Thursday, June 12, 2014

How I Color Code in my Planner

Hi everyone!

This post will be about how I use color-coding in my planner to help me stay organized.

There are several ways I do it, some of which work, while others don't. 

1.  With colored ink
I've been doing this for years and it worked wel for me.  I see what I need to do instantly, and the important things, bills (LOL), stand out so I know not to forget to do them.

Lately though, and especially on busy days, my pages are just too colorful and confusing. So I decided to use just black ink and color-code only for the important things.  Again, usually bills.

I carry 4 colors and a pencil in my planner but also use a variety of multi pens.

I use a lot more color in my monthlies that I use as a mini journal.

2.  With highlighters
Now THIS was a disaster. They made my pages look crazy busy!

I love my soft color highlighters but they just don't work as much as I thought it would.  I use them very sparingly, usually for holidays and items that are left undone and need to be migrated to the next day.

3.  With Post-Its or sticky notes
I tried it, I do it sometimes, but really, it wasn't a must-do for me. 

4.  With stickers
Again, doesn't really help all that much for me.  I'd do it just so I don't waste what I have but I don't really need to do it.  I prefer actually writing in what needs to be done.  I'd probably continue to use them just for color on my pages.

5.  My Color-Coded section
I saved the best for last, and my favorite and most used section apart from the Diary.  I have been color-coding for years, and I know the colors I use by heart so that when I spot it, I instantly know what it means. In the last year or so, I put in an actual section that was color-coded by each category of my 'life'.

Pink is for Me
Brown is for Home/House
Blue is for Family/Dog
Green is for Financial
Light Blue is for Crafting
Purple is for Media

Six tabs for my six sections.
And here are the contents in each of the tabs.

And here's how they look from the top. 

This system is working amazingly for me. Whatever notes, papers, information I need to file or find, I look in that section and it never fails that it's there.  This section has gotten to be quite thick because I totally depend on it for everything.  In fact, the rest of my planner is just really the Diary, the heart of my system, and notes pages.

Here are a few examples:

My dog's vet schedule for the year. I use grid paper for easy 'encoding'. 

My crafting section. I use grid paper here again for easy sketching. 

Apart from grid paper, I use colored paper in this section. It's a great way for me to make good use of this paper and it makes each section stand out better. 

I have also tried the "filing cabinet" system and I'm using that in my Home Binder which has a lot more information - more for reference than for action. It works well there. For everyday use though, I love this system and, if I may so myself, it's quite perfect for me.  (:

Do let me now if you do something like this as well.

Thanks for visiting!


  1. Sounds like a great system! I colour code using mostly pens (just four colours) but occasionally use a bit of washi. I like the idea of having actual colour coded sections though!

    1. Hi KatieLouise! I haven't tried it with washi yet. How do you use it? 😄

    2. Well I generally use four pen colours to colour code. I have Reminders, uni, personal and fitness. I would then use thin orange (5th colour) washi tape for work days, and if I had a big reminder, like university deadlines, I'd use a green tape to make it stand out more than the pen would.

    3. Ooh. That might be a bit much for me but I'm sure it works well for you! Thanks for your reply!

  2. Thanks for sharing. I do a little bit of color coding, too. I have the same four color pen you do. But I'm not consistent at all. I find it's too much trouble for me. Sometimes I go back after a month is OVER and color code my calendar for reference later.

    I love your colored tabs. That's a great idea.

    1. Hi, and yes. I agree. I haven't stopped doing it altogether but it did get a little tedious. I'm keeping up with the color coded section and though and that works for me. Thanks for your comment!

  3. I'm in the middle of resetting up my planner and this color coded section sounds amazing! I hope to try it out and hope it works for me too!! Thank you for this awesome post !!

    1. I'm glad you found it helpful Wenda! Thanks for letting me know. And I hope you find something that works for you too!