How to Use a Planner Properly: 8 Easy Ways!

How to Use a Planner Properly: 8 Easy Ways!

A new year is almost here and if you’re like me, you’ve already purchased your planner for the coming year and are ready to get started in it.

However, you may be thinking, I want to start the year off right.


Most planners don’t come with a manual or instructions and they are filled with sections for annual, monthly, weekly, and daily planning.

So how do you make those pages work to your advantage?

In this blog post, I’m going to show you how to use a planner to effectively maximize your time and have a productive year.


I’ve put together some simple tips to help you boost your organization and productivity in your planner.


It doesn’t matter which brand or type of planner you own. Get in the habit of using it every day.

It helps to buy a planner that is small enough to fit in your bag but large enough to write down everything you need to record. For that reason A5 sized planners are my favorite.


Many planners come with yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily pages.

Always start with the largest time block, in this case yearly, and start recording information there.

Then as time progresses, you’ll record that information on the monthly, weekly, and daily pages providing a bit more detail with each.


For example, when I start a new planner, I open it to the yearly section and record all of the important dates I need to remember such as holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, and any other important events.

That is all that I usually record in my annual calendar pages.

Now you have created an at-a-glance calendar for the entire year.

Not only is this layout handy to have from a planning standpoint, you also have all of the important dates you’ll need for the following year.

You won’t have to flip through hundreds of pages to find someone’s birthday or anniversary. It’s all ready to record year after year.


The next step is to record that same information for each month on your monthly calendar pages.

You may have additional appointments to record such as doctor visits, company meetings, or report due dates.

Now you have all of your upcoming plans for the month available at-a-glance as well.


Again, you will record that same information but this time you may include more details. For example, you wrote down birthdays and now you know there is a birthday party for someone. Write down the time and location of the party.

Or if you are a student and working on a large project, you may have due dates such as submit rough draft, create outline, and final draft due.


Daily pages are my favorite spreads in a planner because they are the place to record all the details.

Let’s go back to that birthday party we mentioned under weekly. Perhaps you need to buy a gift and wrap it before going to the party. Assign those tasks to particular days and add them to your daily to-do list.

Do the same thing with meetings, appointments, and other tasks you need to accomplish.

If you know you’ll be in a meeting from 9am-11am write that down on your daily page so that you are free during that scheduled appointment.


For some reason, most of us think if we keep everything in our heads, we are smarter.

However, you know what that does? It has the complete opposite effect of what you want.

It overwhelms your brain trying to remember dates, tasks, and grocery lists and blocks your mind from creativity and expanding your knowledge.

If you write down all of those meetings, due dates, appointments, holidays, and to do lists you are actually freeing up your brain for thinking creatively.

No longer will your brain have to remember everything, you have it in a safe place that you can refer to at any time - your planner.

Try putting everything in your planner for a few weeks and you’ll be shocked at how much easier it is to write a report, absorb knowledge from a book, walk into a room and not forget what you went in there for, and just think clearer.


When you look at your weekly and/or daily planner pages you may see it divided into lines with hours of the day on them.

The reason for this is time blocking!

A lot of people think well, I don’t really have many meetings so time blocking isn’t relevant to me.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The reason for time blocking is so that you can block out the appropriate amount of time needed to complete tasks to work toward you goals.

Of course, you’ll want to block out time if you know you have conference calls or meetings. But you’ll also want to schedule time to write a report, go grocery shopping, or reply to emails.

By assigning time blocks to tasks, not only will you get more done, you’ll also stop doing tasks that waste time.

For example, rather than checking email 20 times per day. If you assign a half hour each day or twice a day that you check emails and respond to them it frees up your time to accomplish other important tasks.

You can do this with anything such as make phone calls, post on social media, have family play time, or even go for a walk.

Using time blocking allows you to make the most of your day and achieve the goals and task you want to accomplish rather than the day dictating what you do.


It doesn’t matter whether you use a digital planner or a paper planner. Choose one that works for you and stick with it.

Put EVERYTHING in there.

Make your planner your go-to spot for all meetings, appointments, reminders, notes, and to do lists.


One of the hardest parts about starting a new planner is making the first mark in it. What if I mess it up? I’ll need to buy another planner!

That is how I used to think.

Then one year, I decided I’m going to put EVERYTHING in my planner including random scribbles, doodles, and daily notes.

You know what? Once I committed to “everything-in-planner” mentality it changed by planner and my productivity.

My planners have gotten messier and more enjoyable. I am now free of feeling like I have to have a perfect planner. My planners are filled with thoughts of the day, doodles, ideas, and brain dumps and I love all of it.


It doesn’t matter whether you like to have a minimalist planner or one brimming with creativity. Have fun with your planner. Embrace it as an extension of yourself.

Try adding things such as planner stamps, stickers, washi tape, colored pencils, markers, and colored pens.

You can do a little or a lot. A planner is a great place to let your creativity flow.


This is the last but by no means least tip I have for you. It’s important to find a planner that fits YOUR needs RIGHT NOW.

For example, you are planning to go out for a run.

Which do you choose, high heels or sneakers? Which will do the job best? (BTW the answer is sneakers).

The same goes for choosing a planner.

Perhaps you have been using the same planner you had in college. It’s a weekly planner that allows you to write down your homework assignments and due dates.

However, now you are working at a job or doing freelance work and you have so much more to keep track of such as meeting notes, client feedback, design ideal, appointments…now you need a planner that allows you to look at your meetings, appointments, and deadlines for the month and week. You also need a place to write down all of your daily to dos, Zoom calls, and notes.

While that weekly planner worked in college, it’s time to change to a different planner that will allow you to keep track of all-the-things on a daily basis.

Or what if you’ve been working on your career and you decide to be a stay-at-home mom. Does the work planner you’ve been using help you plan your day? Maybe you need a planner that allows you to see the busy schedule for your entire family.

Or perhaps you have a somewhat relaxed schedule with not a lot to plan but you still love using a planner. Planning with stamps, stickers, and washi tape has turned into a creative outlet for you but you’re still writing in a business planner. Time to change things up with a Happy Planner or Erin Condren system.

Don’t be afraid to try new planners and choose the right one to fit your life right now.

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