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How to color code your planner (without losing your mind)

planner, Erin Condren, planners, color code, college, work, planning

   If you don't know by now, I'm ten times over a planner girl. I love the idea of having everything planned out for my week and having it all in once place. The first time I attempted to color code my planner I ended giving up on my planner and started with a new one because it got so frustrating (it was early in the semester).

   Color coding your planner is suppose to make your life ten zillion times easier, but when you don't do it right you can spend more time coloring in your planner than actually getting things done. Here are five tips to keep you sane while color coding.


1. Use Colored Pens AND Highlighters

I typically use highlighters for places I need to be (like appointments and class) and colored pens for my ToDo (like homework assignments or followup emails). Having both methods gives you options to further organize your thoughts on the page. I don't suggest colored pencils because they're very hard to read, and don't make a pretty, clean line. My favorite are the Pilot G2 pens because they come in tons of colors and look great on a page.

Below is a version of my color coding system, but this is just what works for me. When creating categories I suggest keeping them super broad. This makes it easier to memorize and actually use later down the line.


2. Start with pencil

Because a girl can only take so much correction fluid. Things that aren't for-sure should be in pencil. If you're not 100% sure of a plan, like a sorta maybe brunch this weekend, write it out in pencil until you confirm hard deadlines.

You'll be tempted to go ahead and highlight it our use your pretty pens, but trust me and wait. From experience I'll tell you that highlighter doesn't work as well over correction tape, and scribbling things out is such an eyesore.

At the beginning of the week I'll go ahead and use pen/highlighter for my firm dates like work and meetings. Then wait until two days out before I write things like workouts or dinner plans.
photo credit: visualpanic via photopin cc

3. Sticky notes and tabs in every color help too

Eventually you'll get use to green meaning health, or red meaning school stuff, if you use these colors elsewhere (like in your notebooks) you'll get use to associating the color with the calendar. I use the same color coding system in my google calendar and for my notebooks for classes.


4. Correction Fluid/Tape is your friend

I personally like tape more than fluid because you can write on top of it better, but tape is harder to work for lefties. Remember that events change, people flake out and plans don't always work out. I wouldn't even attempt another color coding project until I knew I had some of this stuff. Without it you'll get colors mixed up with events and classes and make you twice a messed up as you were in the first place.

A little is ok, but when you need it it can be a lifesaver to your sanity when there's one big error on your planner spread.
photo credit: chrisjtse via photopin cc

5. Sharpies + Washi tape = Awesomeness

If you haven't jumped onto the washi tape band wagon I'm calling all aboard. Washi tape comes in TONS of cute colors and it really makes your planner less boring. Adding Sharpie to it creates eye catching reminders and is a great way to block off a chunk of time.

I love using washi tape for long term events like out-of-town weekends or vacations. Look for patterns that aren't too hard to read on top of, but still fit within your color code system.
photo credit: gamene via photopin cc

top pic photo credit: stargardener via photopin cc

Psst! If you like this post check out my latest one on how to color code your bullet journal!


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6 comments:

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  2. These are good tips for staying organized. College can be a crazy and busy time of life! Beyond the tangible traits of a calendar, I've found a very important part of an effective planner is the actual planning! Once a week set goals for what you want to accomplish in the coming days; then plan it out. Each night, review what you got done that day and then decide and write down a plan for the next day. https://www.ganttplanner.com

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  3. i'll be sharing this on facebook.com/planabilities

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  4. I got my color coding in place all at once, I guess I'm lucky... I've changed it when my life has changed, but now it is: Black for travel (like when does the buss leave and such), gray is for other (because it doesn't stand out and regular pencil is gray, too), brown is for home/household (cleaning, finance, library, groceries, etc), red is my boyfriend (but I also mark Christmas and period with it), orange is health (eating, exercise, beauty and doctor), yellow is party (I usually circle the letters with black to make them stand out), dark green is hobbies that I need to leave the house for and light green for free time / hobbies I can do at home, dark blue for work, light blue for school (when I first started color coding, I had a set of pens and these colors were the only ones that were different shades of the same color, and therefore these became work and school. School is lighter blue, because it's kind of the light version of work anyway), purple is me (religion, diary, etc, because it's my favorite color) and pink is family & friends. I want to have a child after I graduate, so if it's a boy, he will be light blue or light green (so dark green would be all free time) and a girl would be light pink or light purple. Before I know the sex of the baby, the baby could go under health (doctor appointments) and home (getting stuff for the baby). I'm pretty clear what goes where, but sometimes I use two colors if I can't decide. Like a friend's birthday party is party and friends, so yellow and pink.

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    1. Zenith, pls start blogging.. it info will be useful to many people like me☺

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  5. if you are in favour of tips on college studying etc you have not to miss this fruitful link

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