1. Highlight special days – like Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. Then you can see at a glance where they fall in relation to the current week.
2. Highlight the notes area so it’s set apart from the calendar section. On some formats this is more important than others.
3. Highlight the dates – again, this is more important on certain formats, like this one:
4. If you have trouble pinpointing the current day, mark through the days that are past.
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.
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.
You can remove the split and move the missing dates to the top of the same month. That’s how Franklin Covey does it.
Or you can mark out the split and move the missing dates to the next month’s calendar.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?