I LOVE ring bound binders! They are my favorite because I can move things around as much as I want or simply take out sections that no longer serve my current season of life. I’m also not limited to what inserts I can use. There are pre-printed inserts, I can create my own inserts, I can hole punch a cute sheet of scrapbook paper and put it in my binder, or purchase printable inserts. The possibilities are endless!
Ring bound binders can be an expensive investment so taking care of them is critical. One of the things that is vital in taking care of my binder is saving (protecting) my rings. Constantly opening and closing my rings can and will cause damage eventually. This is a problem because the damage to rings means that they won’t close all the way and your pages will snag when trying to flip through.
The solution to this issue is to grab a pair of sharp scissors and cut a small slit (on the left side) in each of the holes of the paper. This allows you to pull paper out and pop paper back in without having to open and close my rings. Once I’ve made the slits in my paper and want to take the paper back out of my planner. I will grab the top right side of the page and pull down GENTLY! I want to be able to put the paper back in the binder once I’m done. If I pull too hard I risk tearing my pages. You can fix this with hole reinforcements or by adding washi tape and punching the paper (but try to be gentle to keep from doing this step).
Creating a slit in my pages also solves another problem that I tend to have which is writing in my planner. Taking the sheet of paper out of my planner gives me plenty of room to write and flip through my planner if I need to reference information.
Today I am sharing a couple of great tips from Toni at A Bowl Full of Lemons. I absolutely love her website and IG feed. Not only does she share her love of organizing her home, she is a fellow paper planner lover! One of my favorite planner related posts from her website is about how she set up her planner back in 2015. One of the things that she talks about is her color coding system. It’s a great article and you can check out the details here.
I was recently gifted a set of Franklin Covey Blooms in Compact size and the pages are gorgeous! I knew that I wanted to color code my monthlies when I started setting up my pages. In the past I have used color pens for each event and appointment but that looked too busy and it required me to keep those pens with me at all times. It had to be functional and I immediately thought of Toni’s planner.
I enjoy using color coding in my planner because I can quickly see what I have going on in a particular category. I always have a black pen with me so it’s easy to jot down an appointment, which eliminates the need for me to carry more than the pen that’s in my pen loop. I can always go back and add the color dot at a later time. The categories that I use are red for work (everything work related), purple for me (dr appts, meetups with friends, etc), orange for household (haircuts, budget meetings, etc), blue for our boys (school stuff, dr appts, etc), and pink for important dates (birthdays, holidays, anniversaries). These categories match what is in my google calendar, which is color coded as well. Like Toni, I also use highlighters to mark if something is cancelled, rescheduled or postponed. I always hated the way my calendar would look at the end of the month with things scratched out. This takes care of that. The categories that I use are blue for rescheduled, pink for cancelled, and green for postponed.
A great way to stay on track with accomplishing your goals, working on tasks and completing projects is to do a weekly review but this can only be done after you’ve gathered your information into one place and decided what to do with it. These things are something that David Allen talks about in his Getting Things Done Methodology. Here is what I do and suggest for you too. Pick a day of the week to sit down and gather all of the information from all of the places you have written them down (the list on the fridge, notebook beside the bed, sticky notes on the mirror in the bathroom, notes or reminders in your phone, outlook task reminders, etc) and put them all in one place. I suggest a notebook that can hold everything but you could also use a digital option like Evernote or Google docs to name a couple of my favorite digital platforms. Whatever you use make sure it’s something that you can quickly and easily access. We will talk next week about what to do once you’ve gathered the information in one place.