11 Tips for Using Your Monthly Calendar

planner - header

planner - header

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1.       Highlight special days – like Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.  Then you can see at a glance where they fall in relation to the current week.

Planner - Holiday Highlight

2.       Highlight the notes area so it’s set apart from the calendar section.  On some formats this is more important than others.

planner - column

3.       Highlight the dates – again, this is more important on certain formats, like this one:

Planner  dates highlighted

4.       If you have trouble pinpointing the current day, mark through the days that are past.

planner - days marked through

5.       Mark dates/items that affect your life.  For example, on November 3 daylight savings time ended.  I put a ring around the item on my calendar to remind me.  I did the same thing for November 11 which is Veterans Day.  Nothing special is going on for me that day but I want to remember that it’s a special day and that the banks and post office are closed.

Planner - dates to be aware of

6.       Get rid of split boxes.  For some reason, some calendar makers run out of room for the last couple of days of the month and split the boxes to squeeze them in.  I don’t know about you, but I need a FULL box for every day, whether it’s at the end of the month or not.  So there are two ways you can deal with that problem.

planner - split

Planner - split box fixed

You can remove the split and move the missing dates to the top of the same month.  That’s how Franklin Covey does it.

Planner - split box at top

Or you can mark out the split and move the missing dates to the next month’s calendar.

planner split to next month

7.       If it bothers you that a month ends in the middle of a week, you can modify by moving the next month’s boxes to the current month to finish out the week.  Here’s what I mean.

Planner - week doesn't finish out

planner - week doesn't finish out 2

8.       I don’t like to do a lot of color coding as the month is progressing.  It’s too much trouble and all that color is distracting.  But I do like to be able to see at a glance the different types of appointments – for future reference. So at the end of the month I go back through and color code the appointments.

Planner - color coding

9.       I don’t have a birthday/anniversary calendar or list in my planner.  I write them directly on the monthly pages.  Then when I get my calendar for the new year, I transfer them over.  However, one thing I started doing a couple of years ago is putting on the calendar how old the person will be. Otherwise I don’t always remember.

planner - birthday

10.     Include items you want to remember.  These items wouldn’t necessarily be appointments.  For example, I color my hair about every four or five weeks.  I always write on my calendar when I do it.  It helps me plan when I’ll need to do it again.  I also include things like when we’re sick, milestones for the grandkids, some weather, house issues (like when the furnace quit and it was freezing cold outside), when I start a quilt, etc.  When I need to know when those events happened, it’s easy to find them on my calendar.

planner - special events

planner - events 2

11.     And, of course, using symbols saves space.  I wrote about that here.

Do you use a monthly calendar in your planner? What do you do to make it work for you?

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Born in Kentucky, I am a wife and mom to 1 son and 2 daughters . I have an ink pen obsession, as well as a love for all things planner. I have been married for 10 years to my high school crush. I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

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18 thoughts on “11 Tips for Using Your Monthly Calendar

  1. This is a great post, Patty – lots of good ideas! I do some of these and my planner has others in place for me already. But a few new ideas on here will be making their way to my pages tomorrow when I plan my week. I love the split day solutions – that drives me crazy. I think I use my monthly pages more than any other part of my planner. Something about seeing everything laid out together helps me make sense of it all. I do like color coding in the moment, though – it helps me to put my items in one color, my daughter’s in another, Hub’s in another, and whole family events in a fourth. It works for us. Although that is more something we use for the kitchen wall calendar. But I do keep track of things for my Daughter and Husband that involve me – like how it affects which of us picks her up from school or takes her to an appointment, etc.

    1. Thank you, Lisa. I hate those split boxes, too. Whoever thought of that must not really use a calendar because it’s DUMB.

      Since I’m ADHD, you’d think I would like color coding but I never have. I can see how it would work really well for most people but not me. I think it’s because I highlight my to-do’s after I do them so when I see the color, I ignore it. Does that make sense?

      1. I have those split boxes on my 2014 Mo2P inserts by Collins Debden. I don’t mind too much; that’s why God invented Post-its, after all!

  2. I thought about you yesterday. I was emptying my vacuum, and I thought about when the last time as that I cleaned my filters. I have a Dyson, and you’re supposed to rinse the filters every 3-4 months. I thought, you know, if I would put that into a planner (if I used one) I would know exactly!! My kid messed up a big desktop calendar that was for the church. So I had to replace it, and now we have a water-wrinkled huge calendar. I’m thinking about hanging it up on the back of the door to the garage. I have a daughter who I think might have ADHD, and she loves calendars and writing things down and knowing “the plan.” I should get her a student planner so she can start to practice your tips, huh?

    1. You’re funny, Becky.

      Yes, definitely get your ADHD daughter a planner! It will change her life – and for the better!!! And while we’re on the subject, what about your calendar?

  3. I think I’m going to love using a month-at-a-glance insert next year. I need that bigger picture to help me stay really organised.

  4. Just came across your blog via a link on FB. I am crazy in love with calendars! It’s the OCD in me! LOL! I have used the diary style calendar for the last 3 years in order to keep a semi-journal on each day. This year I’ve gone back to the month-at-a-glance style and will be using some of your ideas, especially the color coding. Colorful and cute calendars are my favorite with cutesy pictures thus I steer away from Covey, Daytimers, DayRunner etc. because I want something that is small and slim to fit easily in my handbag. I’ll continue to explore your blog for other ideas.

    1. So glad you stopped by! Have you ever decorated your planner pages with washi tape and stickers? That would allow you to take a boring calendar and make it awesome!

  5. For the first time since I started my job almost 9 years ago, our HR department suddenly last week passed out pages documenting our annual leave, sick leave, time off awards, etc. from the previous year and wanted us to reconcile them against our records. Huh? So I had to go back through my calendar and leave requests, etc. trying to make sense of it all (there were about five pages in total because it not only included time we took off, but leave hours earned and leave balances as of each paycheck). I learned my lesson and now am recording in red on my monthly calendar any kind of leave that I take incase they ask us to do this again next year.

    1. I hate when that happens! Any time I stop tracking something I regret it. But it definitely teaches you to keep track. Better safe than sorry! Were you able to figure it out?

      1. Yes, I was able to figure it out, but I thought it was a ridiculous waste of time. I was tempted to just sign off on all the pages without verifying everything because our leave balances are on each pay stub and if I had seen an error over the year, I would have alerted HR immediately.

  6. Just a note to say I love your site. I just went and liked you on Facebook.

    I love, love, love your planner instructions. I have been using a planner for the past two years. Paper again. I like electronic, but there is just something so simple about using the paper and the visual. Nice.

    I personally recommend the Planner Pad. No, I don’t work for them but came across them some how. Can’t remember the how. But, the funnel system is amazing.

    Keep writing.

    I also have Evernot and can say that I save all your articles so I can refer to them.

    Thanks for your hard work.

    You should list yourself on Bloglovin

    1. I am on bloglovin. Do you mean have an icon on my site? I probably should do that. Thanks for the suggestion.

      I did try planner pad once. I thought it was a really great system but I don’t like spiral bound. I tried the ring bound but it was too big. I seriously should think about it again. It really is a great system – covers all the bases.

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