10 Easy Steps To Set Up Your New Planner

As you can imagine, the hardworking team at Appointed is made up of a lot of “planner people”—we put our own planners to good use in our daily work lives and to aide organization and productivity. Through years of planner practice, we’ve discovered the best ways to maximize our planners, what works, and what doesn’t. We also know that getting starting with a brand new system can sometimes be the hardest part, so we’ve put together an easy-to-follow 10 steps to set up your planner for success. Let’s get planning.


10 Steps to Success

  1. Identify the focus of your planner. Is it for work, personal or both? This is key to use (and can even help you pick your ideal format).
  2. Once you’ve determined the main focal point of your planner, think about where you’ll keep it. If you’re the type of person who will take your planner with you everywhere you go, great! If you see yourself only using your planner at certain times of day, pick out a high-traffic location to keep your planner when not in use—think your desk or bedside table. This way you’ll minimize time spent searching for your planner when the time comes to reference or write something down.
  3. Gather the tools you’ll use with your planner. We recommend using your favorite everyday pen (our current favorites are the new Mark’style Ballpoint or fan-favorite Horizon Ballpoint), a pencil to note tentative plans, and highlighters for color-coding (more on this below!).
  4. In the monthly spread, enter as many recurring dates or special events as possible. For example, taking the time to mark down birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, and school breaks will give you a heads up at what is to come in the month ahead and prevent last minute scrambling to find a babysitter or order that birthday present.
  5. Map out the areas of your life you’d like to track in your planner. This could be as simple as your daily schedule and to-do list, or more complex project planning, meal planning, or school assignments. Keep in mind that starting small is key—begin with a simplified version and build as you create a routine and determine what works best for you
  6. Color code your planner so that you can visually group tasks, projects or family and home life. We believe in this so much that we have another blog post that takes a deep dive into color coding!
  7. If you use a digital calendar, transfer any meetings or events to your planner at the beginning of each week. Though this may seem redundant, physically writing things down aides memory, and will help give you a framework for what is possible in your week as you begin to fill in more tasks and to-dos.
  8. Determine which lists you will track in your planner and be consistent. Having a dedicated area—whether it be your planner, a notebook or on your phone for daily to do lists, long or short-term goals, shopping lists, errands, budgets, and will help keep you organized.
  9. Establish a routine for when you update your planner. The longer you follow this routine, the more likely it will become a second-nature habit. For example, note today’s to-dos once a day, and update and review your week’s schedule on Monday morning.
  10. Use accessories like adhesive notes or tape for temporary notes you may not need to keep in your planner. For example, if you want to jot down a phone number or a reminder that may clutter your planner, keep our classic Grid + Line Adhesives close at hand.

A hand holds a pen, writing in monthly goals and priorities into an empty appointed year task planner open on a deskSetting aside time to fill out your planner at the beginning of each week or day can have an outsized impact on its effectiveness.

A rainbow array of writing tools sits against a wooden tabletop. You cannot see the lower half of the writing toolsThe perfect writing tool (like the perfect planner) can inspire you to take action.


Like most tools, you’ll get out of your planner what you put into it. It may seem overwhelming to start, but once you incorporate a planner into your daily routine and find a “hub” for your schedule and tasks, the increased organization and reduced stress will surely make you a “planner person” for life.

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