Setting up a new planner can be both exciting and stressful. 

Exciting because a new, shiny object to covet! But stressful because there is so much to think about and try to figure out. 

How do you go about setting up and moving into your new planner?

  1. Think about why you got a planner. What do you want to track? What do you need to track? Grab a piece of paper and write down those items.
  2. If you have a current planner, take a few moments to flip through it. Write down what worked and what didn’t. 
  3. Grab your perpetual or Google calendar, any post-its, appointment cards, invites, or other notes you have about recurring and future dates.
  4. Review your new planner and look at all of the sections – dashboards, notes pages, contact list, etc and brainstorm how you could use them. Note any new or different sections from your current planner.
  5. Gather all your supplies. What do you need to set up your planner? Here are a few ideas:
    • Sticky Notes
    • Writing Tools – pens, highlighters, pencil
    • Stickers, washi
    • Stencil(s), ruler
    • Page Markers
    • Inserts 
  6. Start filling in those important dates and known events. I prefer sticky notes in case things change and it works with my functional/decorative system. You may want to pencil things in. For birthdays you may want to put down stickers right away. It’s all about what works for you.
  7. For all those other sections, like the dashboards or note pages, you can also plot out how you’d like to use them with sticky notes. The nice thing about sticky notes is you can move them around and visualize how the page will look! Plus they are great if you change your mind on how you want to use different pages.
  8. Determine when you will use your planner. What day will you sit down and set your weekly plans? How often and when will you review your planner each day? Make a plan and stick to it. This will help you get into the routine of using a planner and make sure it doesn’t go to waste.

When I get a new planner, I gather everything above and put down sticky notes for everything I know. I will set up the first month (July/January) how I think I want to plan. If after that month I find things that don’t work I change them. I also set up a week at a time because things change. Plans change, styles change, and life changes. And I don’t like having to remove stickers or white out a bunch of stuff if I don’t have to. I know others will put down some stickers for the entire year. If that works better for you, go for it!

Planning is all about what works for you. You can always try something for a week or month and if it doesn’t work, go back to your old way.

Are you setting up a new planner this month? Leave your best tips in the comments!

Want to see my setup video? Head over to YouTube and check it out!

Categories: Planning


Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.