1. I generally put recurring dates in my planner in the monthly layouts as soon as I get the planner. These "recurring dates" include (but are not limited to): birthdays, anniversaries, pay days, etc. Other important dates I include in my weekly view are: weddings, days off work, Saturday work days, weekends my stepson visits, J's retreats/conferences for work, my conferences. I try to keep my monthly layouts a simple as possible so that I don't go cross-eyed trying to figure out what date something is happening on when I transfer it to the weekly views. It's not a perfect method, and some things do get missed. However, I have gotten used to my system and very few items are missed or skipped (actually, none recently!).
2. I start out by putting important dates for that week on a sticky note. I add to it as I get closer to the week, as my work schedule is given to me, or as events/trips/etc. are brought to my attention. I received these cute little iPhone sticky notes as a gift, but I believe someone said she was able to find them at Walmart.
3. I then start by adding stickers for work days off, Saturday work days, birthdays, etc. I generally put these at the top of the column for that day (yes, it does cover the "morning" label). You can see below where I have already added in my "Day Off Work" and "Saturday Work Day" stickers at the top of the applicable day. I generally place my Pay Day stickers over the night section on Pay Day to allow myself room for a checklist of where money needs to go: bills, loan payment, savings, etc.
SIDEBAR: Several people have asked me "How do you determine what you use a sticker for and what you just write in?" I've come up with a "sort-of system," meaning that I sort-of have a system and I sort of do whatever I feel like. I've ordered custom stickers from EC for things that occur regularly for me: my stepson's visits, Bible study, Delivery Days, Errands to Run, Conferences, J on Retreats. Obviously, when those events occur, I already have stickers for said occasion, and I can just utilized those. Now, for events like weddings, parties, showers, etc., I use EC's pre-printed stickers. Important events/things I don't want to miss or forget, I add in on a sticker, so that it stands out more from other things on my to do list (ex: applying/getting a marriage license). Also, for things that I want to do/make sure I don't forget that I have a fun applicable washi tape, I use stickers and my coordinating washi tape (Ex: mani/pedi and Finalizing my honeymoon Itinerary!). Most of the more everyday life kind of things, I just write in with little check boxes beside them - we'll get there, I promise!
4. Add in events that will occur over several days. For me, this is marked off with washi tape and a sticker/label. This includes when J travels for conferences or retreats, when we are out of town, or when we have my stepson for several days. Generally, it looks something like this:
5. I then add in my work schedule, using washi tape to cover the "morning" and "day" labels to write down where I'll be each morning and afternoon for work, since it varies daily, weekly. Once that is done, I figure out what stickers/washi tape I have that correspond to what I need to do that week. If I have corresponding washi, I use a label sticker. If I have a sticker for it, I hand write it in. Other, more day-to-day to-do lists are just hand written in. I then decorate with fun stickers: fruits, whales, hearts, etc.
The best advice I can give you is to have fun with it! Play around and figure out what system works best for you. Just because it makes my life easier doesn't mean that it will work best for you! Enjoy decorating and figuring out your own system! :)