It’s the new year—time for a fresh start! And of course, that means a fresh diary. For many of us, diaries and planners are an essential tool for getting through the day. They can also be used to set and reach goals, plan big projects and work on personal development. Whether you’re a seasoned diary user or a complete novice, here are some tips to get more from your diary, so you can start 2019 off on the right foot.

Choose the Right Diary: Diaries and planners come in a huge variety of sizes and layouts, so be sure to pick one that matches your specific needs. Daily agenda or weekly view? Pocket sized or desk sized? Calendar only or space for goal setting, habit tracking and inspirational sentiments? Once you know what’s going to go in your diary, you’ll be able to choose the best one for your needs.

Beyond To-Dos: There are many ways to use a planner besides managing your schedule. Here are some other things a diary can include:

  • Habit tracker for fitness, diet or other self-care goals
  • Budget tracker
  • Goal setting
  • Gratitude
  • Mood tracking

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The Petite Planner, Instagram, Instagram

Getting Ready: Once you’ve selected your new diary, set aside an hour or two to get it ready for the new year. Use last year’s diary as a reference as you write down:

  • Important dates & appointments—birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and other notable events
  • School and/or work dates—payday, upcoming exams, etc.
  • Housekeeping & auto maintenance routines—add reminders for regular tasks like checking smoke detectors or having your car serviced
  • Goals and deadlines—spend some time establishing goals for yourself in the new year, and schedule check-ins to stay on track

Plan to Plan: Set a routine to update your diary on a regular basis. A daily review of your schedule and to-do lists (either first thing in the morning or right before bed) is a mindful way to keep track of progress. Weekly and monthly check-ins will help keep long-term plans moving forward. Don’t forget to migrate appointments and notes from your digital calendars to your diary on a regular basis, and to set reminders on your mobile phone for appointments listed in your paper diary.

Journal Aesthetics: Pinterest and Instagram are full of ideas for embellishing journal and planner pages. These ideas can be both inspiring and overwhelming. Adding artistic details might encourage you to use a diary more regularly. On the other hand, if you worry your layouts aren’t “Instagram worthy,” you might avoid using the diary at all. The secret is to find the right balance that will keep you motivated.

If time is an issue, plan ahead with a variety of ready-to-use embellishments that will turn the time you spend planning from a chore into a creative pleasure. Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks:

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A Bowl Full Of Lemons, Reese Reegan

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