How To Start Using a Monthly Planner

Are you interested in using a monthly planner, but not sure where to start?

Looking at a completely empty planner and a new set of brightly colored markers can seem daunting. But you’ve got this!

Let’s get started. Before long, you’ll have your new monthly planner set up and ready to go.

Decide Which Planner To Use

Okay, so maybe you don’t have an actual physical planner.

I have a brand new black planner, but some people prefer a new digital one.

Whether you prefer a physical planner or a digital one, just choose the option that fits your lifestyle and schedule, and we will start from there.

Define Your Goals

So what is important to you?

My main goal is to show up to every appointment and meeting.

I don’t want to miss important events in my life, and I don’t want to be late.

Decide what is your most important goal.

For example, do you have particular achievements in your home life or at work?

  • Are you trying to focus on exercising every day?
  • Keeping track of your kids’ schedules?
  • Maybe you have multiple projects that you need to juggle.

Figure out your goals and make them your main priority.

Image showing a checklist for a monthly planner.

Choose The Right Layout

Okay, you have determined your goals. Now, do you need to view it on a daily level, a weekly level, or a monthly level?

Do you want to see it physically or digitally? Perhaps you want both a physical and a digital planner.

Personally, I need to have both a weekly and a monthly planner in my hands, but you may have different needs.

Of course, you should choose what works for you.

Customize Your Planner

Now that you know your main goals, let’s make sure that your planner focuses on them.

We want to ensure that we are focusing on the finish line.

You will want to include everything that helps you reach your goals.

For example, you should include relevant appointments and everything else that you wish to track.

Mark Important Dates

Remember to write down those important dates.

These include appointments, due dates, birthdays, etc.

If you need to prepare for these dates, set up a reminder beforehand.

Reminders may include buying a present, setting up meeting notes, etc.

An image of monthly planning tools including highlighters, colored pens and sticky notes.

Use Color Blocking

The Color Blocking system is key.

Personally, I use it for each member of my family.

I can look at my planner and see everyone’s schedule in one glance.

You can personalize it for work tasks, different clients, or however you choose.

“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

Save Time For Tasks

Do you get overwhelmed by large tasks?

Break them down into smaller tasks over several days.

For example, on the first day, you can analyze the client account.

On the second day, you can decide what changes to make.

Finally, on the last day, you can implement the changes.

Schedule this task list over the course of three days so you don’t feel overwhelmed by a huge project, and life will seem less overwhelming.

Use Time Blocking

Time blocking is one of the most underrated solutions.

Need to meal prep? Chop all the vegetables at once.

Steam all the vegetables at once.

Bake everything that needs to be cooked at the same temperature at once.

The end result is a huge chunk of saved time.

PS This is a huge time-saving solution at work too.

Make Adjustments

Did breaking down the tasks into several days work for you?

Make adjustments and implement them next week.

Did you find a better way to use your time this week?

Schedule it this way next week.

Once I ran into a wonderful lady who told me her secret to doctors’ appointments:

Schedule them all on July 3 because no one else wanted to go and she had the day off from work.

She reviewed her schedule and made adjustments that made her schedule easier.

An image of making detailed plans while completing a monthly planner.

Make Detailed Plans

A note that says “Doctor” is not going to help you in 2 months.

Write down the doctor’s name, time, and whether or not you have to stop eating 12 hours before the appointment.

If this is a new doctor, write down the address and phone number too.

While you may have to add an asterisk and make a note somewhere at the bottom of the page, give yourself all of the information that you will need.

Use Your Planner Daily

The trick is to use your planner all the time.

If you want to stay on top of things, use your planner every day.

Update it regularly and make changes that will help you.

No one else has to see it.

Before long, it will be an effective tool that will help you boost your productivity and stay organized.


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