So I'll tell you what I write in my planner. It looks like a lot, and it is, which is further proof of why my planner is so indispensable to me. You might not need to write all this. Or, you might need to write different things than what I write. But hopefully this will give you some ideas on how to use your planner more effectively.
Schedule and appointments. These are the very basics of planner use. Some people use their planner only for scheduled events, but for me it's only the beginning.
Special dates and school holidays. Birthdays, anniversaries and holidays all get written into my planner before I start using it. I also write in school holidays and long weekends right away so we can schedule around those. If we are planning to travel or if we are having visitors stay with us, I write those dates in asap to avoid any clashes.
Tasks, on the day or week they need done. I write tasks way in advance. For example, last year my Christmas shopping and preparations crept up on me and took me by surprise. So this year already in my weekly pages I have written reminders of when it's time to finalize gifts, reminders to buy wrapping and cards, and when to deliver gifts to people like my kids' teachers. On any given week, I have a list of things that MUST be done that week, and a list of lower-priority items. I also list my household cleaning tasks so I can check them off when they are done.
Kids' and husband's schedules and events. My kids are in loads of activities, so I write them into my weekly pages so I can avoid double-booking (because despite the fact that I take my kids to them every week, I'm still likely to forget when put on the spot to schedule an event). Also my husband has an erratic and ever-changing travel schedule, so I capture those dates as soon as I know them.
Deadlines and due dates, and reminders. I write in recurring deadlines and due dates as soon as I know them, on this year's planner and into my future year's planning pages so they don't get forgotten. I have loads of these and can't afford any of them to slip through the cracks. Some of these are annual and some are more frequent.
I write reminders for these a few weeks before they are due so I can take the appropriate action. For example I make annual doctor's appointments before they are due in case it takes a couple of weeks to get an appointment time.
Annual things I write into my planner:
- Insurance renewals (cars, home, life, pet)
- doctor checkups
- chimney sweep and boiler maintenance (August)
- changing the batteries in the smoke and CO2 detectors
- TV tax
- dog's annual vaccines
- car MOT (inspection)
Monthly: I still pay some bills by phone or online, so I write reminders each month on which days I have to pay the bills so I don't get charged late fees. Now we have a dog who needs wormer and flea control monthly, so I write those in too, otherwise I'm sure to forget!
Other things need renewed farther in the future like passports, drivers licenses and vaccines, so I write all those in too because I absolutely can't afford to miss those.
So you see, I use my planner at least as much for recurring and future events as I do for day to day planning.
What do you write in your planner that's different from what I write?