25 Ideas for What to Track in a Paper Planner for a Successful Year


Paper planners are great for tracking more than just appointments. There are so many great options for what you can track in a paper planner to make your year more successful and happy.

Planners also provide one spot to log everything. This way you can easily look back over the year to see trends, successes, failures, and room for improvement in your life.

Listed below are 25 practical ideas for what you can track in a paper planner.

1 Weight loss

Track your weight loss on the monthly calendar spread or on the lined paper. Some planners come with additional lined paper that you can make into anything you want to track. Get creative and make it appealing to look at, so that you are more likely to use it.

If you want to lose 20 lbs by the end of the year, make sure to put the goal weight and the date that you want to achieve that goal. 

The picture below is an example that I created in the Erin Condren LifePlanner™. I made a weight loss sticker for the top of the page. Then used hexagon stickers that came with the planner. This provides a visual space to write in the weight lost each month.

Weight loss tracker in paper planner

Another cute option would be to use the rectangular stickers that can be used on the monthly calendars. You can write your weekly or monthly weigh-ins on those.

2 Exercise routines

You can use the additional lined paper to track your exercise schedule for the week or the month. Check off what exercises you have done as you complete them.

If you have an arm day, leg day or full body, track those on the monthly calendar with a cute sticker. Or just write in what you completed.

3 Water intake

The general recommendation is that everybody should drink 8 glasses (8 ounces each) of water per day.

However, Mayo Clinic cited the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine who said that women should generally get “11.5 cups a day” and men should get “15.5 cups a day”.

Use this as a gauge for how much water you should be tracking each day.

Many planners have daily pages with a section to color in water droplets as you drink water throughout the day. If your planner doesn’t have this, just create your own and color them in.

If you manage to drink more water than the recommended amount, make a note of that!

what to track in a paper planner

4 Budget

Create a monthly budget for you and/or your family so that you don’t overspend. This should include any bills that you are expecting, but also a best guess for what additional spending may happen throughout the month.

The additional lined paper in your planner is a great spot to create a budget. Make sure to include your budgeted amount and then a column for what you actually spent. You will quickly be able to see the trend of whether you are overspending or if you have money remaining.

Modify the budget accordingly for future months.

5 Expenses

Determine the expenses that you incur every single month so that you can keep track of them. Your budget page is a great spot to put the expenses that happen every single month.

Track any additional expenses on your monthly calendar pages and then add them up at the end of the month to figure out where the extra money was spent.

6 Savings

This can be determined by taking what you budgeted for the month and taking away what you actually spent. Since this was all tracked, it should be quick to determine this number. You can then mark how much you were able to save for the month.

Make sure to plan for what you want to do with your savings. Are you setting aside for retirement or a vacation or maybe for your kids to go to University?

7 Bills Due

Mark any bills due on the calendar pages so that you have everything in one quick spot to view.

Using colourful stickers or pens help it pop off the page so you can easily see that a bill is due. Don’t get caught with late fees or even worse.

Read more about the pros and cons of using a paper planner here.

8 Moods

Tracking your moods can be really beneficial for seeing patterns. Moods can fluctuate based on the weather, the time of the year, what is happening in your life at the time, periods, and much more.

If you frequently have low moments, this can help determine what is triggering that. Or maybe you have some really high moments, and this can help you see the trend of what caused those moments. This will help you create more of those moments.

Sometimes we go through life just assuming everything is happening as it should, but being able to track little pieces of our lives can help see patterns and where things can be improved that we would have otherwise missed.

9 Periods

Women should always keep track of the day their period starts so that they know roughly when to expect the next one.

Keeping track of more than just the date can be really beneficial as well.

It’s important to note whether your period flow was heavy or light, any symptoms that you had such as cramps or headache, and how long the period lasted. This will help you notice any changes that could signal a problem.

10 Brain dump

Having 1-2 pages in your planner dedicated to just dumping all of your thoughts onto is really beneficial.

You will be more likely to remember everything you want to complete if you write it down. It can also help with stress levels because you don’t have to try to remember everything on the spot.

Make sure to check off tasks as you complete them and include the date completed.

11 Exams, assignments, due dates for school

Planners are essential for keeping track of every class and what is due in school. Use the calendar pages with coloured dots to track which class you have and at what time.

Assignments and exams can be tracked on the weekly pages, where you can write more detail.

I would recommend getting a planner specifically made for school tracking or a daily planner that breaks out the day into hours for more detailed class schedules.

12 Tracking Medicine Taken Daily

Create a table in your planner to write down all of the medicine that you take, the date that you started taking it, and the dosage.

Also include an area that you can track any changes in the amount or type of medication.

It is important to keep track of these changes, so that if there are any health issues, it may be linked back to a change in medication.

13 Birthdays of Friends and Family Members

Use the monthly calendar pages to write birthdays on the correct date, so that when you are flipping through your calendar pages, you will not miss an important birthday.

I would also suggest using a lined page at the back of the planner to make a page with all important birthdays listed. This page can be added to and can then be transferred into future planners, so that you always have the dates ready to write on your calendar pages.

14 Vacation Ideas

Create a space in your planner to list out vacation ideas. This should be a page that you are comfortable tearing out to move into any future planner.

