3 tips when setting up a new planner

I prefer to use Academic year planners as they change over at a time of the year that is generally quieter for me. It’s not yet Rosh Hashannah or end of December. This allows me to settle into them and be ready for when time provides other challenges. They start in mid-July or August, so that means it’s the time of year!

This year, in addition to the planner I’ve used for the past two years, a Quo Vadis Principal, I’m testing their new planner, the Life Noted (I received a review copy. The FTC wants you to know.). While both books officially run from August 2018 through July 2019, the Principal begins next week and the Life Noted waits until August. That’s ok!

What are my 3 tips when setting up a new planner?

Tip 1 – start with a small scribble

scribble to startThere’s a tendency to want the new planner to be perfect. I solve this in the same manner I start a new notebook, I make a small scribble somewhere. That breaks the spell and I can get down to work and begin to use the tool instead of having it try to use me. I also make sure to use ink for this so I can’t erase it later and fix it!

Tip 2 – with pencil, go slow

pencil for key datesWhile there are services to print a planner with your customizations, I enjoy the process of adding in what I need to better feel how they ebb and flow. However, I learned long ago adding it all in at once is equal parts daunting and time consuming. It goes without saying that I will make mistakes. For this first pass I only add in the big stuff, and I use sticky notes and pencil. I don’t want my planner to be instagram perfect, but I have been known to write key dates on the wrong page and this helps me fix those annoying errors.

Tip 3 – refine gradually

adding detail and inkIn general additions to my planner happen during my regular monthly/weekly/daily review sessions. At each level of review I add in more detail and when I feel confident, switch to ink (there’s no strict formula for that swap). It’s why I enjoy using multi-function (combination) pens/pencils. I don’t multi-task but I like tools that do.


How do you like to begin using a new planner? If you’d like to know more about once it’s all setup, earlier this week, I wrote about how I manage digital and paper planning for Quo Vadis.