different colored gel pens

Why Color Code Your Planner?

We all like pretty things, but there are many reasons to color code your planner besides aesthetics.

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If you've ever glanced at other people’s planner pages, you've probably noticed many use a color-coding system. After you've chosen the best planner for you and have some basic ideas of what to include in it, consider organizing even more by color coding. This involves using colored pens, highlighters, or stickers to make each section or item a different color. 

While there are different ways to do it, the concept is the same. You use different colors for different types of entries in the journal. This might be pink for an appointment, blue for a work task, and green for when a bill is due. The colors you use is up to you, but there are some great benefits to using color coding.

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Benefits of Color Coding in Your Planner

Increased Organization

Your planner is helping to keep your life more organized, but why not organize the planner as well? A monthly calendar with a bunch of text all in the same color tends to blend together. Using separate colors will help your brain focus on different things. Use different colors for

  • finances
  • home
  • family
  • work

There are many ways to color code different sections of the planner to make it more effective for you.

This is such an easy way to keep your life organized! If you're trying to split up your entries or tasks evenly, color can help. You can use colors to understand how many tasks for each goal or each area of your life are covered. If you are using a single planner for all aspects of your life, utilizing different colors will help you keep track of each of those areas.

Customization is Fun

Color coding isn’t just about organization, but it is also fun! Your planner becomes something you love working in because it’s pretty and you get to use different pens and artistic tools. Make it a creative project so that it is not only helping you be more productive, but becomes a fun creative outlet as well.

Don’t forget that using your planner shouldn’t feel like homework. By using more color with color coding, it is an easy way to make the entire process more enjoyable for you. Instead of a calendar page with nothing but black text that looks boring and is hard to see how your life is organized, you can use color and make it prettier to look at.

If you really enjoy coloring, consider adding some full coloring pages, or pages with a colorable frame. You can also use trackers for various things. You can color to track your water intake or how many steps you took. 

Keeping Areas of Your Life Separate – Quickly Identify Entries

Another excellent benefit of color coding in your planner is to help keep different areas of your life (and schedule) separate. If you are filling out task lists, it might get confusing when it is all written in black. If these tasks aren’t necessarily related or even for the same goals one day, it can make it easier to use different colored pens for each type of task on the to-do list.

A meeting with your boss will appear no different than a doctor appointment for your kid or a note to pay the electric bill. While you might argue that all of these tasks carry equal weight—you don’t want to forget any of them—they each take a different amount of headspace. Using different colors will help you focus on the task at hand and prepare for those coming up.

The main reason to use color coding in your planner is so you can quickly see what tasks you are looking at, and have a quick reference for various types of entries. If you are just looking for an appointment or a bill that is due, you can just look for the color you used to label these types of entries in your planner, and find it right away. It really comes in handy when you’re in a hurry and have a lot of entries in your planner.

When you see a color-coded calendar page, you are able to see how many appointments you have, how many work or personal-related tasks, how many bills, and other labels you have added. Wondering how many days you need to wake up early? If that’s something you keep track of in the planner, you will be able to see it without actually having to read each entry.

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Deciding What to Color Code

You can color code anything and everything in your planner. This might be changing the pen color when making a to-do list, using stickers or highlighters for certain sections on the calendar pages, or even separating the planner into sections based on the color of the pages.

Have fun with it, and remember not only to make it fun, but to be sure you are making it more effective, instead of distracting. There is a balance here between being helpful and going a little overboard. While we want to color to make your planner more enjoyable, it’s important that it doesn’t distract you from the actual work you’re trying to keep track of. Remember, color is just another tool to keep you using the planner so you remain organized.

Use gel pens to color code your planner

Getting started

Start small by taking your monthly or weekly calendar and separating each area into a different color. This might be for things like work, family, and personal life. Or type of event, like holiday, birthday, appointment, or due date. Make yourself a color key somewhere in the planner. Until you get used to your system, you’ll need reminders of what each color stands for. Without a key or legend, you run the risk of mixing up your colors and then they will be meaningless. Still pretty, but meaningless.

I would suggest not trying to do too much at once. You should probably take your colors for a test drive and make sure they work for you. The super bright yellow might be awesome, but when you use it for all of your work commitments, it could be too much on one page. If it’s hard on your eyes, you won’t want to look at it. If your colors don’t work this month, switch them up to try a different mix.

As always, it’s a process. Nothing is magical. It takes time to get it right. Make a plan. Follow the plan. Tweak the plan. 

You got this.

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