A number of years ago, I was finding it difficult to stay organized. I tried many diffrent things, especially apps and other electronic means. For me, they didn’t do much. At the end of the day, there’s something special to when it comes to putting pen to paper.
It was then I discovered the wonderful world of planners, and I’ve tried many different types overthe years. One thing that has always stuck out for me is the need to plan on a weekly basis.
I’ve been using a weekly planner for as long as I’ve been a planner addict. It is one of those features I simply have to have in order to be productive. I’ve tried to not use a weekly planner, and stick with a daily planner, but I always go back to using both.
When it comes to how to use a weekly planner, there is no right or wrong answer, and there are many ways to use them. That is one of the most wonderful things about the world of planners, they become what you make of them.
Let’s take a closer look at how to use a weekly planner, and everything you need to get started.
How do you use a weekly planner effectively?
First and foremost, you have to actually write in your weekly planner to use it effectively.
I know, it seems silly, but it is important! A bunch of empty pages aren’t going to get you anywhere.
This means making time at the beginning of the week (or whenever you decide your planning time will be) to write out important events, and every day to update your planner as the week progresses and things may change.
The trick is consistncy. If you say you’re going to be a Monday morning planner, make the time every Monday morning. If you find you’re missing a few Monday mornings, then consider changing to a different time, day, or both.
Your weekly planning session is on of the most important things to focus on when you are getting started with planning.
I get it, we all get busy and things get hard. If you find you compltely miss a week in your planner, don’t get to upset.
I make use of these “empty” weeks for things like brainstorming, and task lists for specific projects.
Remember, using a planner is simply a new process to get used to, you’ll get the hang of it!
What should I write in my weekly planner?
The good news is that you can write anything you want in your weekly planner, after all, it is YOUR planner.
Here’s some ideas on what to write in your weekly planner:
- A running to do list, inculding unfinished tasks
- Brainstorming new ideas
- Time blocking to accomplish tasks
- Family activities
- Important due dates for items
- Upcoming events
- Phone calls you need to make
- Morning routines
- Create a habit tracker (like tracking your exercise, water intake, self care activities, or other new habit you are tying to build)
- Track or plan your meals for the week
- Track how much water you drink
- Keep a running grocery list
- Brain dump just about anything!
As you can see in this list, there’s no right or wrong thing to write in your weekly planner, as long as it makes sense to you and helps you!
How do I organize my weekly planners?
I organize my weekly planners a few differnet ways. Again, threre is no right or wrong way.
The trick is to fist think about how your planner is layed out. There are two major types: horizontal weekly planners and vertical weekly planners.
Let’s start with my favorite.
How to organize vertical weekly planners
I prefer the vertical layout of the Passion Planner and Hobonichi Techo Cousin, personally, although I have used many, many planners.
Here’s an example of the Happy Planner vertical weekly layout page with my free printable Happy Planner stickers.
Since most of these vertical planners include a daily timeline, I am sure to block out very important times in my planner using stickers, colored pens, markers, or hilgihters.
I also like to make sure I list the most important things to do that day. I’ll also write notes about what I’m doing.
When your planner has a defined timeline, you may find it helpful to use a sticker to change it in order to meet your specific schedule, or cover the timeline up completely. The timeline is somthing that can be helpful or annoying depending on the week you are having.
How to organize horizontal weekly planners
The other type of weekly planner is the horizontal layout weekly planner. If you’re new to planning, you may want to start with this type, since many find it easier to get started with.
The Hobonichi Weeks is my favorite weekly planner with a horizontal layout. I use this planner specifically for tracking a goal or a project over a specific week.
Like these stickers? Here they are for FREE, Hobonichi Weeks Pink Galaxy stickers!
Don’t forget to keep reading to find my FREE weekly planner download with a horizontal layout.
You can also use things like washi tape, post it notes, stickers, hilighthers, and colored pens to help organize your planner. Read on to see a list of my favorite planner organization tools.
