If you use a planner chances are you have pretty good calendar organization skills. Without these skills, you’re bound to quit using a planner because in your mind it doesn’t work. Every year people buy planners with the intent to use them, but they often give up a few months in. Those people could use some calendar organization skills. And today, I’m sharing a few tips you can use to streamline your planning process and make 2022 the best year ever.
Let’s dive deeper into these calendar organization hacks and how they can help you
#1 — Color code your tasks
Whether you’re a visual person or not, color coding can be super helpful when it comes to calendar organization. If you’re the only person using the calendar or planner, you can custom tailor it to your specifications. No need to go crazy. Simply buying a package of five assorted highlighters is all you need. Then create categories.
Green for work-related tasks.
Orange for doctor appointments.
Yellow for family-related tasks.
Pink for events or important dates.
Blue for birthdays and anniversaries.
Write a key on a sticky note and place it at the front of your planner. You’ll only need the cheat sheet until the colors and their meaning become second nature. Once they do, you can move forward without the cheat sheet.
#2 — Color code family members
If you track more than your personal stuff in your planner, color coding can still come in handy. But instead of separating the colors into task categories, you separate them by family member.
Green for your personal events and to-do lists.
Yellow for your spouse.
Orange for your daughter.
Blue for your son.
Pink for joint family events.
This way when you open your planner, you can distinguish what task belongs to who by noting the color. Again, create a cheat sheet until the colors are ingrained in your memory. When your kids are old enough, entrust them with their own planner. This will teach them accountability. You can show them how to color-code their tasks or let them create their own system.
For more organizing tips for kids check out my blog post here.
#3 — Create “theme” days
When you think of planners you probably think of to-do lists. Rightfully so. To-do lists are the most popular form of task tracking. But some people aren’t excited by to-do lists. In fact, they rebel against them. If you fall into this type, there is another method you can try.
You can create “theme” days. What does that mean? It means giving each day a singular theme. For example:
Mondays will be all about meal planning for the week.
Tuesdays will be for cleaning.
Fridays are dedicated to family time.
And so on.
Theme days allow you to know what needs to be done without being trapped by a to-do list. You may still want to write a short one for reference. But if it’s Tuesday — which is cleaning day — you already know what you need to do.
#4 — Try different planning methods
I mentioned before that some people don’t thrive on to-do lists. Thankfully, there are many other planning methods you can try. If you’re not sure what kind of planning system works best for you, it’s a good idea to try each one for two weeks at the most. One week is too short. Two weeks gives you that allotted time to determine whether this system is perfect for you or not.
When it comes to calendar organization, you can try time blocking. Remember back in school when you had an AM block and a PM block. Time blocking is a great way to separate your tasks up by the energy needed. If you have more energy in the AM, do as many big tasks as you can during that time. Then save your easier tasks for your PM block.
You can even combine time blocking with theme days so you’re not overwhelmed by too much in one day. If time blocking is too broad, you might benefit from scheduling your day hour-by-hour. This method is great for people who can stick to a schedule. It’s important to give yourself leeway, especially for tasks that come up last minute. But if knowing what you’re supposed to be doing hour-by-hour gets you excited, that method will work for you.
Whatever method you choose, trial them all. And if one method stops working for you, test run another.
#5 — Create a hybrid system
Did you know that 71% of people rely on a digital calendar while 29% rely on paper calendars?  Although more people use digital calendars, a good chunk of them uses a hybrid system. Hybrid systems give you the best of both worlds. The best part? You get to decide how to combine them.
You might prefer keeping appointments and events on your digital calendar, but your to-do lists on paper. You can color-code both digital and paper planners. Just try and keep the colors the same so you don’t confuse yourself.
When it comes to calendar organization and the constant advances in technology, a hybrid system is your best bet. It will also help you determine whether digital or paper is your preferred method.
#6 — Audit your calendar
It’s important to review your calendar. We tend to say yes to things that are months away because we think we’ll have the time. But if you’re not careful, you can fill up your calendar with events you can’t commit to. Imagine you keep saying yes to invitations. You write them down in your planner not realizing they all seem to fall in the same month. You turn to that month when the time comes and you’re shocked. Every weekend is booked. How did that happen?
Auditing your calendar at least once a month is a good practice to start doing. Sit down and look ahead at the next month or two. Decide if there’s anything you need to cancel, reschedule, or commit to.
When you learn to audit your calendar, you’re learning to fill your time and days with warranted events. A calendar is meant to help you stay on track with to-dos and events. It’s not meant to be filled to the brim with things, many of which you really don’t want to do. So once a month, sit down and give your calendar a good audit. Trust me, you’re going to feel better canceling those events you otherwise would have dreaded attending.
#7 — Schedule “me time”
Finally, one of the best calendar organization hacks you can use is to schedule time for yourself. Your planner is your life. Not someone else’s. If your days are filled with pleasing others, you’re going to regret it and stop using it. But if you schedule time for yourself, you have something to look forward to.
Be strategic about when you schedule “me time.” An entire day to yourself is probably unlikely so opt for a morning or evening routine. It’s easier to have an hour or two to yourself than 12 hours.
Put it in your planner and treat it like a meeting. This is important as the more you commit to yourself, the better you can commit to the other things on your calendar. So whether it’s a daily lunchtime walk, an hour reading break, or a bubble bath once a week, schedule your “me time” and stick to it. You’ve earned it.
Need more planning advice? I got you covered. Check out my blog post about things you should do before starting a big project. Hint: It starts with a plan. And, of course, if you’re looking for organizational help in your home, don’t hesitate to contact us today.
Do you have any calendar organization hacks you swear by? Do you prefer a digital or paper planner? Do you use both or one more than the other?