When you first start planning it can seem a little intimidating, you may find yourself asking, What is the best planner to use?, Where can I find the best accessories? Let me give you 5 tips that I learned in the last few years about using my planner efficiently.
When your goal is to have "pretty spreads" aka using all the pretty stickers and highlighters, sticky notes and tip-ins are very helpful to plan ahead without making it permanent. I usually use sticky notes for things that are months away. When creating color themes spreads, I tend to use various pen colors to match my theme so, it is a helpful way to keep everything pretty, but also "planned".
Use all of the stickers. Encourage yourself to use your planner, if that means using stickers to color code or add a theme, then use all of the stickers you need. I tend to use a combination of decorative and functional stickers in most of my spreads. Using functional stickers saves you the time from having to handwrite repetitive tasks, draw boxes from scratch or having to cut exact pieces of washi tape.
Using time Increment planning is a time management trick, it keeps you from getting stuck on the details. I find that planning in 30-minute increments increases productivity. I usually use time increment planning at work.
I notice that I am the most productive when I schedule tasks based on my energy levels. I consistently plan according to how busy my day is going to be and how much sleep I got over the weekend. A case of the Mondays - which I spend catching up from Friday is not a good day to plan a bunch of time-consuming tasks. I usually leave that for Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Plan around your usual schedule and energy level, then add in tasks.
I keep a master to-do list. I keep this in a separate journal. I know, that this may seem like extra stuff to carry but, keeping a separate list will encourage you as you see all of your achievements and will help you stay motivated and massively on track.