I’ve had a little bit of a planning obsession for a few years now. My enthusiasm tends to ebb and flow a bit depending on how busy I am and how creative I’m feeling, but the only way I can feel truly productive is if I have a special place to write everything down. I’ve tried keeping track of my life on my phone using iCalendar and similar apps, but there’s something about writing things down on paper that keeps me better on task. Over the years as student juggling classes, social life, internships, and personal projects, I’ve come up with some great strategies which help me stay organized and on-top of everything.
Find a Planner to Fit Your Needs
I used to be a huge fan of the Erin Condren Life Planner, and don’t get me wrong, these planners are amazing and I used them for a few years. This year, I switched over to the Happy Planner by Me and My Big Ideas as a more affordable alternative to the EC Life Planner. Check out my EC life planner spreads here! They both have similar vertical layouts, which I prefer, because I like to have my days planned out chronologically. A vertical layout fits my needs because I love having a busy schedule full of different activities, so this helps me keep track of everything, day-by-day, and moment-by-moment.
If you’re a student, someone looking for more of a daily to do list, or someone who struggles a little bit with staying organized, then definitely check out the horizontal layout offered by both these brands. This way you can keep planning more simple and straight forward.
Take Advantage of Your Monthly Spread
The monthly spread pages in my planner are definitely the most important. I like to use these pages to write down my deadlines, important dates, and events. When my monthly spread is organized and accurate, then all my work becomes so much more manageable. Before I start planning my week, I always look back to these monthly calendars so that I can plan my week around these major events. I also like using these pages to track my monthly bills. The sidebar is super helpful to remind myself of important things on my to do list.
Before I start planning for the week ahead, I usually have some page flags floating around on my new weekly spread. I often use post-it notes to keep track of the little dates and plans that are a bit more flexible or that I’m worried I might forget. For example, I usually like to write down a future lunch date with friends, appointment, or event I’m interested in attending on sticky notes as little reminders. This way, I can easily remove them when I start planning that weekly spread or if something gets canceled or plans change. This prevents any scratching out or white out patches on my planner.
I also like tracking important weekly to dos in the side bar. I usually use this for my weekly readings for classes, but it’s great for meal planning, fitness tracking, and shopping lists as well.
Get Creative with Stickers and Washi
This is my favorite part! I like to start out with my most important tasks, events, or deadlines first and work back towards those that are least important. Speech bubbles are great to track my work schedule, little stars or dots for my class schedule, and others to remind me of meetings, deadlines and important to dos. I even like tracking my gym routine with stickers!
Once the important stuff has been written down, I move on to decorating. Throwing in a few to do lists is prefect to keep me on track. If I have completely empty boxes, I like using larger stickers to help fill in the empty spaces. Be careful though! Don’t fill in too much otherwise you won’t have room for any last minute notes you need to include later in the week.
My favorite stickers are from The Happy Planner. They do these fun sticker books that are themed and include a mixture of both functional and fun, decorative stickers to play around with. The fitness pack, basics starter pack, and today is the day pack are my favorites.
Before I discovered The Happy Planner, I used to make my own stickers using label paper and images I pulled off of pinterest. Here’s my printable if you want to save some money and make your own stickers perfectly catered to you!
SAVE MONEY WITH THIS FREE STICKER PRINTABLE
If you like decorating your planner to help you keep organized then definitely download my free sticker printable. Fits both the Happy Planner and Erin Condren Life Planner!
- sign up and download
- print on sticker paper and get planning!
Here Are Some of My Weekly Spreads from May
Thanks so much for reading!
Let me know your planning strategies in the comments below and don’t forget your printable planning stickers!