How I Organize My Planner

Ok, so I have already talked about how I am completely obsessed with planners. Planners are like an art form to me, seriously. Even if I don’t need a new one, I still just enjoy flipping through them, seeing how they’re laid out, and I also LOVE seeing how other people organize theirs!

Last year (and for the 10 years prior to that), I have pretty much always used the same type of planner and the same system for using it. But there was something that always really frustrated me about this system: life!
Do you know what I mean? Like, I have this beautifully laid-out, organized, color-coded day where everything fits together like a puzzle (because I just can’t say no and have to use every single square inch of time in my day on something) and then, all of a sudden, something changes!
And it throws me into an absolute panic. 
Well, one of my goals this year is to become a person who is more spontaneous (stop laughing). You know, one of those people who “go with the flow”. Well, obviously I need a plan in order to be more spontaneous,riiiight? 
And so, I got a new kind of planner and a new kind of system!


As of January 1, 2014, here is how I organize my planner:


-My Planner-

I used the OrganizeHer on-the-go Family Planner from Target, which doesn’t exist anymore. HOWEVER, the Plum Paper ME Planner is a current and similar layout! It is traditionally a “mom” planner, but with a little modification, it could really work for anyone! I would even go as far as to say it’s the best planner I’ve ever had!
{laminated Post-It tabs to quickly flip to this week and next week}


This planner has 4 sections: Meal Planning, Expenses, Scheduling, Organization. I used Washi tape to repurpose the ones that I needed to use for something different. 

-Color-Coding System-

I stuck with the same color-coding system that I’ve been (obsessively) using for years:

Pink —> School

Purple —> Personal
Blue —> Social
Green —> Work
Orange —> Writing
Gray —> Goals


(I just recently began putting my goals in my planner… which I now think is pretty vital to achieving them!)


-Section 1: School-

Since I don’t really “meal plan” (like, ever), I decided to use this section as my weekly to-do list for school assignments. Everything I have this semester will be due on a Thursday, so I covered the days of the week with Washi tape and started the week with Friday (since that’s when I’ll start on new assignments). 
{the left column is for things to do and the right is where I track my progress}
{and yes, I actually do write nothing when I’ve been completely unproductive}

-Section 2: Expenses-

Sure, I use Mint for tracking my spending but there is just something about writing it down that makes it feel a little more real. Not like the money is floating around in la-la-internet world.

-Section 3: Scheduling-

When something comes up, instead of WRITING it IN my planner, I write it ON the Washi tape instead and place it on the day it’s supposed to happen. Because you know what? Plans change; things change. And, honestly, I’m so tired of feeling like my whole day is thrown off when I have to mark something out in my planner because of someone else. Since I started using the Washi tape, I can’t even begin to describe how much EASIER it makes it to just switch things around. 
And yes, that is totally a plan for being spontaneous.

{laminated Post-It tabs for “This Week” and “Next Week”}

{laminated Post-It tabs to easily identify different months}

{Washi tape for standing time commitments}

{color-coded pen or marker to make notes of things to remember for each time commitment} 


-Section 4: Goals-

After doing all of the reading and research that I recently did on goal setting, I decided that they DEFINITELY deserved a place in my planner! I wrote my checkpoints down on silver Washi tape and taped them on the dates that I hope to complete them.

*My Essential Planner Organization Items*


1. Post-It’s

I’m still kind of playing around with the whole Post-It system in my planner. I see SO MANY great ones on Pinterest but have had a difficult time making it actually work for me.


…Maybe you can offer me some advice?! 🙂 

This is another way I’m “planning for spontaneity”. If I write a to-do list directly into my planner and it doesn’t get done, it drives me nuts! I start feeling like I’m behind… and worse, I start feeling like a slave to my calendar. I SHOULD be able to throw an impromptu Margarita date with my bestie into the mix without it throwing off my whole week. 
I just hate the guilt that comes afterward… when I look at what productive thing I had PLANNED for that time. So, these Post-Its are kind of a way to keep me focused on the things that are really important in life. I’m disciplined enough to know that I will get everything done by its due date. But my biggest fault sometimes is that I’m TOO disciplined, and my friends and family are the ones who get treated as a second priority. 

2. Writing Utensils

Well, obvi. Not much getting done without these. I love these pens from The Board Dudes and they go perfectly with my color-coding system! I have been using them for a long as I can remember. However, I have recently become a big pencil-in-er over time (you know, that whole pesky life thing, again). Unless a date is absolutely set in stone (like a holiday or a wedding) I pencil it in at first then seriously add it later.


Also, I LOVE to highlight tasks as I complete them! It gives a major sense of accomplishment! I also highlight days that are over because it creates a little bit of a sense of urgency for me to get more done!


3. Washi Tape

Finally, this is my new fave part of my planner! I love how it’s a very visual breakdown of time. Plus, I just love Washi tape because it’s pretty.

Best of all? You know, it helps me plan to be spontaneous! 🙂 

So, what about you? How do you organize your planner? Do you have a tried and true system that you’ve been using for years? Do you have any advice for me? 

Follow Organized Charm on Pinterest for more planner ideas!


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