As a young adult trying to figure out the world and paying her own bills and just trying to make it through each day, it’s completely understandable that sometimes disorganization and confusion occurs. Did I pay my phone bill this month? What were my plans supposed to be on this day? What time am I working? Trust me, it doesn’t get easier once you’re done with the homework and class schedules that college offers you which is why I’m here show you how I manage my planner and keep on track!
I don’t have anything fancy when it comes to planners. I use the Five Star 2016-2017 planner that I got at Target for around $15 bucks if that. I know there’s plenty of other options that are prettier and have all these other features but for someone who just graduated college and is on a budget those planners weren’t an option for me. I’m still able to decorate with washi (if I remember and have the desire) and the planner serves the same exact purpose as the other ones. Which ever planner you use just make sure it fits all your needs. If you have a family you’re keeping track of, you might want to spend a little more to keep everyone’s separate schedules under control. For me, I’m only worrying about myself with this planner so it’s the perfect size and has all the right features.
Let me start with the monthly spread. This is typically what it looks like for me. At the end of the previous month or the very beginning of the month I’ll go and write in all the due dates for my bills and highlight them in yellow (because I hate the color yellow and I hate paying bills..logic!) As I go through and pay the bills I make little check marks next to the bill when it’s paid off completely for the month. This lets me know exactly what I have left to pay for the month at a quick glance. Next I write in all my important work related things and highlight them in pink (just so they stand out). Things I highlight for work include when the scheduling block opens and closes, when my new grad residency program is, and payday. This helps me jog my memory for big things that will help make my job slightly easier. I write in my work schedule, appointments, and plans in whatever color ink I happen to be using. The dots you see towards the end of the month are tracking my period (because what girl doesn’t want to keep track of that?!) and the “xx” you see on some days are when I hung out with Pat (if you know what I mean…) because like with my period I like to know when these things happen. The sticky note at the top for my FedLoan payment is on every month because I make phone payments for that so I want to be able to keep track of how much I pay and when to stay on top of it. That’s it for the month. I’ve thought about color coding my work schedule, appointments, and plans but honestly things change so frequently that it’s just easier for me to keep it all in regular color ink.
Next is the weekly spread which is typically where I choose to have a little more fun with the decorating when I have the desire. I’ll put alternating washi across each day and a different color washi going down the middle on each side. I typically plan my week the Sunday before so I’m really making my weekly plan before I know 100% what’s going on for each day. On the bigger side of my split days I’ll make my daily to do list. This list includes everything that I think I’m going to get done for that day (doesn’t always happen). As I go through the day during the week I’ll put “x” when I complete something and “-” if it didn’t happen. I don’t tend to beat myself up if something doesn’t happen, I’ll just try and find another day during the week where I can fit it in. On the smaller side of the split page is where I put my work schedule and different appointments. I like to put these on post it flags so that they stand out more because they are a bigger deal than something like putting away my clothes. I also put in this space blog post ideas I want to do for that day so that I can kind of have a game plan (not to say it always works out that way…). I also include the TV shows that I watch and what days they’re available to watch on either Hulu or another app (we don’t have cable so I’m always at least a day behind on my shows). If I have big anticipated plans I’ll put them on a strip of washi to have them stand out (like on Saturday when I put hang out with Pat and Megan). I also tend to add stuff in if something big happens during the week (like on Sunday with wake up at Pat’s). It helps me remember some of the stuff that I’ve done and how it made me feel I guess.
That’s really it on how I keep myself organized and on top of things in my life. Remember that what works for me might not work for you at all. I know some people put everything in their phones and that’s great but I’m someone that needs to write it down for it to stick with me. I carry my planner around pretty much everywhere and I really do try to stick to my daily to do list.
Let me know how you keep yourself organized or any tips you think might work for me with my planner!