Choose a paper planner that looks good and fits your work and lifestyle. Your planner works as your task manager, calendar, and small notepad collection point, all in one handy binder.
Is It “You?”
You’ll have your planner with you all the time, so make sure you love how it looks and feels in your hands.
To be TRO-capable, your planner needs the following:
- Full day planner format. A traditional monthly calendar is not enough. Your planner should show you full day views, ideally in a weekly, 2-page format.
- Space for daily tasks. This can be lines or space for “To-Do” items next to each day, or it can be sufficient room to hold a sticky note which you rotate daily.
- A removable tab/bookmark to mark today’s page. It should slip on and off the rings easily. These bookmarks make it easy to find today’s date in the planner, so you have instant access to your daily tasks, schedule, and note-taking area.
- Tabs for “May Do” task lists with a loose page or two behind each tab. You will need tabs for all major contexts, meeting contexts, 1-1 contexts, and action contexts (usually 10-12 tabs). Colored tabs are ideal, label them with a fine point permanent marker when instructed in the training (NOT now).
- Monthly/yearly calendars. You only use these to schedule appointments and tasks for distant dates without daily pages (yet). Alternatively, use a blank page for all future appointments, and insert a tab so it is easy to find. When you insert new daily pages, transfer all appointments and tasks from the monthly calendar to their daily pages. Never run your day off the monthly calendar pages!
- Portable. This depends on your needs. If you are always at your desk and only organize your office work with TRO, a bulkier calendar-planner might work for you. If you spend much time going from place to place, you calendar should be small enough to move with you.
- 2-3 month visibility. Your calendar only needs to hold 2-3 months of appointments at a time. Each month you replace the previous month’s pages with next month’s. You will need a blank page to record long-term appointments.
Commercial planners can work well if you choose properly, but you will need to discard all the fluffy extras that come with them, such as extra calendar views, advertisements, quotes, birthday calendars, and anything else that might distract you. Keep blank note paper, loose to-do list pages, and blank tab pages; you will use them at the back of your planner to supplement the daily tasks on your regular planner pages.