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Keeping Track of Your Busy Life: The Art of Using a Planner


Looks like you overbooked Thursday again–drinks with the girls and dinner with your man are both scheduled for 7:30. Oops.

If over scheduling your life is a common occurrence, you need an intervention… or maybe just a lesson in using a planner to help straighten out your busy life.

Online Organization

Is organizing your life online kind of your thing? We recommend using Google Calendar to make note of where you need to be and when. Using this service allows you to create different calendars which can all be displayed in the same place.

For example, you can create a “Work” calendar, a “Vacation” calendar, and a  “Personal” calendar which will all be displayed in different colors to catch your eye.

Bonus: You can also set reminders if you are forgetful (who remembers dentist appointments six months in advance, anyway?).

Physical Planners

For those of us who prefer a brick and mortar style, a physical planner is the way to go. Putting pen to paper has been shown to help us retain more information, AKA physically writing down your plans will help you remember that you are busy during the seven o’clock hour on Thursday better than typing it will. You’ll have a better handle on your schedule and on your life when you nail down the art of using a planner.

Tips for picking a planner:

  • Find a planner that has enough space to write all of your daily tasks, to-do lists, and meetings. Find one that has the days separated down hourly if that’s what you need.

  • Check to see if there is a notes section somewhere in the planner where you can jot down pertinent information you may need to come back to later.

  • Choose a planner that has a monthly calendar at the beginning of each month to write down events such as birthdays, parties, ceremonies, etc.

  • Make sure to choose a planner in a pattern you love. After all, you will be carrying it around for at least a year.

  • Avoid selecting a planner with a paper or plastic cover. Choosing a hard cover will prevent pages from bending and tearing.

  • Make sure it’s the right size for how you need to carry it. Do you need to lug it around in your purse or are you using a backpack? The bigger it is the heavier it will be, so keep that in mind when you’re selecting your planner.

Tips for using a planner:

  • Take time each week (we recommend Sunday, before the week gets into full swing) to look over your schedule and fill in what you need to do.

  • Arm yourself with highlighters or colored pens to help important events stand out. Bonus points if you use a different color for each type of activity.

  • Write things down as they happen. Just made lunch plans? Pencil it in right away.

  • Go through your monthly calendar and copy the events onto the appropriate day to avoid missing your sister-in-law’s birthday... again.

  • Don’t forget to bring it with you. What’s the use of having the planner if you aren’t going to use it?

Everyone has their own way of using a planner that works for them. Some of us prefer writing to-do lists daily and need space for that in our planners. Others prefer weekly to-do lists. No matter which you prefer, though, it’s safe to say we all have a need for a planner in our lives.

What planner do you use to keep track of your busy life? 

About the Author

Nicole Booz

Nicole Booz is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of GenTwenty, GenThirty, and The Capsule Collab. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and is the author of The Kidult Handbook (Simon & Schuster May 2018). She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s probably hiking, eating brunch, or planning her next great adventure.