Here are five tips and tricks that I’ve learned since I started planning. If you would like to get more tips, tricks AND freebies be sure to sign up for my newsletter!
I’ve been planning for about six months now and during that time I’ve used four different types of planners: the Erin Condren Life Planner, the Big Happy Planner, the Recollections Zippered Planner and an old-school spiral notebook. Along the way I’ve found the things (and planners) that work best for me through trial and error and today I’m sharing with you!
Note: This post contains affiliate links which means if you click the link AND make a purchase I may receive a small commission. 🙂
People are funny about pens. Everyone has THE PEN that works best for them. I tried countless pens before settling on a few that I swear by. Why are pens such an issue? Because depending on the paper you’re writing on (planner pages, matte or glossy sticker paper, etc.) the type of pen you use could mean the difference between a nice clean look or a smudgy mess! Here are the pens I use:
Pilot G2 Assorted Colors Gel Pen 2 : Bold beautiful color. Smudge resistant but you still have to give them a moment to dry. The crisp color makes it worth it!
Staedtler Color Pen Set, Set of 36 Assorted Colors (Triplus Fineliner Pens) : Write on EVERY type of paper and never smudge!
When it comes to planner stickers, there are tons of shops out there on Etsy that offer every kind of sticker that you could possibly want. Myself included! There are full kits, single sheets of functional stickers, headers, checklists…I could go on. I learned early on that buying stickers is an addiction and if you’re not careful; you could spend a small fortune VERY QUICKLY! One thing I learned that helped ease the pain in my wallet was that most shops offer discounts on a regular basis. If you’ve been perusing Etsy and found a shop that you’d like to purchase from; before you hit that button, check out the shop announcement and/or see if they have an Instagram or Facebook account! If so, follow them and see if they’re offering any discounts. Most shops offer some sort of discount that can save you a little bit of cash on your purchase!
3. Sticker Organization
Speaking of stickers, within the first month of planning I had amassed over 50 sticker sheets that I had no clue what to do with. I saw this idea on Pinterest and I “borrowed” it because I thought it was GENIUS! You can take an accordion file and organize your stickers however you like. Personally I have two accordion files: One is organized by color and the other is for “holiday” kits. So for January I have New Year’s kits and birthday kits (for my birthday), for June I have summery kits and more birthday kits (my husband and son’s birthdays are in June), and obviously October is FULL of Halloween and Pumpkin Spice kits! These are a great way to keep your stickers safe AND they’re pretty!
4. Bookmark Your Week
It took me all of one week (in the middle of September) to realize that I needed a way to mark my spot in my planner because trying to flip quickly to my page wasn’t happening. I started out with a simple copper paperclip AND THEN I found Plannerclips like the one above by RUNSWITHCRAFTSCISSORS on Etsy! This particular one is in my cart for when my current “no buy” is over but I’ve bought them at Michael’s, from other Etsy shops AND I’ve attempted to make my own. Planner clips aren’t my area of expertise so it’s best left to pro’s like RUNWITH. 😉 Plannerclips are a must have for any planner, not only to make it easy to flip to the current week, but if you use the notes section for tracking sheets (see #5) you’ll want to have some there as well so you can flip to those pages quickly and easily.
5. How To Use The Notes Sections (Blank Pages)
The notes sections or blank page sections typically located at the end of each month or at the end of the planner leave many to wonder “what the heck am I supposed to use these for?”. After a bit of research, and trial and error, I realized that these empty pages were the perfect place for tracking sheets like the one I created in the photo above. You can find daily and weekly habit tracking sheets, exercise tracking sheets, meal planning sheets; you name it, it’s out there. Even if you don’t want to buy a specially designed sheet you can use colored pens to create your own. I have a section that I made for gift lists for the year. It has all of my family’s names listed and I will jot down a gift idea as it comes to me with either (A) Anniversary, (B) Birthday, or (C) Christmas next to it. I won’t share a photo of that here for obvious reasons but I think you get the idea.
Here’s a pic of what one of my weekly layouts typically looks like:
I really hope you found this helpful! Let me know some of your favorite planning tips and tricks in the comments below! I’d love to feature you AND your ideas in an upcoming post!