As the title says, this is part two of my blog post about planner hacks, tips and tricks I’ve used and loved in my planning journey. If you haven’t read part one, I suggest you go ahead and read that as well. Without further ado, let’s jump right into it!
6. Washi tape and/or stickers to cover up “mistakes”
In the beginning of my planner journey I went down the rabbit hole and bought a bunch of washi tape that I honestly didn’t know what to do with. As I’ve said before, I like to look at those pretty planners on instagram but in my day to day planning, I’m not one to reach out for the stickers or the washi tape. However, one way I do use washi tapes and stickers are to cover up mistakes. What I like about this is that you can then write over your mistake, on the washi tape or sticker. To take it to the next level, you could use a washi tape or sticker in a colour that coordinates with a colour coding system. Of course you could just use correcting fluid but sometimes it doesn’t match the colour of your paper, and that may bother some people. You could also use an erasable pen (e.g. frixion pens) but I personally am not a fan of how faint the ink is, and I’m afraid of all my writing disappearing on a hot day! Also, in my opinion, a sticker or washi tape is so much more pleasing to the eye that scratching out your mistake.
If you’ve been following me, you will know that I have repurposed some old dated inserts to use for this calendar year. I have used washi tape to cover some the dated parts and wrote on the washi the new dates. I’m loving how it’s adding some colour and “pretty” element to my planner whilst still being very functional.
7. Sticky notes, page flags, removable stickers or icons for recurring tasks.
There are some things in life that just need to be done on a regular or irregular basis. They can be more frequent tasks such as laundry and meal prepping or less frequent tasks such as cleaning the roof or fridge, or getting an oil change for your car. It could get tiring to always write the same things every week that needs to be done. For some people, the solution is a weekly or monthly tracker, but I’ve never been good at using and keeping up with tracking inserts. Besides, with a weekly tracker, you’re still having to write down those recurring tasks every week in the tracking section of your weekly inserts. What has worked for me is writing these tasks on a page flag, removable sticker (think Martha Stewart dew drops) or sticky note.
The advantages are that you write it down once and, if it’s a weekly task, you just transfer it to the new week once you’ve completed the task. If it’s not a weekly task, you just transfer it to the next period when you have to do it, and when you get to that week you already have the page flag/sticky note there to remind you that that task is to be done in that week (Cheers to forward planning and not forgetting!). Another advantage is that you have now more real estate on your planner pages for writing other things down – handy if you’re in a pocket size or if your handwriting is big.
As I’ve just briefly mentioned, sticky notes, page flags and the like are great for planning ahead. However, as 2020 has taught us, life happens and sometimes things have to be shifted around. To avoid using tip 6 (covering up stuff with washi), you can tentatively plan out your recurring tasks and appointments on a removable sticker and if for some reason it doesn’t go as planned or you need to reschedule, you just move the sticker to next appointed time.
8. Clear/Transparent book markers
This is such a little thing but just makes the using of my planner that much more pleasant. I’ve had bookmarks made out of pretty card-stock and I’ve liked having that decorative element which was also functional. However, once I tried clear/transparent bookmarks, like opening my planner and being able to see everything without having to flip my bookmark back and forth. I realised for myself that the more visible things were, the more likely I would do something about it. Also, the less friction there is to using my planner, the more likely I’ll actually open it up and use it. Again, it’s such a small detail and it may not even bother a lot of people (I wouldn’t even say it bothers me!) but if you’re like me and like to see all your weekly spread or notes without any obstruction, then transparent or even semi transparent bookmarks are the way to go.
9. Categorised List (from GTD)
Over the years I’ve tried the GTD system with various degrees of success. You certainly do not have to adopt the whole GTD system to be able use some of the methods and ideas of organising and planning that David Allen outlines in his book. One of those ideas is using categorised lists. For example, you make a list of things that need to be done only when you are at a computer, or on the phone. I can’t tell you how much peace this can bring to a busy and dyslexic mind! 😂 I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I really struggle with figuring out what I need to do first, or at all. And then sometimes, I will remember that I wanted to do something at the computer with an internet connection when I’m sitting in the train. Then when I’m in front of my computer, I’ve forgotten what I had wanted to do. Having this categorised list just makes life easier. When I’m at my computer, I don’t need to decide, try to remember, or search for what I have to do amongst all the other to-do’s on my list. I just take the categorised list and work through all the tasks on that list. Simple. Effective.
That’s not to say that I don’t have a master to do list. I do, but these are more like brain dumps for me. When it’s time to really get down to work, I like my lists categorised. You don’t even have to have the same categories as they outline in GTD (computer, phone, home, agenda, etc) At the moment I like to have a specific work to do list. With sometimes having to work more from home, I noticed that having that separate list was very helpful with my productiveness. Otherwise I was getting distracted with all the home to do’s. In this way, although I would work from home, I was able to concentrate and focus on the work tasks that need to be done. Another kind of list is my “today” list. Instead of looking through my big list of things to do several times a day to decide what I will do next, I just make that decision once in the morning, pick out. few tasks, write it down on a list, and work through that list.
10. A-Z tabs to organise list and reference section
Don’t throw away those A-Z dividers that you get with your Filofax!!! Yes, they were originally made for your contacts section, and since we all keep telephone numbers and such on our phones, they may not be useful for that anymore. However, you can use these dividers to organise your reference section in alphabetical order! I can’t remember from whom I saw this tip (it was ages go) but I found it to be a really great idea. Instead of flipping through page to find the list or note that you’re looking for, you will know to turn to the tab “W” for your wish lists. Additionally you can write an index on the divider to see at a glance what you’ve stored under that particular divider (write it on a sticky note if you tend to change things up).
Now, this may not work for everyone. I know for myself, sometimes I would forget under which letter I’d stored something. For example did I store my list groceries list under G for groceries or F for food or M for meal prep? Yeah, it happens! 😝. But I did like having my lists and notes organised in some way, even if it sometimes took a little longer to find said list or notes. But then again, having the index on the dividers helped and therefore it didn’t take that long to find anything. Definitely worth a try if you have enough space on your rings.
So that was it! The last 5 of 10 hacks and tips to try out in your planner. Have you heard or tried any of these? Have they worked for you or not? For sure there are more hacks and tips but these were the biggest ones that I personally have used. Are there other tips and tricks that I haven’t mentioned in these two blog posts that you think are worth mentioning. Or have you come up with some cool hack that has really increased the functionality of your planner. Please share your thoughts and ideas below in the comment section. 🙂 Once again, I hope this has been helpful and/or inspiring for you and your productivity and planning.
‘Till next time