system that works for me may not totally work for you. But hopefully, I have given you some ideas and tips to help you be more organized with your day planning.
I would love to hear your thoughts about this system or other ideas that you may have that work for you! I invite you to leave a comment and share your thoughts!
I so appreciate you reading this article and spending ‘Time With Thea’!