Besides providing space for jotting down your schedule, a day planner often includes extras, such as notepaper, an address book, city maps, and a restaurant tipping chart. Try these tips:
Write down how much you’re spending on groceries or other budgeted items on the planner’s notepad. It’s the ideal place, because you can dash off updates no matter where you are, says Kerul Kassel, author of Productive Procrastination (Echelon Press, $16, amazon.com).
Plot out vacations according to the school year. Standolyn Robertson, president of the National Association of Professional Organizers, suggests an academic calendar (available at office-supply stores), which runs from August through July.
Use business-card slots to sort receipts―tax deductibles, big-ticket items, and work expenses―so you’re not wading through a purse full of paper every day.
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Best Calendars for Your Wall
Whether you’re seeking a command center for your household or you want to make your home office less officey, wall calendars are up to the task. Try these tips:
“Leave small Post-it Notes by the calendar so family members can write down events and stick the notes onto the correct dates,” says Amy Knapp, creator of Amy Knapp’s Family Organizer (familyorganizer.com), a line of planners and calendars.
Color-code a calendar. Use a different-color pen for each child to keep track of after-school activities, from Jenny’s soccer practice to Justin’s swim meet.
Order photo calendars for friends and family from a site like shutterfly.com or snapfish.com with the dates of events you celebrate together―“Smith family reunion,” “Florida vacation”―blocked out, says Mary Carlomagno, owner of Order, an organizing service in Hoboken, New Jersey.
3 of 4Monica Buck
Best Calendars for Your Computer
Think paper calendars are so 20th century? An online version allows you to maintain an ultra-organized system and share it with others. Try these tips:
Set the calendar to alert you to upcoming events―ideal if you tend to forget birthdays and anniversaries (ahem). Look for repeat features that let you input the data only once.
Choose a calendar that can send text-message and e-mail reminders to your cell phone and you won’t miss Sally’s dance recital.
Opt for a calendar with comprehensive holiday listings―from Groundhog Day to Grandparents Day―so you won’t have to type them in yourself.
Shown: With the UVC Basic calendar, you can choose a daily, weekly, or monthly configuration. To test t: Free, universalvillage.net.
More Online CalendarsFamundo for Families, Free Offers a customizable family home page. To Test It: famundo.com.
Whichtime, Free Size the calendar to fit your screen. To Test It: whichtime.com.
Google Calendar, Free View friends’ calendars alongside your own. To Test It: google.com.
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Best Calendars for Your Desk
Office calendars run the gamut from small, attractive additions to the work area to get-down-to-business units with ample space for noting multiple appointments. Try these tips:
Record memories, like when your son sees his first snowfall or learns to walk. “So much goes on in a day that it’s nice to be able to remember the little things,” says Jeanie Viars, a product-development manager for Hallmark, in Kansas City, Missouri.
Flip to the week before a friend’s or family member’s birthday and write, “Buy gift for Peter,” says Knapp. “If you set triggers for yourself, you’ll be proactive, rather than reactive.” And just think of the money you’ll save by not having to overnight little Petey’s Bob the Builder train set.
Use a calendar to remind yourself to perform work-related tasks, like “Follow up with CEO” or “Clean office.”