I love color coding my planner – it makes the weekly spread nice and colorful and makes me more productive 🙂 If you want to try color coding your planner, here are some things to consider:
How many colors should you use?
I recommend no more than 5 colors, anymore than than and it’s get a bit much to try and coordinate especially if you’re using multiple types of planner supplies (e.g. stickers and pens).
If you have a lot going on you may need to use more than 5 colors. That’s totally ok to use use more colors, you may find later on you want to add more categories or combine some – there’s no ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ number of colors to use!
While most people color code by category, there are other ways to color code including:
- By Time
- Steps / workflow
- By person
WHICH COLORS SHOULD YOU USE?
Use colors that are readily available in the planner supplies you want to use. I prefer to use pens as my main planner supply when color coding. I also use planner stickers and sticky notes.
I tend to avoid colors like teal and red as they aren’t available in a lot of planner supplies (typically only pens).
If you’re just starting to color code your planner, go with cheaper color coding supplies to start with (i.e. pens!)
These are the colors I recommend you start with (in this order) if you want to color code your planner:
Most planner pen brands will always have a blue in the pack. The basic everyday pens such as PaperMate Kilometrico and other ballpoint pens that are cheap 99% of the time come in black and blue making them an affordable and readily available color
If you want to color code within the category e.g. using light green for social media and dark green for blog post planning, green is a good color to use as it tends to be in 2 shades in rainbow pen packs (blue also tends to come in light and dark blue colors as well)
Because it’s pretty ? and it also tends to be included in multi-colored pen packs and is a bright color that stands out on the page.
Tends to always look the same shade of orange no matter what pen brand you use
The shades of purple from light to dark vary more than the other colors in this list. So if you’re OCD about using the same/similar shade of purple then use purple as your 5th color.
The Papermate Inkjoy gel, in particular, writes in very dark ink even though the pen color is a medium purple (it’s the 6th pen from the left in the picture below).
You can use red but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are intending to color code ONLY using pen. I don’t color code in red pen (unless it’s an urgent task) because I color code with other planner supplies including sticky notes and highlighters which typically don’t come in red.
CHOOSING PENS FOR COLOR CODING
Things to keep in mind when choosing pens for color coding is:
- Make sure you choose pens that are readily available. I live in Australia and if you do to, it’s probably not a good idea to buy a pen and get addicted to it if it’s only sold overseas with shipping so expensive!
- Try cheaper pen brands first such as the Kmart pens, you may find those are sufficient for your needs and that you don’t need to buy expensive pens
- That being said, some of my favorite pens for color coding are the PaperMate Inkjoy Gel – they aren’t cheap but they write really well – if you’re going to be color coding all the time, you may want to splurge ?
The colors I use for color coding:
- Pink = blog posts about planning
- Blue = graphic design blog posts & video tutorials to record
- Green = blogging & online business blog posts
- Purple = social media & behind the scenes
- Orange = tasks relating to making products (free and paid)
Want more tips for color coding? See these posts:
- Planner Organization: How to color-code your planner (so you’ll actually use it effectively)
- Favorite color coding planner supplies for less than $5
- Ultimate list of the best planner pen brands and how to choose colors for color coding
- 50 Category Ideas for Color Coding Your Planner
- How to organize and color code your notes for school, college or university
- Color coded monthly meal planning using sticky notes
- 6 Ways to color code your planner to increase productivity
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