Feeling overwhelmed by setting up your fresh new planner for 2016? I still remember the excitement and the feeling of “What did I get myself into?” when I bought my first Erin Condren planner. Then, I bought one for meal planning, and this year I bought one for organizing my family’s life and one for organizing my blogging. I’ve become an Erin Condren fan for life. (My poor husband.)
Getting started with your planner requires only a few supplies and patience with tweaking your planning system. I still pencil a lot of things in before writing them in with pens according to my color coding system.
That planner lying on your desk is clean and white, ready for a year of family activities and tasks. Many non-planners feel threatened by the white page. They think they have a good memory, yet left to their own devices, they forget too many things. On any given day, I’ll have at least 10 things on my list that need to be done. It’s life as a mom of 5 kids who is also a blogger.
I write things down in my planner to keep them from running around in my head, and to keep myself focused on what needs to be done.I write everything down in my @erincondren planner to stay a focused mom of 5.Click To Tweet
Deciding on a planner is such a personal choice. Using the Erin Condren planner allows me to balance my need for a weekly visual format with plenty of white space for writing my millions of tasks as a mom of 5 kids. Measuring at 7.25″ x 9.25″, the Erin Condren planner is big enough for writing lots of stuff while small enough to bring along in my purse when I need it. The bigger coil in the 2016 planner allows the planner to lie flat on my kitchen counter and provides extra space to tucking items into the planner.
Start out with only a few supplies. Pretty pens and stickers can end up costing more than your $50 planner if you’re not careful. Check out the dollar store and Dollar Spot at Target for cheaper supplies. Tell your friends about your new Erin Condren planner and help them save $10 on their first order. You’ll receive $10 towards buying more fun Erin Condren supplies.
Stickers and Washi Tape
Stickers and Washi tape make organizing your new planner fun! I color coded my stickers for my blog planner to make sure I scheduled a variety of posts on my editorial calendar. I went with my favorite colors when creating personal stickers for organizing my family’s activities.
Erin Condren sells customizable stickers for $2 per sheet. I ordered them as part of my planner order to keep my costs low. You’ll also received preprinted stickers and blank ones with your Life planner.
Etsy is a fantastic resource for buying fun stickers. I love the look of these meal planning stickers from Jalove Designs which work on a variety of planners. Or go with a complete set of stickers for planning one month like these from FourDaisiesDesigns. She has one set for each month.
If you’re worried about the cost of stickers, pick up a few rolls of Washi tape. Scotch Expressions Washi tape runs from about $3 to $5 on Amazon. I’ve frequently seen it on sale at Target. The Washi tape should get you through an entire year.
You’ll need pens that don’t bleed through the paper. Erin Condren offers a nice set of 6 pens with a very fine tip. Another option are the Papermate Flair pens which come with a medium tip. I use the colored coded pens to write down activities and appointments.
For my tasks, I use a purple Pentel Energel. I’m a big fan of purple! These pens are a bit of a luxury for me since they don’t last as long as the other pens.
Finally, I use a highlighter to cross off finished tasks. Initially when I simply crossed them off with the same color pen I used for writing the task, I found it difficult to see which tasks remained. Highlighting finished tasks makes the unfinished ones stand out, helping me see at a quick glance what needs to be done.
What to Put in Your New Planner
Once you’re ready with your supplies, spend about an hour on the following tasks. If you feel overwhelmed, work on each task for a short period of time. Worried about making mistakes? Write in pencil, and rewrite in pen later. Use color coding with pens and stickers to help you differentiate tasks.
Add All the Important Dates for Your Family
What’s on the calendar for your family for 2016? All those important dates need to be in your planner. You’ll need to review them monthly as part of your planning process. The review should only take about 5 to 10 minutes.
Each season has its holidays, and some of those holidays have huge lists of tasks like Christmas. Dedicate a page or 2 in the notes section of your planner to your lists. When you do your weekly review, go through the lists and make sure the tasks are on your week plan.
Home Keeping Tasks
Put your daily, weekly and monthly cleaning tasks into another section in your notes. If you need help creating these lists, I have free printables you can grab to get started:
I think everyone should set goals for themselves.
The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.
— Bill Copeland
1. Setting a goal motivates you to move forward, to change something.
2. Setting goals turns dreams into an achievable plan.
3. Goals help us believe in ourselves.
4. You are held accountable for failure.
5. Goals, even the wrong ones, help us to know what we truly want.
6. Goals helps us to suck the marrow out of life.
Take 1 to 3 of your New Year’s Resolutions and turn them into a plan with identifiable steps and benchmarks on a page in your planner. Move the steps into the weekly section and start crossing them off as you do them with your new highlighter.