Otherwise, just copy the information into your planner next year and following years.

These ideas should be places that you and your family want to go within your lifetime and would be a dream to visit. This will give you something to work towards and specifically save money for. Remember to include this in your budget and savings sheet!

15 Books to read

Creating a list of books that you want to read or even read again will help you remember what you have heard about and would like to read that year.

It’s easy to hear about a great book and think you’ll remember the name, but then completely forget. So write it down as soon as you can!

The Erin Condren LifePlanner™ provides so much extra lined paper at the back of the planner, that there is plenty of space to get creative and keep track of the movies for the entire year.

The picture below is what I have in my planner. I created numbered stickers and header stickers to make it more visually appealing.

tracking books to read & movies to watch

16 Movies to watch

Creating a spot in your planner where you can add movies you would like to see that year will make sure that you don’t forget any amazing movies that you have been wanting to see.

17 Cleaning tasks

This should include both your daily/weekly cleaning tasks but also keep track of tasks that aren’t done as frequently. Things like cleaning out the ductwork, changing out the furnace filter, etc., don’t happen as often. So it’s important to track exactly when it was last completed.

If the next task won’t be done until the next year, make sure to transfer that data into your planner for the next year.

For regular cleaning tasks, create either a schedule or just a cleaning list for all tasks that should be done on a weekly basis and put that on a blank page in your planner. Then you can check off what you have completed each day and know exactly what is left to do.

Tracking how long it takes to complete each task and writing that time next to the task can help you plan out your day better. Often cleaning tasks seem like they are taking along time because they are not fun, but they likely didn’t take as long as you think.

18 Countdowns

This could be a countdown to your wedding, the birth of your baby, moving day, starting a new job, Christmas. Any big events that are important and exciting are worth creating a countdown for. 

Countdowns are something exciting to view each day and are a visual to see how much closer you are getting to that event.

19 Bucket list

A bucket list should be created for things that you want to complete throughout your entire life.

Choose a few things each year that you will actually do and check off when you do them. Make sure to write the date that you completed the activity!

I created some stickers to put into my Erin Condren LifePlanner™ for writing down my bucket list ideas, as shown below.

bucket list tracker

You can also have seasonal bucket lists, or Christmas bucket lists, or even vacation bucket lists. 

Think of all of the summer specific activities you could plan to complete!

A vacation bucket list would be fun to go to the location with a plan of everything you want to see and do and then try to complete as many of those activities as you can.

20 Goals for the week, month, year

Weight loss was already mentioned but other goals could be saving for retirement, saving for a house, losing 5 lbs this month, completing a presentation this week.

Goals can be big or small, but writing them down will give you more motivation to complete the goals by the day that you have assigned them by.

21 Tasks specifically related to your kids

This could be when they lose teeth and which tooth was lost, when they had haircuts, when and what vaccinations they have had, important school dates.

This is not including regular tasks that would just be tracked on a calendar. It should be tasks that aren’t completed as often or that may be beneficial to remember in the future.

22 Gift tracker

I like to use a gift tracker for my kids. This includes a section to write what they have asked for throughout the year, so that I don’t have to worry last minute what they want for their birthday, or Christmas.

Having everything written down gives me time to check the prices and look for sales or coupons. 

Create a section that lists the item, the regular price, any sale price that you find with the sale end date, coupon codes and their expiry dates.

This will also help you to see patterns of when sales often happen on those types of items. Making it more likely to find sales in the future without as much thought.

23 The weather

This may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but sometimes it is nice to be able to look back and see what the weather was like last summer or even last month.

It makes it easy to track changes in the weather and compare different periods.

It can also be helpful to track weather because weather changes can affect your mood or give you headaches. It’s much easier to see if this is happening if you have all of this data in your planner.

24 To-do lists

Flip to the daily planner sheets to fill out a to-do list for the day. Being able to check off tasks as you complete them is so rewarding and makes it more likely that you will keep going.

Write anything big or small on your to-do list. Completing a bunch of small tasks can still lead to a lot of progress when all put together and then you get the satisfaction of checking off many tasks from your list!

Stickers give more color and life to the planner and can be used to create your tasks and check off when the tasks are complete.

daily tracking

25 Appointments

And finally, yes, you should still track appointments. A planner is a great place to track appointments because it puts everything in one compact space and you can quickly flip through to see what you have for the day, week and month.

This makes it less likely that you will double book your time and cause extra stress in your life.

For a more detailed review of the 2021 Erin Condren LifePlanner, you can view my review post here. I also have a post that gives 11 reasons why the Erin Condren planners are worth the money.

Made a mistake in your planner? I have a post that provides 11 ideas for covering up mistakes in your planner in a beautiful way.

If you are interested in purchasing an Erin Condren planner, you can use my code here to get $10 off your first order.

In Summary

Paper planners are amazing for tracking not only your appointments, meetings, and to-do lists. There are so many options for what you can track in a paper planner. Being able to put everything in one spot will ease stress, make your year more successful, and help you accomplish so many more goals.

Get creative and make your paper planner a space that you enjoy looking at daily. Have fun!

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