Time management Monday: Using color-coding in your planner

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I use color-coding in my planner to easily see what I have going on at work and in my personal life, and to keep track of recurring tasks and events.

The trick is to use only enough colors to easily see different categories of tasks and appointments. If I use too many colors for different things, they quickly lose their significance.

I use a 4 color pen in my planner, and the ink colors have different purposes. Blue is personal, black is work, red is important, green is health tracking.

I also use highlighters in different colors to signify recurring events. I use an orange highlighter to signify something that happens every month, and a pink highlighter to signify something that happens every week.

I can combine highlighter colors with ink colors for specific meanings. For example, something written in blue ink (personal) highlighted in pink (weekly) would be a personal event that happens every week. Something written in black ink (work) highlighted in orange (monthly) would be a work event that happens every month.

In my example below you can see my color system in use. This happens to be in a Scholar weekly planner but you can use it in any planner:


You can see the most important thing of the day, written in red in the Priority box, is that my insurance payment is due. I have several things written for work (in black ink). I have highlighted the 10:00 budget meeting in pink (weekly) because that happens every week. Next month’s invoice is highlighted in orange (monthly) because that happens every month.

I have personal items written in blue ink. The 4:00 piano lesson is highlighted in pink (weekly) because that happens every week. In green I have written that it is my day to do 50 minutes of cardio.

Another option for weekly and monthly recurring events is to use movable sticky flags like I wrote about in this post.

P1120787It’s also handy to use color-coding in your anno-planning pages to see at a glance when you have major events coming up like travel, etc.

In my example at the left I have shown when school is out for summer vacation, and travel dates. Using color this way in your anno-planning pages makes it easy to see major events happening over the course of your entire year.

You can also use color-coding to indicate tests and assignments due, deadlines, and holidays. You can use a specific color to track medical conditions and symptoms. You can also keep track of multiple people in your planner by assigning a specific color to each person.

Do you use colors in your planner?

2 thoughts on “Time management Monday: Using color-coding in your planner

  1. Yes, but my system is pretty simple. Red for due dates, appointments,a no events. Turquoise blue for health and self-care. Green for completed items. Usually black for everything else.

  2. The erasable Frixion pens make this easy to do and they’re narrow enough to slip into an add-on pen loop or pouch. That way I know appointments are changeable, as opposed to the hard data written in fountain pens.

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