How To Use a Planner: 10 Things To Include

May 23, 2024

Suze Dowling

How To Use a Planner: 10 Things To Include

In a fast-paced world filled with a number of responsibilities and tasks, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and struggle with time management. However, using a planner can be a game-changer in helping you stay organized, focused, and productive.

Effective planning is much more than just jotting down appointments — it involves creating a roadmap for your day, week, month, or even year, ensuring that you make the most of your time and achieve your goals. 

So, let’s explore seven essential things to include in your planner to maximize its potential and transform the way you approach your daily routines and long-term objectives!

How To Choose the Right Planner

When it comes to using a planner, selecting the right one is key to your planning success! With many options available in the market, from daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly to yearly planners, it's essential to choose the format that best suits your needs.

Types of Planners

Planners come in various formats, each catering to different planning styles and objectives.

  • Daily Planners: Ideal for detailed scheduling and to-do lists on a day-to-day basis.
  • Weekly Planners: Suitable for anyone who prefers a snapshot of their entire week at a glance.
  • Monthly Planners: Helpful for tracking monthly goals, appointments, and events.
  • Quarterly Planners: Beneficial for planning on a three-month timeframe, ideal for tracking goals and activities throughout the year.
  • Yearly Planners: Useful for setting long-term goals and planning major events or projects over the year.

What Factors Should You Consider When Selecting a Planner?

When it comes to choosing the perfect planner, several factors should be considered to ensure it aligns well with your unique planning requirements. Firstly, size is key — select a planner that is portable enough to accompany you wherever you go but also one that provides plenty of writing space for detailed entries.

Another important aspect is the planner's format. Some favor a structured layout with predefined sections for clear organization, while others might prefer a more flexible format that allows for personalized arrangement. 

Your choice between a bound or spiral planner can also be important, as a bound planner offers durability. A spiral-bound variant ensures easier page flipping. Making these considerations intentionally helps ensure your chosen planner suits your lifestyle and preferences, ultimately setting you up for effective planning for your days to come.

What Should Be In a Planner? Consider These 10 Items

To begin, let’s set up your planner! 

Starting Your Planner

  • A Personalized Cover for Motivation

Create a personalized cover for motivation that resonates with your personality or feature motivational quotes that will inspire you daily. By personalizing the cover, you can make it feel special, and, in turn, it may help you use it consistently!

  • Important Dates and Events

Transfer essential dates, appointments, and events from your calendar to your planner, taking care to include birthdays, anniversaries, deadlines, and other significant occasions. This ensures you stay organized and on top of your commitments, and it also makes your planner even more useful to you.

  • Key Sections

When setting up key sections in your planner, consider dividing them into essential categories like to-do lists, goals, notes, and reminders. Or, you might choose to organize sections based on different aspects of your life, such as work, personal, health, and hobbies.

Organizing Your Planner for Efficiency

An organized planner is a powerful tool that can boost your productivity and help you stay focused on your priorities. Utilizing techniques like color coding and visual aids can better your planning experience and make it easier to manage your schedule.

  • Color Coding

Using color coding for categories or to prioritize activities will help you quickly identify tasks that demand your attention at a glance. You might want to consider using specific colors or color categories to create visual distinction. 

For example, maybe categories will be highlighted with primary colors, while pastels will denote items within your major categories. This technique can aid in prioritizing your activities and help you quickly identify at a glance the tasks that demand your immediate attention.

  • Stickers or Symbols for Quick Reference

You can enhance your planner's organization by including stickers or symbols to denote important events, deadlines, or recurring tasks. By leveraging visual cues within your planner, you can streamline your workflow, save time, and facilitate a quick understanding of pertinent information.

Time Management With Your Planner

Effective time management is essential for utilizing your planner to its full potential. By allocating time blocks for tasks, setting priorities, and tracking progress, you can enhance your productivity and ensure that you make the most of your day.

