How to use a daily Planner effectively: Best Tips

Learning to use your daily planner effectively is the secret to staying on top of all you have to do in your busy life.

In your busy life you cannot possibly remember everything you need to do.  We all need our little ‘helpers’ to help us navigate and get through the busy demands of life. 

There are many ways to do that, but one of the most effective ways to keep track of things and get organized is by using a planner.

Learning to use your planner effectively is the secret to staying on top of things, and really will make your life easier and be more organized.



How to use a Daily Planner Effectively #Daily Planner #How to



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Planners can be paper or digital. But this post is all about the paper planner. Why paper instead of digital? Because paper planners are more beautiful, and far more functional to use. 

You don’t need to find an internet connection to use a paper planner, they can be carried with you and they are therefore always on hand and available, whenever you need them. 

Paper planners are lovely to look at it and to fill out.  You can completely make them your own and personalize them as you choose. 

Paper planners allow you to use your own handwriting.  You can embellish and decorate them with stickers and other items to make them more personalized and “jazz them up. You can use pretty colored pens, and just like a bullet journal every person’s planner can be unique and personalized to them.

I firmly believe that you are more likely to use a planner, and get the most out of using a planner, if it is beautiful as well as functional. You can see my suggestions for beautiful planners in this post here.

Here are my tips and suggestions for getting the most out of using a paper planner:

When you first get a new planner

When you first get a new planner it is a pretty exciting time! I love just leafing through the pages and looking at all the opportunities to fill it out!

I love the smell and the possibilities of a new planner! Take your new planner and fill out as much as possible to start:

Go through the calendar pages and enter in all the important dates.  Enter in birthdays of family and friends, anniversaries and other important dates.  If you already have some appointments scheduled you can add those in there too. 

If your kids are in school add in the important school dates.  Other important dates you may want to record and add:


    • You may get a dermatologist, eye doctor or other type of appointment once a year.  Make a note to schedule that appointment at a certain time. For instance if you normally have that appointment in August, make a note to yourself in May or June to schedule that appointment (or longer if you have a very busy doctor’s office!
    • Make a note of when things need to be done around your home. For instance, if you know the water filter on your refrigerator needs to be changed at a certain time of the year, if your car needs an oil change at a certain time, etc. You are less likely to forget these things if they are written right there as reminders.
    • Plan ahead for events. If you will be planning a New Year’s party for instance, make notes in your planner of important dates to do certain things for those events, such as figure out the menu for your party food, buy food for the party etc.

Use stickers to highlight important dates and events  
You may want to use stickers to add some color and to brighten up your pages. You could color-code events with stickers: perhaps you want all birthdays marked with a blue sticker, school dates marked with a green sticker etc, to make them stand out. 

Or you may just want to have stickers next to dates to stand out, such as birthday cake stickers for birthdays, champagne glass stickers for anniversaries, apple stickers for school dates.

At the start of a new month
At the start of the month go through your planner for the month ahead.  If there are birthdays happening in that month you can get a start on things by purchasing and sending birthday and other cards. 

You can see what might be due – such as that service on your car, or the present you need to purchase for Johnny’s friend’s birthday party.  This monthly scan at the beginning of the month can help you get ahead of things.

The Weekend Review
Some people like to do a Weekend Review of their planners. During this review you go over what is coming up in the coming week. 

If you have a child attending a sports event for instance on Wednesday, and another child has piano practice at the same time, you will know that you and your spouse have to decide who does what, or you need to get help getting the kids to and from these events. 

If you see that your cousin’s birthday is next week, and you haven’t yet got a card, you can run out and do that and get it in the mail. Weekend reviews are a great way of planning ahead for the week, and heading off problems that might occur during your busy week.

The Daily Review
Another great review is the daily review of your planner.  While you are sitting down having your coffee in the morning, or as soon as you jump out of bed, check your planner for the day.

Perhaps you can’t exactly remember what time your son’s doctor’s appointment is that day, or you had forgotten that you need to take in a cake for the class party. It will all be there written down ready for you to adhere to, head off surprises, and get a great start on your day ahead.

Use your planner to plan all aspects of your life

You can keep track of anything at all in your planner:

Meal planning. Use your planner for your meal planning. Enter daily the meals that your family will eat that day, that you have planned for.

To Do Lists. You can have a daily or weekly To Do list, that is right there in your planner, easily seen and consulted. If the planner doesn’t have to do lists built in, attach to do lists with clips to your planner pages.

If you’re a student.  Students really need a planner to help them organize a busy schedule.

Grocery List. Keep a running grocery list inside your planner. You will always know where it is, and you are  less likely to forget important ingredients when you run to the store.

Important work events. Even though I would always advise keeping separate planners for work and personal/family, sometimes a work event is going to edge into your personal life, and you need to know about it to plan appropriately.

For instance, the regional manager of the company you work for may be making an important visit to your office, and you need to know which day so you make sure you dress appropriately and get in early that day!

Get into a routine with your planner
Come up with a regular routine of consulting and filling out your planner.  If you fill it all out, but then place it in a drawer and never look at you aren’t getting the benefit.  Have your planner where it is accessible – in your bag, on the top of your desk, and use it!

Use pretty Pens
If you use pretty and colorful pens, your planner will look so much better, and just like a bullet journal, you will really enjoy using your planner. 

You should always keep one ‘general purpose’ pen with your planner, to make notes as you go however, but have some lovely colorful pens on hand, especially when you first fill out your planner.

Get some lovely accessories for your planner

There are many accessories that you can purchase to make your planner more functional and pretty.

Paper Clips.  Paper clips can hold additional pieces of paper to your planner pages.  They can separate out pages, even color code certain sections of pages.

Washi Tape.  Washi tape can be used to create decorative boarders on pages, used to mark headings, create sections on pages and more. Washi tape can make calendar entries stand out more (how about a wavy blue design washi tape for your trip to the beach!)

Stickers. Stickers can highlight certain things in your planner, and help to color-code items, or can just add some color and beauty.

Bookmarks & page markers.  It is really useful to have something marking the page you are currently using in your planner. You can buy bookmarks to insert inside your planner, or buy special page markers, even stretchy bands.


By creating a pretty planner, you will be more likely to use it and keep it updated.  Use these tips to really make your planner work for you, and organize your life.


You may also be interested in these organizing posts:

An easy way to keep your entire family organized

Bullet journals: for calm and organization


Learning to use your daily planner effectively is the secret to staying on top of all you have to do in your busy life.



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