3 July 2016

“It Takes Real Planning to Organise This Kind of Chaos” – How I Organise and Use My Planner

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Mel Odom once said “it takes real planning to organise this kind of chaos”, and lets be honest, life can be pretty chaotic sometimes...

I seem to start each year with a resolution to stay organised – promising to keep on top of my work and actually use the planner I was given for Christmas… easier said than done. January’s resolution becomes February’s chore, and by March I have usually given up – whether I lost interest, lost motivation, or lost my planner altogether. 

However, something about this year is different - seven months in and I'm still going strong! So I thought I would share my tips and tricks for anyone like me, who is constantly searching for inspiration and motivation when it comes to organisation!


I have been through many planners over the years of varying size, layout and price. The one I am currently using is my favourite by far - the Plum Paper Student Planner. 

Plum Paper has an array of planners to choose from with simple, beautiful designs. I chose this wooden arrow theme, with a robin's egg blue accent colour.

As you can see, my planner is a battered and well worn from me throwing it in the bottom of my bag and generally being pretty rough with it. Apart from the colour fading in some areas (I quite like the well-loved look), the waterproof, tearproof cover is holding up well! We're more than halfway through the year and it still has not bent, frayed or torn - I'm very impressed!! 
This one is a little more pricey than my previous planners, but it's certainly good quality and highly customisable, with beautiful design options - I would definitley recommend it! Having said that, any old planner will do -                                                            its how you use it that makes all the difference!


I am a visual learner, so I have always been a big fan of colour coding. It's a great way to compartmentalise your thoughts by expressing them visually in your planner. Here's what I have been doing so far...


  • All of my notes are written in black ink, to keep it simple and easy to read
  • Deadlines and due dates are highlighted in orange
  • Social events are highlighted in pink
  • Work shifts are highlighted in green


  • Highlighted elements (as listed above) are written in the relevant time bracket (morning, afternoon, evening) along with the time
  • All other notes work like a 'to-do-list', with check boxes to tick them off when I have finished.
  • This helps me break down my work into smaller, more manageable sections - plus it's weirdly fun to tick off completed tasks!**
  • I use the 'weekly list' section on the left for tasks to be completed through the week, but not by any specific time.
  • I use the 'checklist' section at the bottom, to break down my weekly readings for uni, which (if the stars align) I will finish each day and check off the list

** I remember reading somewhere that checking items off a list causes as small release of hormones in your brain that increase pleasure and motivation… Don't quote me on                                   this - but if it's true, that's pretty amazing!                                        


I think it’s a really good idea to find a time during the day to read through your planner - go through your checklists and write down anything new. I like to do this in bed before I go to sleep, but you could set aside five minutes on the morning commute or in the ad break of your favourite tv show – whenever suits! 

This makes it easy to keep up-to-date, and I find that constantly checking upcoming deadlines, completed work, and work still to be done, leaves me feeling calm and organised because I know where I’m at, and where I’m going.


As difficult as it can be to stay motivated to use your planner, give it time and be patient - eventually the habit will form. If you fall off the wagon, don’t worry about it. Just because you neglected your planner for the entirety of March and April, doesn’t mean you can’t pick it up again in May. You don’t have to wait until New Years Eve to make a positive change in your life. 

Then again, you might give it a go, and find that planning and organisation is not for you, and that’s fine too – but if it is, I hope these tips have been helpful!


Please leave a comment below if you found this post helpful or interesting. Let me know if you love using your planner and why… or perhaps why you hate using planners – this seems to be quite a contentious issue! Either way, I would love to hear from you!

Much love xx

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