  • Time Blocks for Tasks and Activities

Dividing your day into manageable time blocks dedicated to certain tasks and activities can help you manage your time effectively. By allocating time blocks for work, meetings, personal errands, exercise, and relaxation, you can create a well-rounded schedule that encourages balance and productivity throughout your day.

  • Time Management Techniques

Consider utilizing time management tools to effectively prioritize tasks. For instance, the Eisenhower Matrix classifies tasks according to their urgency and importance. 

This matrix divides tasks into four quadrants: Urgent and important, not urgent but important, urgent but not important, and neither urgent nor important.

By categorizing tasks in this manner, you can pinpoint which tasks require immediate attention, identify those important for long-term goals, delegate tasks that are time-sensitive but not essential, and recognize activities that can be eliminated or minimized to maximize productivity.

Tracking Progress and Adjusting Schedules

In your planning process, it's essential to regularly review your planner to monitor your progress on tasks and goals. Stay flexible and be open to adjusting your schedule as necessary to accommodate unforeseen events or shifts in priorities. By tracking your progress and adapting your schedule proactively, you can maintain productivity and stay aligned with your objectives effectively.

Utilizing Additional Features of Your Planner

Beyond scheduling and task management, modern planners offer a range of additional features that can help you improve your organization, track habits, set goals, and foster creativity!

  • Habit Tracking and Goal Setting Tools

Add habit tracking and goal setting into your planning routine by utilizing habit trackers within your planner to monitor daily routines and progress in developing new habits. Set clear, measurable goals in your planner to maintain motivation and focus on achieving your objectives effectively. 

  • Meal Planning and Fitness Tracking Sections

You can improve your planning system even more by creating dedicated sections for meal planning, from grocery lists and recipe ideas to streamlining your food preparation process.

Additionally, you might monitor your fitness activities, workouts, and health objectives by tracking them in your planner to maintain consistency and track progress effectively.

  • Brainstorming and Creativity Pages

Adding blank pages or dedicated sections for brainstorming ideas, jotting down thoughts, or sketching out creative projects gives you the freedom to explore your creative side and express your ideas within your planner. This can stimulate your creative process and foster innovation and personal expression.

The Takeaway

Mastering the art of planning is a valuable skill that can transform the way you approach your daily tasks and goals! By incorporating some — or all — of the 10 essential elements we’ve highlighted, you can harness your planner's full potential and maximize its benefits.

And don’t worry… Poketo can help! We encourage you to embrace creativity in your daily routines by offering organizational products that make mundane tasks more engaging and artful. 

Our vibrant and playful office supplies blend creativity with practicality in hopes of helping the ordinary feel extraordinary. We’ll help you find joy in taking control of your schedule, reducing stress, and achieving your desired outcomes with confidence, efficiency, and flair!


Eisenhower Matrix | The Uncertainty Project

9 Strategies to Better Manage Your Time | BetterUp

Your Guide to Effective Planning & Scheduling | LifeHack

Goal Setting Techniques and Strategies You Can Use Now for Future Success | The National Society of Leadership and Success

Our Latest Posts

Poketo’s Top Picks. Most-loved stationery and more from the Poketo community

Headspace x Poketo Journal Headspace x Poketo Journal
Best Seller
Spectrum Wall Planner Spectrum Wall Planner
Best Seller
5 Colors
Spectrum Mini Planner 2022 Spectrum Mini Planner
New Color
3 Colors
Concept Planner Concept Planner in Tangerine on a white background.
Best Seller
16 Colors
Accordian Pro Fillers in Large on a white background. Accordian Pro Fillers in Large on a white background.
Best Seller
starting at $38
2 Colors
   Everything-Desk-Pad - sections for weekly plan, checklist, notes, and ideas    Everything-Desk-Pad - sections for weekly plan, checklist, notes, and ideas
Best Seller
Dome Wallets Dome Wallets
Best Seller
8 Colors
Double Wall Groovy Glass Double Wall Groovy Glass
New Color
5 Colors
Double Wall Mug Double Wall Mug
New Color
5 Colors