How to Use a Daily Planner to Get Organized

A daily planner can help you keep track of home and work appointments.
A daily planner can help you keep track of home and work appointments. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Learning how to use a daily planner to get organized can save you time, frustration and even money. Electronic daily planners are created, updated and accessed via mobile device or computer. Paper daily planners, which can be found at office supply stores, are essentially a bound collection of daily, weekly or monthly calendars and contact lists that you fill in by hand.

Purchase the type of daily planner that works best for your lifestyle. Some planners feature a daily schedule, while others allow you to plan in advance by the week or even by the month.

List the specific things you need to keep track of. Examples include work-related appointments and deadlines, school dates, medical appointments, birthdays and anniversaries, sports events and due dates for bills.

Assign a color code to each of the activities you need to track. For example, list all medical appointments in red, school events in green, birthdays in blue, etc., leaving black for tracking anything that doesn’t fit into your typical schedule.

Fill in your daily planner with as much information as you have available at a given time. If you have only partial information about an event, fill that in to serve as an organizational reminder. Example: “Ask Billy’s coach about baseball practice times and dates for April.”

Update your planner every time something comes up that needs to be tracked. Do this following staff meetings at work, when you’re checking your child’s backpack, when you get an invitation for a party, or when you schedule an appointment.

Use your daily planner to get organized in other ways. Use the function (or section) of your planner for storing contact information to list frequently used and emergency phone numbers, email and physical addresses. This list should include work contacts, friends and neighbors, friends of your children and spouse, your vet, your doctor, your insurance company and policy number, coaches, teachers and even favorite restaurants. Update this information every time something changes.

Track gas mileage, receipts, school permission slips, bills and expenses by utilizing a “notes” category in your hard copy or electronic planner.

Reference your daily planner at least three times a day -- in the morning, afternoon and evening -- to make sure your organizational plan is staying on track. You may also wish to add a daily “to do” list to keep you focused and on schedule.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be careful about storing confidential or sensitive information in your planner, such as social security or credit card numbers.

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