5 Planner-Free Planning Tips

18 April 2016 / Leave a Comment
If you're a teacher, most likely you love to have everything in your life perfectly planned.  If you're like me, you like things perfectly planned but cannot successfully use a traditional planner.  I've tried every type of planner.  A pocket planner.  A wall calendar.  A notebook-sized planner.  A binder.  None of those things, alone, have worked for me. There must be others just like me, so I want to share some things I do to keep my self organized and goal-oriented at school and at home.

Desk Calendar

My go-to place to write my schedule down is my desk calendar at school.  If I do not see it right in front of my face, all day long, chances are I am going to miss it!  I used to bring my giant calendar to staff meetings but I got a lot of funny looks so now I bring a notebook and transfer things over after the meeting.  I try to keep things color coded for things during school, school related activities before and after normal hours, family activities, and medical appointments.  

Sometimes on Fridays, I will take a photo with my phone so I have all of the information going into a weekend.

* It helps if the desk calendar is pretty like this one from Blair Turner Paper.  IN LOVE!


Post-Its are my friend!  I always have a post-it on my laptop with a running list.  Once the post-it gets too messy, I transfer anything not crossed off onto a new post-it and start over.  I keep it on my laptop because my laptop gets opened several times each day so I see it frequently.  If I happen to get a chance to leave my laptop at school, I can easily grab the post-it to take with me.

File Folders

I always keep an organizer with file folders on my desk at school.  They are labeled for the days of the week (Monday - Friday) with an extra one labeled "next week".  I also have a folder labeled "to be filed" and "to be copied".  The folders keep my desk clear of clutter.

Since my teacher plan book is bare-boned with simple notes, the folders ensure that if I have to make sub plans, the sub just needs to pull the folder for the appropriate day.

Plastic Drawers

If file folders do not have enough space, or if you need other materials that may not fit in the folders, I have also used drawers similar to this.  I liked to keep them labeled for the day of the week but you could also label them by subject and stock each subject drawer for the week.  

Phone Alarms  

For very important events that I cannot forget, I set an alarm on my phone.  I always set an alarm on my phone a week or a couple of days in advance to remind myself if something REALLY big is coming up just so I make sure to prepare.

Sometimes I set an alarm for smaller things like just to remind myself that it's somebody's birthday coming up.  It's so awkward when you are with somebody all day and have forgotten it's their birthday.

The key is to make sure that you do not just add the event to your calendar but that you actually make sure the alarm alerts you to the event.

Do you have any other non-planner planning tips for us planner-challenged teachers?  Leave a comment below with more suggestions!

Thank you for stopping by today!  I'd love to see you on my Instagram!  You can find me by searching @Learning_Lab.

Until next time...


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