Now that we’ve taken a look at a couple types of planners, let’s get back to using them.
How to plan your week to be productive
Planning your week to be productive starts with setting a specific time to work on your planner. What day and time you pick are up to you, but try to be consistent.
Some people prefer Fridays, while others prefer Saturday or Sunday. Personally, I prefer first thing Monday monrnng, even though technically the week starts on Sunday.
This all goes back to building a habit, and getting into the swing of things.
No matter what you decide to pick, be sure to make checking your planner a part of your daily routine.
You may not be writing in your planner every day at the beginning, but remember, you have your planner for a reason! It isn’t enough to touch it once a week.
Your planner will quickly become one of your most important productivity tools, and you may even find it relaxing to use.
Do planners really help?
Yes, planners really do help! I have found if I get “too busy” to use my planner, I’m simply not as productive. A planner is a great way to stay productive, and keep yourself accoutable.
If you know time management is a skill you need to work on, then a weekly planner is the perfect way to get started. Color coding blocks of time will comepltely streamline and enhance the way you work.
Worried a planner seems like too much time or effort? Don’t worry, I have a free weekly printable planner so you can try it out.
My Free Weekly Planner Download
Here’s my completely FREE download for you, a weekly planner layout to get you started. It has everything you need so you can try out planning for yourself.
Just click the image to download.
This s a horizontal planer that features:
- Space for every day of the week
- Planning page to help get you on track for the week including goals, priorities, appointments, and more!
If you like this planner, than I encourage you to take a look at the Hobonichi Weeks Planner which is much more compact and easy to use exactly in the same way!
Weekly Planner organization tools
Your weekly planner becomes what you make of it. Some of us planner geeks really like weekly planner oganization tools. Others plan their lives with a simple pen. For me, part of the relaxation and centering that comes with using my planner is the tools I use to organize it.
From adding stickers, to hlighthing, to simply color coding time blocks and headings, putting pen or marker to paper is one of the most importnat things to me when it comes to a planner.
No matter what you like to do, or how involved you want to get, I know exactly what you need to get started from my exprience with planners.
Let’s take a look at my essential planner organization tools. Be sure to click on each of these links, because many items are available in multiple colors and forms.
Planner Organization Tools
Looking to get your planner organized? Here is a list of my essential planner organization tools. I have tried each and every one of them in my planners over the years!
6 Inch Rose Gold Ruler
If you're a stickler for straight lines like me, then this 6" rose gold ruler is a must for your planner layouts!
60 Rolls of Glitter Washi Tape
Getting started with washi tape? This 60 pack has a wide variety of colors and patterns, and glitter!
10 Rolls of Washi in Various Sizes
I really love having different widths of washi tape. This is a 10 pack (and is also available in more colors if you click the link) cooridnates very well for the ultimate planner experience.
12 Rolls Pastel of Washi Tape
If you like light colors, check out this 12 roll set of washi tape in colors that coordiante well together.
Koh-I-Noor Magic Jumbo Triangular Coloured Pencil (Pack of 13)
These "magic" colored pencils change colors as they write, and are one of my favorite ways to add a splash of color to my planner.
Tombow Pen Dual Brush Markers
These are the gold standard when it comes to planner markers, and are also great for brush lettering in your planner. Be sure to follow the link for many different color options.
Pentel R.S.V.P. Ballpoint Stick Pen, Black Ink, Fine, Dozen
Looking for a great black ballpoint pen for your planner? This is it right here!
Zebra Mildliner Highlighter Pen Set, 20 Pastel Color Set
I love highlighters for my planners! These Zebra Midliners are a planner essential, since they don't bleed through even the thinnest of papers.
Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Pens Black 10 Pack
Like gel pens? This is the ultimate black gel pen for your planner.
Sakura 6-Piece Gelly Roll Gel Pens
Gelly roll gel pens add a fun splash of color to your planer. Follow the link for even more fun colors, but this stardust pack is one of my favorites.