Tip of the Week *Organizing Your Planner*

Welcome to our very first addition of MKE’s Tip of the Week!!! Every Thursday we will post a “Tip of the Week” to help with organizing, planning, etc. This week’s topic is Organizing Your Planner!

1. Get a planner that you like! Whether it is pretty, professional, small, large; whatever you would enjoying having with you and taking out to use daily. Personally, mine is medium sized, blue with beach scenes in the background (:

2. Prioritize your day! Often we throw things down in our planner one at a time, in no particular order. When I prioritize my tasks I keep myself more organized and focused mentally on what needs to be done. Here are 2 ideas to prioritize:

  • Make 3 sections – Top, middle, bottom or left, middle, right; depending on how your planner is set up.
    • Section 1: Things I MUST get done today; I write them in order of when they need to get done as well.
    • Section 2: Things I will get done today if I complete section 1, otherwise first thing tomorrow.
    • Section 3: I need to get this done within the next few days/week/month so if I complete today’s tasks I will get to it. (These will probably shift up into Section 2 or 3 close to the due dates).
  • Make 3 categories – use a label such as A1, A2, A3 or different color highlighters. This works great for smaller planners or if you are adding tasks throughout your day.
    • Next to the most important tasks – things I MUST get done today – label them “A1” or highlight them all in a specific color (Ex. highlight them all orange)
    • Next to the second most important tasks – things I will get done today if I complete section 1 – label them “A2” or highlight them all in one color (Ex. highlight them all blue)
    • Next to the things I need to get done within the next few days/week/month, label them “A3” or highlight them (for example, all yellow)

[I personally do a mix of these, I will use a highlighter and put an orange star next to my most important tasks, blue star next to my second most important, pink star next to my third important.]

3. Focus on one task at a time! After you have prioritized your tasks, I cannot stress enough the importance of focusing on one task at a time. Given, I understand in the work world some tasks require other people and you need to wait on feedback, approvals, etc. Turn that into a project, then each thing you do towards the project is a task; do your task, complete it, then update what your next task will be towards completing the overall project. After you have finished the task - while you are waiting to move further - begin the next task on your list. Do not try to juggle multiple tasks at the same time. That is how we fall behind. If you focus on one task you can get it done much quicker than you would if you are getting distracted by other tasks (thus, making the other tasks slower as well!).

One. At. A. Time.!!!!!!

4. Use the monthly view for large project deadlines. I would not suggest using a monthly view to organize your day-to-day tasks. This is great when you have future deadlines you need to keep in mind, birthdays, vacation time, etc. I also write this stuff on the specific day in the daily schedule, but at the beginning of the month I like looking at an overview of what is ahead and if I need to look up what date something is due, I can easily flip to the monthly view and find it quickly.

5. I also suggest color coordinating your tasks based on projects, clients, etc. However that works best for you.

  • For example, throughout college I have used a different color pen for each class subject. Assignments and projects for all of my Marketing classes I wrote with my pink pen, in all of my Financial classes I used a green pen, Management classes I used a blue pen, etc.
  • I used colors that reminded me of the specific class or professor. Use that same method, whether your using a color that is your client’s business’s main color, your client’s favorite color, your favorite color for your favorite color or project, etc. Whichever way it will automatically click for you.
  • When you flip open your planner you’ll easily see what tasks you have for which projects just by the colors. It helps add detail about your task without using up space for a description.
  • If your planner has rows or columns by time of the day, you can also use a highlighter in your specific color to block out a time frame for that task, meeting, etc. (Or use that pen to make a box around the time-frame; that is what I do).


That is all I have for this week’s tip! Hopefully this will help you better organize your planner and stay on top of your tasks and projects. Please comment any other ideas or suggestions you may have. We would love to hear what other organizing tips for planners work well for you!