We’ve officially survived 2020 and made it to 2021! With the buzz of the new year comes the opportunity to rethink our values and promise to get our shit together in the next 365 days. For some, this means starting a new good habit or indulging in a favorite hobby. For me, it means breaking in a new planner and continuing to journal on a regular basis.
Getting a new journal always feels good, but planners can seem overwhelming at the beginning of the year. It’s important to set yourself up for success by using the planner in only the ways that benefit you. If you dread opening the pages, something isn’t right.
I’ll be breaking down the planner into weekly, monthly, and yearly importances. This is my favorite way to tackle my planner as everything feels like it flows and I’m not biting off more than I can chew.
I also like working out of my planner throughout my day, so I don’t always have matching pens or the neatest handwriting. But it works for me, so I’ve stuck to this plan. Here’s how I break down my planner at the beginning of the year!
The main focus of a weekly spread is to stay on track. Having daily deadlines can help break down work throughout the week so one day doesn’t get overwhelming over others. Though I find that my schedule is forgiving, so long as I am on track by the end of the week, I won’t be behind on my projects.
Here’s what to focus on when writing in your weekly spread:
- Upcoming due dates
- Class time and lecture name
- Work hours
- Miscellaneous plans
The information taken from the weekly spread should give you a good idea of your schedule when you glance at it. I use my planner in coordination with Google Calendar and often manage myself on an hourly timetable. I am fortunate to work mostly from home, but it can be easy to fall off track. Keeping an hourly schedule at a glance reminds me when I need to begin working on something, while my planner helps me understand what needs to be done by the end of the day.
I check my planner to cross things off and make note of things throughout the day, so it can look a bit hectic by the end of it. It’s a bit of a brain dump to be completely honest, but it makes it so nothing is left undone. I highly recommend checking your planner more than once a day so you can create a mental timeline of when things need to be completed.
Tips for students!
If due dates change, I make an arrow with the new date beside the original notice, then rewrite the notice again on the new due date. This way I don’t look back and think I already had it done or mistake the new due date.
I include the lecture title with the class time so I can keep folders organized with loose notes. It’s also good to make note of your professor’s office hours. Online learning is especially hard and it is good to talk virtually about questions or concerns in class! You can brush up on class materials and feel more prepared for your test while also feeling more connected! Trust me, you don’t want to feel like a stranger in your own class!
Aka the best aesthetic calendar spread known to mankind. I love monthly spreads and honestly don’t know what I would do without them. I use mine to keep track of how many hours I have worked, how many exams have passed, and obviously the important birthdays in my life! If your ideal planner doesn’t come with one of these, is it really an ideal planner?!
Here’s what I focus on writing in my monthly spreads:
- Work hours
- Class times – (color-coded)
I color code my classes to save space while writing in my schedule. Since classes are online this year, many are at odd times of the day. It is important to note when the classes are, especially at the beginning of the semester. With classes being at odd times of the day and having to fit in work around them, it’s important to be timely.
There isn’t much room to write on a monthly spread, so keep your notes minimal. When I worked two jobs, I also assigned different colors to each. Now that I work with clients, I keep that information in my weekly spread and only write invoice requests into my monthly spread.
Year at a Glance
To be completely honest, I don’t use the year at a glance as often as I could. My schedule references the monthly spread the most, with my weekly spreads to keep me on track. Looking at your year as a whole can seem daunting, but it can be quite helpful!
Here’s how you can utilize your yearly spread:
- Work closures
- School calendar
It might be overwhelming to look at the whole year at a glance. I find it helpful to use my year at a glance spread as a reference while blocking out the planting season or planning for sales at the boutique where I work. Being a vendor has opened a whole new window of sales for me and I’m letting it be a learning curve. I try not to focus too much on the year as a whole, but it has its perks!
I was so excited when I got my 2021 planner! I got it a little early on in 2020 when they were the cheapest and actually found one with monthly spreads for the end of 2020 in the beginning! Those allowed me to introduce it into my routine early on and figure out how I wanted to organize it.
I can’t wait to share more about how I plan to stay organized and on track in 2021!
I’ll be going into my second semester of college and will be taking some difficult courses. I am also going to dedicate more time to my blog across all platforms!
Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Pinterest @TheUntamedOptimist! I am sharing more of my journey than ever and have much in store for 2021!