Plan Your Year: The Most Effective Ways To Use Your Calendar

Cup of coffee on top of a calendar

It’s a new year, and you have a new calendar. The sight of all those blank white squares is inspiring. This year, you are going to organize your time and be the master of your schedule.

But exactly how do you go about doing that? What’s the best way to record events and appointments to help you take it all in at a glance? Is there a way to keep your time more balanced, blocking off more time for the people and activities you love?

There are ineffective ways to use your calendar. (Scribbling in information willy-nilly.) And those methods won’t do much to help you gain control of your new year. So let’s check out some of the most effective ways to use those crisp, promising pages.

Color Coding

If one of your biggest concerns is achieving more balance in your life, color coding is a way to give you a quick visual of where your time is being spent. You can do this by using different color pens or highlighting over your writing.

First, you need to decide what categories you want to see. An example of that may be work, recreation, volunteering, family time. Choose a different color to represent each group. Then, when you enter an appointment or activity write it or highlight it in the category color it belongs in.

Now a quick glance at your calendar can show you if there is an area you are neglecting. Is your schedule full of one color but contains little of another? Maybe it’s time to re-think where your time is going.  

Use More Than One Calendar

Sometimes it’s hard to follow our calendars when they contain too much information. Doctor’s appointments get sandwiched between daily routines and children’s sports practices. You, your kids, spouse, or caregiver struggle to find the information they need. In this case, you may need to have more than one calendar. And there are two ways you can choose to set that up.

One way to use multiple calendars is to have one calendar that lists your daily routine and another calendar that shows doctor’s appointments, work meetings, or sports practices. This is especially helpful if you want to track your hourly routine each day, but you also want to be able to see special appointments at a glance. A quick look at your appointment calendar will show you have to go to the eye doctor at 3:00 while your daily routine calendar can stay open all day as you follow your schedule.

Another way to use multiple calendars is to have one calendar for work (or activities that pertain only to you) and one calendar for personal or family events. This is an effective way to use your calendar when you have other people, like children or a spouse, who need to be able to find the appointments that are relevant to them.

Throw Out Your To-Do List

This quote from author Srinivas Rao says it all. “Millionaires don’t use to do lists. If something truly matters to you, put it on your calendar. You’ll be amazed at how much the likelihood of getting it done increases.”

Do you want to read a few chapters in that new book? Remember to replace your lightbulb in the bathroom? Call your mother? Put it on your calendar.

To-do lists often get ignored. They have no concrete deadline. If you are serious about accomplishing more of the little tasks in your life, make an appointment with them and put it out on your calendar. If you have a daily routines calendar, you can intentionally save blocks of time for things like “reading,” “home repairs,” or “phone calls.” That way, no matter what specific thing you need to on a given week, you have a generic slot to pencil it in.

Are you inspired to use your calendar more effectively this year? Get a jumbo print planner or wall calendar from ILA and start your path to organization today.


Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash


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