Planner

Setting Up your Planner to stay Organized (1.2)

Setting up your Planner – Do you need better planner organization? Have a planner but don’t really use it? Wish you did so life wasn’t so crazy? Here is one idea of how to organize your days using the Big Happy Planner.

This article is the next step in achieving Productivity, starting with organizing your planner!

If you haven’t purchased a planner, read Choosing the Big Happy Planner to Start Your Year Organized  if you’d like to see all about the one I use & recommend.

{This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on something and purchase it, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a commission.}

Now it is time to come up with a plan to optimize your planner. I use the Big Happy Planner, so I’m going to share how I have set-up mine to keep me organized. These tips can be loosely applied to any planner system, you might just have to be creative as to where you record your information.

The Weekly Calendar

First lets look at the 3 sections of the weekly pages. There are numerous ways to organize the weekly sections. One way I see others frequently use is a morning, afternoon and evening planning space. You would write down your scheduled items, events & to-do’s in the appropriate sections based on what time of day they need to be accomplished.

For myself, I prefer a planner system that lets me have more flexibility in my daily to-do’s. I also like having my scheduled items, ones that I can’t skip or push off to the next day, highlighted at the top of my planner. This is why I choose my 3 most important areas and keep them separate.

Setting up your Planner – Do you need better planner organization? Have a planner but don’t really use it? Wish you did so life wasn’t so crazy? Here is one idea of how to organize your days using the Big Happy Planner.

3 Sections of the Weekly Spread

Pick Your 3 Most Important Areas to Organize

This is the first step in deciding how you are going to utilize the space in your Happy Planner weekly pages. This doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to organize information outside of these 3 Areas, but these are the three most important areas you want to keep organized. Personally, I have a space for:

  1. Schedules
  2. Home/Life To-Do’s
  3. Blog To-Do’s {We will call this the Third Highlight section}

Let’s look at those sections a little more in detail.

1. Schedule | The Top Section

Setting up your Planner – Do you need better planner organization? Have a planner but don’t really use it? Wish you did so life wasn’t so crazy? Here is one idea of how to organize your days using the Big Happy Planner.

The Schedule section is used to write down anything that requires my children, my husband or myself to be somewhere on time:

  • School events
  • Sporting games/practices
  • Medical appointments
  • Work appointments/trips
  • Social Events – Parties, Showers, Girls Nights (I need more of these!)

Also, I use this section to record:

  • Meal Planning [See the little brackets at the bottom]
  • Bills – Sometimes I write down when large bills are due to have a double-check system for paying them. Examples could be your Taxes, Mortgage, various Insurances, etc.
  • All Holidays, Birthdays, Anniversaries

 

2. Home & Family To-Do | My Middle Section

Setting up your Planner – Do you need better planner organization? Have a planner but don’t really use it? Wish you did so life wasn’t so crazy? Here is one idea of how to organize your days using the Big Happy Planner.

This is the area that I consider my “catch-all” space. If it needs to get done, it is going to be written in this section. For example:

  • Weekly Cleaning
  • Big Cleaning Projects – rotating seasonal clothes; cleaning outside windows, etc.
  • Grocery Shopping
  • School projects due dates
  • Upcoming Gifts to purchase
  • Keeping up with Photo Projects & Photo Storage
  • Bill/Budget Maintenance

This is the spot where all of the “general” tasks needs to go.

 

3. The Third Highlight | My Bottom Section

Setting up your Planner – Do you need better planner organization? Have a planner but don’t really use it? Wish you did so life wasn’t so crazy? Here is one idea of how to organize your days using the Big Happy Planner.

I really think that most people will have the first two sections in their Planners in some form. It’s the third section that is really a personal preference. I use this section as a place to track all of my blogging tasks.

Previously, I have used it as a place for recipes, quotes, exercise tracking, weight loss, motivational phrases, grocery list, etc. It was my random catch-all.

So you don’t have to “label” this third section if you want a place to be creative or jot notes. If you do have a third thing that you really want to focus on this year, this last section is a great place to keep it organized and yourself on track.

A few ideas that would be great for a Third Section:

  • Exercise Log
  • Water Intake
  • Meal Plans
  • Bill Log
  • Savings Log
  • Bible Study
  • Blogging Info
  • Daily Journal
  • Quotes/Motivational thoughts
  • Goals
  • Homework
  • Or you could even use it to track your progress with the Productive Pete “Get Organized Challenge” (Blog post coming soon!)


The Monthly Calendar

Setting up your Planner – Do you need better planner organization? Have a planner but don’t really use it? Wish you did so life wasn’t so crazy? Here is one idea of how to organize your days using the Big Happy Planner.

 

So we’ve discussed the weekly pages and now it’s time to look at the monthly calendar. This is a place that I prefer to keep simple.

I use this page as a true calendar; only recording important events such as birthdays, doctor appointments, school calendar, sporting schedules, work trips, family trips, etc.

I find that if it’s kept simple, there is less of a chance of missing things or being late for appointments. The Big Happy Planner has so many places to customize and be creative, that having this monthly calendar “simplistic” is also a nice change of pace.

Of course, you can be as creative as you’d like on this page!  Check out my Pinterest Board – Planners & Supplies and follow along to see all the creative planner ideas! Also, see my article on Accessories for Your Happy Planner to see all of the products available for enhancing your planner.


How to keep your Planner Updated

So you have this amazing Planner and now you have a plan for it’s layouts and choosing the way you want to organize it. Next step – you need to start filling it out! Here are the steps I use to stay on-track with filling out my planner

1. New Planner

  • The first day I start using my new Planner, I take a little bit of time & go through all the Monthly calendar pages and write down:
    • Birthdays
    • Anniversaries
    • Any Events that you know about (school, sports, work, family, etc.)

2. Monthly – Planner Maintenance

Monthly Sheet

  • Then, we will use January for example, I fill out the January Monthly sheet with my important events, goals, etc.
  • I update my January monthly calendar pages checking my Cozi App  & my wall calendar to make sure nothing has been overlooked

3. Weekly – Planner Maintenance

  • Finally, I update my first weekly spread! Every Sunday evening I meal-plan & update the next week’s planner pages. It’s a system that works well for me, but a different day might work better for you.
  • At the end of the month, I update the next Monthly sheet and start the process all over again!


Next Steps

So, you’ve bought your planner.

We’ve discussed how to use it.

Now you get to fill it out!

Have fun getting organized and starting your new journey on having a more Productive way of living! Don’t forget to take a peek at all of the great Happy Planner Accessories too!

Setting up your Planner – Do you need better planner organization? Have a planner but don’t really use it? Wish you did so life wasn’t so crazy? Here is one idea of how to organize your days using the Big Happy Planner.

Setting up your Planner – Do you need better planner organization? Have a planner but don’t really use it? Wish you did so life wasn’t so crazy? Here is one idea of how to organize your days using the Big Happy Planner.

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