When I was in college, I had my first encounter with a planner. My friend Beth carried around a thick spiral notebook (about 8.5 x 5.5) where she wrote down everything. I wasn't overly responsible (LOL) at the time and I never used a to-do list, much less a planner - but I was intrigued.
At the top of each page, she wrote the date and if I remember correctly, she just started writing the things she had to do, places she had to go, calls she had to make, etc. Every time she finished something, she crossed through it. I don't remember what she did if the list wasn't completed but I am assuming she moved it forward to the next day. I don't remember questioning her about it but I would like to now! I'm guessing she used a to-do list and a calendar.
Isn't that basically what your planner is? My weekly pages double as my to-do list and my monthly calendar schedules my appointments. I like my planner because it gives me flexibility and more space to plan in detail, but this method would work for many of those for whom the idea of choosing and using a planner makes them a little crazy.
At the opposite end of that crazy, ~grin~ it's at least a beginning place for those who like the idea of using a planner but don't know where to start.
- Buy a spiral-bound notebook, one with pockets would work even better.
- Buy a monthly calendar, where it being a pocket or wall type.
- Write the date at the top of the first page and list the tasks that need to be done (wash the comforter, call the vet, pack up the winter clothes, etc).
- As they come up, write down appointments and date-specific items on your calendar (change air filter, dentist appointment, graduation, homeschool picnic, etc).
- Everyday consult your monthly calendar and add the day's appointments (and the tasks they may create) to your notebook. You may have "3pm Graduation" at the top of the page, and "wrap gift" and "get directions" as related to-dos.
- Cross throw completed items and start a fresh page the next day
- Check the previous day for uncompleted tasks and add it to your new list.
After awhile, I would think you would begin to get an idea of how to expand that to a planner. You might discover you need a dedicated section to keep a task list, or a place to keep notes you need for a later date.