Color Month

These Fluorescent Pens Are the Only Ones I’ll Ever Use to Color-Code My Planner

published Jul 14, 2022
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Growing up, my middle school would give every student a paper planner at the beginning of the school year, in an effort to keep students organized and on top of assignments. While some students never opened theirs, I loved getting a planner, and it really did help me keep track of my homework and school schedule. I didn’t make it fancy with colorful pens or bright stickers, but it was simple and straightforward, and I’d have been lost without it. Perhaps this is why, as an adult, keeping my calendar and to-dos in my phone or on my laptop doesn’t quite work for me. As much as I try to be a digital planner, I am a paper planner girl at heart.

I’m a sucker for pretty stationery, colorful notebooks, and I love jotting down my to-dos every day. I am not, however, someone who creates beautiful doodles, immaculate bullet journal spreads, or uses washi tape or stickers — I tried, and it takes too much concentration and time. Even though I’ve made peace with my less than stellar artistic skills, I still like to add a little extra oomph to my calendar and to-do lists, just in a simple way. Enter Zebra Pen Midliner Double Ended highlighters

I love these little pens so much, not only because the dual ended tips mean I get a highlighter and a fine point marker for writing, but they keep my pages beautiful and organized. I always have two notebooks going at once — a bullet journal for daily to-do lists and brain dumps, and a paper planner for keeping my schedule and deadlines in order — and I use these pens for both of them. The fine point tip is perfect for to-do lists in my bullet journal; I use them to write the day of the week at the top of the page, and I pick whatever color I’m in the mood for that day. I’ll draw mini hearts for bullet points, and the colors bring a little extra joy to my day. While there’s nothing wrong with simply writing down what needs to be done on a piece of paper, I find that picking out a color and writing with a marker makes my to-do list just a little more intentional and helps me slow down. Not to mention, it’s also kind of fun. And trust me, I’m no Picasso, I’m not spending a ton of extra time creating these lists. If I can do it, so can you!

As I’m writing my to-do’s, my paper planner is never far away, and I use these pens to color-code my planner, instead of writing with them. I’m a freelancer and am often juggling multiple deadlines and jobs all at the same time, so assigning different colors to different tasks allows me to visualize my calendar and schedule even better. I use the broad tip side of the pen for highlighting and assign different categories for every color. For example, my planner is a mix of pink, orange, blue, green and purple — for writing deadlines, teaching gigs, social media scheduling, my gym schedule, and personal time. I wait a minute or two to highlight after I write things down (or else the ink will smudge) and I love that the Zebra Midliner pens never bleed onto the back of the page. Of course my color coding is unique to me, and there are tons of ways to color-code your own planner, based on your own preferences and needs. 

I don’t have children, but I can imagine juggling a lot of different schedules at once would be mind boggling. Color-coding a family planner where each person has their own color might be super helpful. Students can color-code subjects or assignments like homework, exams, or presentations. You could color-code your work life like I do, assigning different shades for meetings, events, calls, and deadlines — making your planner your own. And while this is about adding a little life and color to your pages, it’s also about maximizing organization. Having my five fluorescent colored pens helps me feel more in control and on top of my schedule, but if I had more than five, I think I’d get overwhelmed. Keeping it simple is the name of the game. 

I think my middle school self would love that I’ve incorporated color in my planner and notebooks, and that I’ve found pens specifically made for journaling, planning, and flexing creative muscles. It’s a win-win really — my pages are beautiful, and I’m even more organized than I’d be without them! My planner and notebook are never far away, and the same goes for my Zebra pens. 

This piece is part of Color Month, where we’re showing you the best ways to inject more color into your home and life. From paint color combos to vibrant house tours, head over here to see it all.