5 Tips And Tricks For The Planner Junkie

5 Tips And Tricks For The Planner Junkie

If you take control of your time, you'll keep your time from controlling you.

The summer before my sixth-grade year, I was walking through Target with my mom as we embarked on one of my favorite annual shopping trips: school supply shopping. This is the time of year when I’m at my nerdiest as I pick out all of my notebooks and folders (color-coordinated of course), my favorite Paper Mate pens and a brand new backpack that says, “I’m cool and trendy without even trying to be cool and trendy.”

However, this particular trip was a milestone for me because as I made my way down the aisle full of notebooks, binders and journals, I came across the section with all of the planners. At that moment, my eyes were opened to a whole new world. I picked up a purple and white leather planner, flipped through the pages and smiled. I had to have it. This item was going to be the difference between success and failure as I started the new, nerve-wracking journey that involved switching classes, after-school sports practices and social events. So I tossed that sucker in the shopping cart with a brand new sense of excitement and confidence.

Since then, I haven’t gone a single year without a planner. Through a lot of trial and error, I’ve finally found a planning system that works for me. I have my color-coded key down to a science. I set aside time to fill in and check my planner every day, and I’ve learned to never leave home without it.

However, it hasn’t always been that easy and habitual. It’s taken a few years for me to figure out what works best for my schedule and my lifestyle. With that in mind, I want to share a few tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way that might be helpful to all the planning junkies out there or even the wannabe planners who are trying to get their schedules in order. I hope these make your life a little easier and a little more organized. Happy planning!

1. Find a setup that works best for you.

There are so many different options when it comes to choosing a planner. You might be more of a traditionalist and like to physically write things down. In that case, you might prefer a day planner. I’m currently using a Day Designer this year, and I’m in love with it! Personally, I remember things better after I write them down, so this works great for me.

Or maybe, you’re a little more tech savvy and prefer to have your schedule on your phone or computer. In that case, you can use Apple Calendar or Google Calendar. This way all of your devices sync automatically, and your daily schedule is always easily accessible.

If you’re not as detailed oriented but still want your schedule somewhere that you can see it, a wall calendar could be the route you need to take. This gives you a simple overview but is still effective.

If you’re like me, you might incorporate more than one of these into your planning routine. My day planner is my go-to, but I keep my Apple Calendar updated as well so that I can receive reminders of upcoming meetings, appointments and events on my mobile devices. All in all, pick the option you’ll check most often, because having a planner is no good if you never look at it.

2. Start the week in your planner.

Whether you prefer to do this on Sunday night or Monday morning, choose a time at the beginning of your week to sit down and update your schedule with everything you have planned for the next seven days. This includes work meetings, nights out with friends, doctor's appointments or even a block of time for you to be by yourself. If you take control of your time, you’ll keep your time from controlling you.

3. Color-coding is your best friend.

Learning to color-code has been my saving grace when it comes to planning. I’m a very visual person, so being able to look at my calendar and assess my schedule based on the color of each event is super helpful. I would also suggest if you use more than one calendar like I do (i.e. a day planner and a digital electronic calendar like Google Calendar), use the same color-coding scheme. For instance, if you use the color yellow for activities with friends in your day planner, don’t use blue for activities with friends in your digital calendar. Keep the pattern the same to make things easier.

4. Make daily to-do lists.

As important as it is to keep your schedule in order, daily checklists are key to having a high level of productivity and practicing effective time management. This is one of the main reasons I love Day Designer because it has a column for your day’s schedule and a column of things to do that day. This is also a perk of having a physical planner because your schedule and your checklists can all be in one place. This can be a little more difficult to do with a digital calendar, but it is still possible. Again, do what works best for you. Either way, having a daily to-do list is going to keep you from getting overwhelmed during a busy week and helping you accomplish as much as possible.

5. Keep your planner handy.

Whether you’ve decided to use a physical day planner or your mobile device, keep it handy where it is easily accessible. Throw it in your purse, your backpack or your pocket before you leave for the day. Don’t spend time filling in your schedule to just leave it at home on your desk. The more visible your planner is, the more likely you will be to actually follow it. Leave it open on your desk at work or keep it open on your computer screen so you can refer to it whenever necessary. The first thing I do when I sit down at my desk is open my planner to the current day and open my calendar on my laptop. It’s just easier that way.

I hope these tips and tricks help you get a little bit closer to a more organized schedule, and in turn a more organized lifestyle. For more information on some of my favorite day planners, digital calendars and planning apps, check out the links below!

Cover Image Credit: StockSnap

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it


Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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When You Decide You Don't Love Me Anymore

I'll forgive you.


I never thought I would write this, but I feel like I have to: there will come a day where you won't love me anymore. This won't be a sad day, but instead a day I have waited for all along. You see, they all leave and that is perfectly okay. People may not be meant to be in my life for all of it, not in any of our lives but this is normal and although initially saddening it is a part of our lives and inevitably part of our journey.

When this time comes I want you to know that we did our best, that we were in fact in love once and that we had hoped it would blossom into a lifetime commitment but it didn't and I accept that and will respect you always. I know you did not wake up one day out of the blue and stop loving me, I know this feeling grew over time in your heart and that it was not something you planned on. I respect this.

You were the only person I trusted and the one I loved the most, but nothing lasts forever and I hope you can understand there is no animosity here and certainly, no stone left unturned. We just are not those kinds of people, we would have tried everything to keep our love burning bright and tried for quite a while to understand where the cracks began so that could fix them, it just isn't that simple. Love is a long complicated process, you know that and falling in love with me couldn't have been easy, I am misunderstood and stubborn as all hell and I am FULLY aware of that but that does not mean I didn't try to ease up on you, I promise I did my best.

I have always done my best to understand you, to make you happy, to keep the flame alive, but it has been extinguished. Love does that sometimes, it is there one day burning bright and then it slowly starts to dim with every fight, every unrequited "I love you" and every day passing by in which we spoke less and less about the things that mattered and more and more about worthless things.

This is all okay, it is a season of life, a part of our lives in which we do suffer but one we must grin and bear. I want you to know that I will always love and care for you, although it is now in a much different way, now we no longer look at each other with doting eyes and open hearts but instead with the freedom to let go and move on.

It is time for us to go on with our lives and find a new adventure, one that will light our hearts on fire instead of continuing to snuff our joint flame. You will always be in my memory and a huge part of my life that I once had but I accept that it's over and that time sometimes wears on things as it has worn on us.

You are the love of my life and that is truly the reason I must forgive you.

Goodbye, my love.

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