Get the Most Out of Your Planner in the New Year!

Hey Socialites! I figure the best way to start this post is by reminding you guys just how much I use my phone. I’m on this thing almost constantly, unless I’m in the shower or asleep. So naturally, I use my phone as an alarm clock, as a PC, and as a calendar. I always kept track of my schedule over the phone and never considered using a planner. After all, planners are just boring little calendar squares stapled together into a little pocked sized book, right? Wrong.

The new school planners are super cute, and completely functional, with tabs, icons, stickers, you name it! About two months ago, I was roaming around Michaels (the arts & crafts superstore), and came across this spiral bound, laminated, and adorable planner!

Create 365 Planner

So I bought it, because I had a 40% off coupon, and I figured it was worth it. When I got home, I googled how to plan, because organization is not my strong suit. Turns out, there is a whole friggin’ community dedicated to planners and planning! And they are serious: I’m talking stickers, something called Washi Tape, multicolored pens…people have turned using a planner into an art form! I’m not at the level yet where I can dedicate the time into using 15 different markers to make my To-do list, but I do intend to get serious about using my planner to help me stay on task and achieve the goals I shared in this post.

If you’re like me, and trying to get serious about organization in 2018, I recommend trying out a planner, or recommitting yourself to the one you already have! I’m discovering that taking the time to jot a list down, as opposed to simply adding it my phone calendar, stimulates my memory in a different manner, and I’m more likely to complete my task! Here are 5 ways to make the most out of your planner and achieve your resolutions:

1. Find the right planner: I feel like this is an important step. If you are minimalistic or simple, stick with the tried and true Dayminder style planners. Or, feel free to go all out with the pretty, frilly, and personalized planners, like mine above, or those by Erin Condren. (just be prepared for people to stop you all day to ask “OMG! Where did you get that?”)

2. Open your planner first thing each morning: For me, this is the hardest step that requires the most discipline. I forgot my planner at home the first few weeks when I got it. Or, I would write out my list the night before, only for the planner to be stuck inside my purse all day. I’m making it a routine to check my planner at the same time every morning, and stick to my scheduled tasks.

3. Keep your monthly and weekly overviews as functional as possible: It’s a matter of choice, but I like to use the large month calendar view for critical dates and appointments. The boxes are too small to crowd them with every mundane activity you need to complete, and by doing that, you may overlook something! For everyday tasks, I use the weekly section, and include my case plans for work, workouts, grocery lists, party planning notes, etc. Find the best method that works for you!

4. Use Color Coding, Washi Tapes, and Stickers: From what I’ve seen in the planning community, there is an art form to setting up your planner. You can find all sorts of inspiration and instructions for this on Pinterest, but it all comes down to your taste and preference. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t use multicolored pens, but I do use stickers! They’re cute, but they also serve the purpose of drawing your attention to key dates and times. Stickers also take the place of words, if the calendar boxes are too small to put everything in. For example, use a blue star sticker to indicate a workout day, a green dot sticker to indicate payday, etc. I’ve seen some planners that are a little too cluttered with stickers and tapes for my liking, but again, utilize whatever will make you open and use your planner!

5. Don’t stress about filling up your planner: Don’t feel like you have to create extra work for yourself just so your planner won’t look empty! An empty planner can be a downright good thing: you’ve either met your goal, or you’re footloose and fancy free! Fill in your planner with the most pertinent appointments and to-do’s, even if it only fills in 4 calendar blocks. Remember, unless you’re part of these online planner communities, no one will see your planner, but you!

Ready to get started? I’ve rounded up a few cute planners in the shopping widget below! Just scroll through until you find the one you love. And if you want to get started today, I’ve included an option (and one that I use!) from Designer Blogs! Their Ultimate Life Planner is available for instant download, for you to print and customize! Happy Planning! ?

2018 Life Planner -

Click these photos to instantly dowload, customize, and print your new 2018 Planners!

2018 Blog Planner -

See ya next time! 


Fashion, Lifestyle, and Travel blogger, based in NC.


  1. Cute planner! I could not survive without my planner. Working from home and homeschooling, it totally keeps me organized.

    1. TheSuburbanSocialite

      Thanks! I’m getting to that point!

  2. I really need to get better with using a planner they are such a great way to keep organised and on track but I keep missplacing them!

  3. Thank you for this! I need to get a planner and start using it. Right now I just have a basic calendar at my side.

  4. Being so forgetful as of late, I definitely need a planner to help me get organized. Hey, it’s the new year, this can be my new year resolution.

  5. Already printing the blog planner! I’ve tried to use an actual planner (for everyday life, not the blog) so many times.

    Every year, I buy one and use it for about a week or two, then totally forget the thing even exists. I have planners from the last several years in a drawer waiting to be thrown in the garbage. Each one of them, with nothing written past January.

    I’m going to try again this year.

  6. I live by my planner. I love shopping for new ones each year and have my favorites too

  7. this is such a beautiful planner, I love planners they make my day run so much more easier and keep me organised. I need to balance working from home and also working part time else where.

  8. The Blogger Planner is just what I need! I use electronic tools, but there’s something different that happens in your mind when you write something down. Thank you, I’m going to look in to this beautiful Blogger Planner!

  9. Can we talk about how much I love this post?! Planuary is one of my favorite months of the year… I had a hard time narrowing down which planner to go with this year!

  10. I am a planner addict. I too love color coding everything, washi, and stickers. My planner feels empty without them. You gave some really great suggestions here.

  11. Your planner looks too cute…I need to get one for myself now. I must say your photography is beautiful! This was a good read for me on a Saturday evening 🙂

  12. i find tip 4 very useful when organizing and yes having a planner is so useful! without it, i will never get things done, yikes!

  13. Your planner is adorable 🙂 I’m currently using the Panda Planner, and I love it. Perfect alternative for someone like me who is too impatient for a bullet journal, but want’s to keep track of things I am grateful for.

  14. I guess I would want the blog planner. One fan of planners here because I’m a little concerned with all the things needed to be done and I dont want to miss any single thing.

  15. These are such great ideas! I just bought a new planner, so these tips will be great to implement!

  16. I absolutely lovvvve this post! I was a true “planner” girl until a year 1/2 ago when I too began entering everything on my phone calendar. Honestly the ease of using my phone won me over but I miss the feel of “checking” off my to-do-list and looking back over the year to compare activities from year-to-year. I now have my 2018 planner ready to go! 🙂

  17. I love to use a planner. It feels so good to write things down on paper. Thanks for the great tips.

  18. I did buy me a planner for the new year. Last year I got one and I didnt use it but I plan, literally to use it more especially for my travels and event planning!

  19. Ha! I really need to get myself a planner this year. I think I would be wayy more productive.

  20. That planner is so cute!! I love it!! I need a new one for 2018, still finding the one that suits me!!

  21. Planners are really functional in keeping you organized. I have had planners in the past and forgotten to use them. The one you illustrated is aesthetically pleasing. I like how you suggest the use of color coding, washi tapes, and Stickers to properly organize your planner

  22. I got a planner last year specifically for my blog as things got a lot busier for me. Although I went in and out of using it. I should have used it more often. Thanks for the great ideas.

  23. I always need to physically write things down otherwise I’ll forget. This planner is so cute!

    1. TheSuburbanSocialite

      Same here! Thanks! ?

  24. I’m ready to start planning the old fashion way again.. Im more likely to complete my task and goals when they are written down..
    Thanks Amber

  25. Love this post! I love to use my planner! I keep my planner on a table in the living room and check it each day before I leave the house for work or before heading somewhere on the weekend so I don’t forget anything. The planner you bought is super cute, love the stickers too!

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