4 Color Coding Planner Tips to Keep You Organized with Passion Highlighters
One of the most common questions we receive from the #PashFam is “What are the best pens for notetaking in my planner?” In the six years that we’ve been Passion Planning with you, we’ve used them all. We even made a list of our community’s favorite pens over the years. You know that we have pens for days at our office, and now we have a pen of our very own that you can add to your organizing repertoire.
Say hello to our first ever Passion Highlighters! A pen, marker, and highlighter all in one, these double sided pens will be your next favorite planner accessory. In celebration of the release, we’re giving you a crash course on color coding in this blog. Whether you’re a beginner or expert in color coding, we’ll cover the basics and then some in this article.
What Makes Passion Highlighters Special
Above: Passion Highlighter Chisel and Fineliner Tip
Passion Highlighters are unique in that they are a water-based hybrid of both a pen and a highlighter, dual-sided with both a fineliner and chisel tip. Gone are the days when your pencil case is filled to the brim with an assortment of planner pens. Now you have one that does it all.
The Passion Highlighter's fineliner tip is precise and thin to ensure clear writing in the lines of your weekly appointment calendar. Its chisel tip has a dark enough color payoff to pass as a marker while being light enough to highlight your notes without bleeding through the paper. Passion Highlighters come in two color variations, the Essentials 12-pack and the Vintage 12-pack, so whether you want to keep it subtle with muted tones or to go bold with bright pastels tones, there’s an option for everyone.
Now that we’ve covered the basic anatomy of the Passion Highlighters, let’s get into how to use them to effectively color code and organize your Passion Planner.
How to Color Code
Color coding is a functional art, one that is a tale as old as time for our #PashFam. While it can be as easy as associating a color with a specific category, it ultimately depends on your lifestyle and priorities.
Here’s a breakdown on color coding according to your specific needs, whether life, school, work, or finances.
Color Coding Your Life
A common practice of color coding is in alignment with specific areas of one’s life. Blue can indicate health and wellness, pink can mean family, orange can mean your professional life, and so on.
While we typically see examples of color coding in the weekly or daily layouts, you may benefit from also practicing it in your Passion Roadmap (shown above). The advantage of doing this is that by representing as many colors in your Roadmap, you are making a conscious effort to invest in the growth of all areas or your life.
The Passion Roadmap can be intimidating for some people, so breaking your goals down into categories can also get the wheels turning for inspiration.
Color Coding for Students
Assigning color categories to your classes is another great way to customize and personalize your Passion Planner.
Between balancing your personal and school responsibilities, color coding can give you a glimpse of what needs to be done for the week. Use our free School To Do List download to keep track of your course assignments, color categorizing them by subject. If you use an Undated Passion Planner, another option is to divide your weeks by course.
Beyond color coding planners, this method is effective in other ways too, especially simple notetaking tips. Learning how to color code your notes for school can boost your retention of the course material, and has even been recommended for teachers in their presentations to give students visual cues of the importance or relevance of subject matter.
The possibilities are endless when using your planner to achieve academic success.
Color Coding for Work
Similar to school, you have the option of color coding your workday by your day to day responsibilities. One of our favorite ways of organizing your professional life is task batching, or grouping similar tasks together to optimize your productivity.
It can be easy to multitask or get caught up in low priority tasks like emails, but color coding your day is a reminder to focus on one thing at a time. If you’re anything like me, you may forget to take breaks throughout the day, so you can even devote a color to rest and time off. Color coding can be a way of dedicating a time block to a particular task, helping you stay in the zone and avoid distractions.
Use color coding as a way to hold yourself accountable to stay on task, and prevent being consumed by unimportant items.
Color Coding Your Budget
If you’re trying to build a budgeting routine, the first step is knowing where exactly your money is going. Color coding is the easiest way to identify what you’re spending your money on. If you’re noticing that your budget is mostly the color you chose for eating out, then you’ll have a visual cue to cut back your spending in that area.
Similar to our advice of having a goal for each of your life categories, identify a goal for each of your finance categories. If green represents your income, highlight your income goal for the year in that same color. How much money do you want to be making by the end of the year? If yellow represents your savings, what is an amount you want to have stocked up for an emergency or a long-term financial goal?
Setting financial goals and color coding them accordingly is one of the easiest ways to cultivate a healthy money mindset.
Design Your Week with Color Coding
Now comes the fun part: what color coding can look like. While color coding is certainly a functional practice, you have a lot of creative license. There are so many options when it comes to how to organize a planner. You can time box, use stickers or washi tape--the possibilities are endless. You don’t have to color code just by category either. In this video of “How Passion Planner Staff Use their Passion Planners,” Passion Planner team member DJ shows how they prefer to color code by week instead.
Passion Planner has always been where the productive and the personal meet. Now you can show your life’s true colors with our Passion Highlighters.
Paula Palomar is a copywriter at Passion Planner. Outside of work, you'll find her color coding her bullet journal while listening to film scores.