A common resolution you hear at the start of the new year is to become more organized. There’s no better way to grab your life by the reigns than to plan everything out with a planner/agenda!
I live, breathe and die by my agenda. Even as a kid, I would always rely heavily on the structure and organization of my planner, completing it and following it meticulously. I keep my agenda on me at all times and even mirror it on my phone/Apple Watch and computers, even more so as an adult!
Agendas don’t have to be costly, but if you utilize your agenda as much as I do, splurging on a cuter style/sturdier structure doesn’t come as an unnecessary spending. I prefer using Lilly Pulitzer’s agendas because they’re perfect for what I need/like, but you can find some cute ones at Walmart or Target. I’ve been an avid user of Lilly Pulitzer agendas for roughly two years now, and I’ll probably stick to them for as long as they’re around!
Even though I am a very black and white person, I do love a pop of color, which is why I opt for Lilly every year. This time around, I’ve been using the large agenda in Bright Navy Southern Charm.
The large agendas are perfect for what I use my agendas for, which is mainly for work. I love how it offers the daily sections, as well as an overview of the month so I can see important dates that are coming up on the grand scheme. I keep my agenda in my work bag and I keep specific pens, washi tape rolls, Post-it tabs an X-Acto knife and a straight edge in an old Ipsy bag for carrying convenience.
The front page comes with two pockets and I use these pockets as a catch-all for important documents, like my vacation time itinerary for work, my voter’s registration card and anything else that you may want to keep handy. In the opposite pocket, I use it to hold the complimentary stickers that come with the agenda.
On the inside cover, I also have inserted a label that includes my name, address and cell phone number, in any event that I lose it, although I’d be a mess without it!
This year’s agenda comes with a special tab of six 5×5 art samples, which are adorable, but highly impractical. In years’ past, they used to contain monthly calendars that could be torn out and used for other purposes, like a desk blotter. You could tear these out and use them for framed art, if you choose, but I decided to keep mine in.
The next tab is “Dates to Celebrate” and here’s where I list any important holidays, birthdays and dates to list. I don’t put every single person’s birthday in here, but the important ones like my parents, Ryan’s and close friends.
The following tab is listed as “Travel” and includes 12 itineraries for any upcoming trips you might have planned. It also includes a section for activities and excursions and a small packing list. It’s not nearly enough room for me to compile a packing list (I use my iCloud Reminders for that!), but it’s a place to jot down any travel information like boarding numbers, schedules and must-do plans for when you arrive to your destination.
The next tab is “Addresses & Notes”, which includes four full pages of addresses/phone numbers and 10 blank pages for notes. I only have mine and Ryan’s addresses in here, just in case I ever lose my planner and it needs to be returned to me. Any other important addresses I need, I keep them in my contacts.
As for the notes pages, I have one page dedicated for any important log-in information that I might need if I’m ever away from my computer, including student loan accounts.
I’ve also created my weight loss goal game-plan, which will be broken down in a future post. I don’t normally opt for the note pages, just because I tend to forget about them and opt for using other notebooks.
The agenda then breaks it down monthly by tab. What’s nice about the Lilly agendas is that they offer five months of the current calendar year, which in this case is 2016, and all of 2017. I buy my agendas in the summer when they’re released and use them until the new ones come out for the following year. Though next year, I might hold off on buying a new one when they’re released, just to save a buck or two!
Since it’s the new year, we’ll focus on how I break down the month/daily sections of the month, focusing on the first month of January. The biggest thing for me is that I only fill out the agenda weekly, meaning that I don’t jump ahead and fill it out for the year. Once I’m given my work schedule, I spend an afternoon updating and filling in the agenda creatively.
The first page after the tab includes an overview of the entire month, along with a To-Do list along the side. Important holidays are noted, but the rest can be filled in by whatever life throws your way. I like to put in only major things on this page, including any sporting events I cover for work, upcoming appointments, trips and paydays, so it doesn’t look too busy.
I’ve recently started to use the blotter as a period tracker too, indicated by a red dot on the days my Aunt Flo decides to visit. Not necessary, but something I do because I’m on the pill, have had slight complications with it and want to keep track of it to consult with my doctor during my check-ups.
On the To-Do list, I put down any major things that have to be done that month, like schedule any appointments, major cleaning or ordering specific things. I make a To-Do list using my iCloud reminders for daily tasks and follow it religiously.
I’m very particular about how I fill in my agenda and color code everything. Monthly, I’ll pick three colors that correlate with the colors in the month’s graphics and assign them for work, work assignments and any other appointments/trips/etc. For the month of January, I’ve picked red as my daily work schedule, light blue for work assignments and pink for any other things throughout the month. The more organized I get with this blog, I’ll probably add another color or two for blog-related things.
As you flip the page, weeks are broken down into individual sections for days. I jot down my work schedule in red (and wait to fill out the times simply to keep track of what’s on my timecard) and my work assignments in blue. Any other events I have planned, like appointments, get written in pink.
I use things like washi tape to decorate the agenda and give it some more aesthetics, however, they can be practical in splitting up the agenda’s daily section into more things. Since I’m incredibly OCD, I use an X-Acto knife to cut the tape, allowing it to fit into the line spaces. X-Acto knives work best, because although they do cut the tape, they normally don’t cut through the paper.
I utilize Post-It tabs like no-ones business with my agenda, putting in loosely bounded things like reminders to make appointments or follow up on something. For example, if I call my pharmacy to fill a prescription, I fill out a Post-It to put on the date that it’ll become available for pick up. I’ll also use Post-Its for things like pay-day and write down which bills need to be paid with which paychecks. It also acts as an impromptu way to semi-keep track of my finances.
What are your favorite planners/agendas? How do you fill yours out? Leave a comment and let me know!