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Is your new years resolution to be more organized? Be on top of your assignments? Not forget about that doctors appointment again? Looks like you need a planner.
Picking out a planner is easily one of the most fun and equally most stressful parts of starting a new year. Whether it’s a new school year or a new calendar year, it is nice to start fresh and try something new while starting off on the right foot for being organize this year.
Not sure which planner to pick? Check out my complete guide to choosing a planner to figure out what kind of planner is right for you.
But having a planner alone is not enough to step up your organizing game, you have to actually use it! (Shocker, I know.) But how do you start?
Now that you’ve gotten your planner, it’s time to get started preparing your planner for a new year.
Create a Color Coding Plan
The way each person uses their planner varies. Some use it just to track school assignments, some to keep a running to-do list for work, some to keep track of doctor’s appointments or their children’s sports practices. Just as the type of planner that works for you may be different than the type of planner that works for me, the way you color code your planner may be different from the way I color code mine. However, the best way to keep track of that is to create a color coding plan.
I made my color coding plan on an index card which I then cut to fit the bookmark in the center of my planner. This way I don’t have to go back to page one to reference what each color means. Through this, I have easily memorized my color coding scheme and I now incorporate it into many things in my life including how I use Google Calendar and my school Assignment Schedule.
Not sure how to start color coding? Here’s a simple color coding plan to use to get you started:
- Pick one color to represent work. (or if you have more than one job, pick one color for each job.)
- Pick one color to represent school. (or if you want to get a little more in depth, pick one color for each class.)
- Pick one color to represent your personal life.
That is a good way to start off preparing your planner for a new year and start testing the waters of color coding. Feel free to change this as you use your planner and realize what you need.
Enter in All Holidays
Some planners come with holidays written in.. And others don’t. However, no planner is going to have every personal holiday that you celebrate (your dog’s birthday? Your boyfriend’s mother’s rabbit’s aunt’s birthday?) already written in.
Take this time to write down all of those days that are important for you to remember. Make sure to write them in a way that takes up as little space as possible, as you will want to use other space in that same area for more writing.
Personally I do this by writing it on the bottom of the day, unless it’s a super important one.
Enter in all School or Work Related Dates
As is the first step to getting ready for a brand new semester of classes, now you should be tracking important dates for your school or work.
When does your pay period end? What about finals week? Do you get holidays like Martin Luther King Jr. Day off school?
Write these down in your planner, again not taking up an entire section, where you can reference them in the future.
After all, being that one person in the class who doesn’t know that school is cancelled on Monday sucks.
Get this Week Started
Take it for a test drive. What do you have planned for this week? Start planning your upcoming week in your planner.
Don’t be worried about getting it perfect right away. Your style of writing will change, the way you use your planner will change. Maybe you’ll decide that instead of highlighting in colors you prefer to use colored pens (that’s what I found out), or maybe you’ll decide that writing down your weekly piano practice is pointless because you already have it memorized.
Take the first couple of days, or weeks, to try out your planner. Try different styles, change up what you keep track of and how you keep track of it.
Start the Entire Semester Off Right
I’ve created a free 5 day e-mail course to help you out. Everything that you need to start off a new school year, semester, or quarter, in 5 simple days. Check it out:
How do you set up your planner to prepare for a new year?