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NJ Kids Organization Tips: Planning Your Planner

 "I never got into using my phone's calendar. It's easier to write in my Tiffany day planner. There's something charming about having a datebook."
Ali Larter

We have all had one at one time or another…the daily planner.  They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and formats but one thing remains the same, it is only as good as the user.  I have tried many types of planners, including my iPhone, and none have worked for me and only recently found one that works, the Emily Condren Life Planner (emilycondren.com). 

In my organizing classes, they always ask me what I use to keep my schedule and contacts.  I use a planner for ToDo lists and appointments and my phone for contact management that I can sync to my computer.  I do this so if I lose one or the other, I haven’t lost everything.  What is important is that you do what is meaningful to you.

First, choose a planner.  There are many options and it is important to get one that speaks to you or represents your passions in some way.  If you actually like your planner you will be more inclined to use it.  Consider the size (will it fit in your purse or briefcase?) and durability. 

Expense is also an important consideration, not because you shouldn’t spend too much, in fact, you don’t want to spend too little.  When you have some “skin” in a purchase you will be far more likely to use it.  Struggling to get acclimated to a $10 planner will make it that much easier for you to give up.  If you spent $100 on a planner, you will want to use it at least until you get your money’s worth, and by then the habit is already developed.

Now, how to use the planner… Here are some tips for making the most of your planning experience:

  • Clean it out regularly.  Receipts and unnecessary business cards can clutter up your planner and make it difficult to use effectively.
  • Write in pencil.  By using a pencil, you can erase rescheduled meetings or appointments. 
  • Keep a small stash of Post-It notes in the zipper bag.  Use these when sharing apps, websites, or phone numbers during a meeting.  They can also be used on your weekly pages to represent very important items to be completed. 
  • Refer to your planner often.  Use it at your desk and take it with you in the car.
  • Use different colors.  If you are managing a family or more than one person, assign a color to each person.  This eliminates the need to write the person’s name next to their activity.  For example, three kids are playing soccer, you can write practice times in the appropriate color instead of the name as well.  This will streamline your calendar and reduce the amount of time spent writing. 

Planners are an invaluable tool, you just have to learn to use them and incorporate them into your daily life.  Remember, it is your planner and you can use it however works best for you, even if it is not necessarily the way the manufacturers intended. 

Have a Neat day!
Jennifer Snyder
Neat as a Pin Organizing Experts
www.neatasapin.net
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