I think I love planning as much as I love lists. There’s something very gratifying about mapping out an event or project; breaking large ideas into smaller ones. The problem I often run into though, is that I like to plan more than execute. I’m working on reducing my planning and increasing my do-ing. It will be a lifetime pursuit.
I have been in search of the perfect planner my whole life. One that really acts like a personal assistant/coach/mom/best friend/mentor. I know, I have unrealistic expectations!! I’ve recently come to the conclusion that the “perfect” planner is the one you use. On that note, I’ve been experimenting the last couple of months with a handmade planner – one that meets my particular needs.
What I want in a planner (at the moment)
1. I want all the pertinent information for all aspects of my life in one place.
2. need to be able to add and subtract pages so I opted for a system using binder rings.
3. I want a size that can easily fit in my purse, but be large enough to see my handwriting.
4. I want tabbed sections (Tabs help me to feel organized. Weird, I know!)
5. I want pretty and I want paper!!! I’m more inspired by pretty stuff and as much as I love the digital age, I’m not ready to give up paper and pen just yet.
My Planner Assembly
For the outside of the planner, I found a recipe binder in the dollar bin at Joann’s and recycled it for parts. I cut the front and back sections off, covered them with pretty paper and punched holes for the binder rings. For the inside sections, I used the tabbed dividers that came with the recipe binder and my label maker to make the 8 sections. The sections are: Calendar, Daily, Personal, Projects, Project Life, Journal, WWMD Blog and Ideas.
Calendar: This is the monthly calendar section. I like to see a whole month at a time. It helps me not to overbook and subsequently not overtire myself. I designed the pages myself and use scrapbooking stickers and stamps to decorate. I also keep a pouch full of my favorite pens and pencils for highlighting.
Daily: This is where I break down each day’s events, appointments, todo’s and projects. Ihave symbols that I assign to each item and I try to keep my daily stuff to half a sheet. When I complete an item, I color in the symbol.
Here’s a list of the symbols –>
Personal: This is where I keep track of personal stuff. (I’d show you a picture, but it’s personal :-))
Projects: I’m constantly coming up with projects for all the areas of my life. I wanted a place to corral those ideas, so I dedicate a page to each major area. There’s “Home & Property”, “Backyard”, “Dogs”, “Craft Room”, “Friends” so far. If something requires more than 3 steps, I consider it a project and it gets a page.
Project Life: I keep a weekly album of our life called Project Life. The layout is the same every week, so I made a template of the layout and use it to jot down thoughts and ideas about our days. Then at the end of the week, I’m able to refer to my notes, grab the pictures and ephemera and finish the week. I record significant and not so significant events. In all this album documents the ‘every day’ of our life.
Journal: This is a section I thought I would use more, but it’s becoming a place holder for blank paper. The nice thing about the binder ring setup is that I can subtract the sections that aren’t working for me. It’s not that I don’t like journaling; I just prefer to journal in a journal. I might replace this section with “Quotes”.
wwmd blog: This section is devoted to this blog-While Walking My Dogs. Being that I’m not terribly consistent with my blogging , I thought it would be a good idea to develop a scheduling/idea catcher section for my planner. I have lots to share, I just need to be more organized about it.
Ideas: And this is for anything I’ve left out. It’s filled with blank paper with no lines, so I’m free to draw, sketch, write, whatever. It’s the place for the hair-brained ideas that aren’t project-worthy yet, but I don’t want to forget.
As you can see my planner is quite thick, but it contains everything I need (at least for today). As I said in the beginning, the perfect planner is the one you use and I’m using this and getting things done.
I’ve talked enough for today. I’ll follow up with Organizing and Projects in a couple of days.
What have you found that works for you???
“We like that you have ‘walk dogs’ in your planner. Like you would forget to do that???? You wouldn’t forget would you??? Better keep putting it in your planner – just in case.”
Hi Grace, love your blog! ..and love your planner. I am exactly the same way about my planners and tabs (and pens, crayons, colored pencils and markers). I buy probably 6 a year not including the ones for the boys, last couple of years a complete fail. I put together one at the beginning of the year similiar to yours~ an old photo album (I think I just liked the print:)…yours is way better!! My infatuation probably started about 20 years about with my Franklin Planner…still love it just is too big or some cases too small. still do my ABC’s and 123’s for things that need to get done!! Can’t wait to see more of your Fall blogs xoxoxbesos ~Kari Jo
Thanks so much for your kind words Kari. I’ve always loved planners and planning, but I totally agree with you – Franklin Planners are when I took it to a whole new level. I even went to their seminars and workshops! It was awesome. The thing I need to be better at now is execution. Sometimes the act of planning can somehow feel like I’ve already accomplished the task. But here’s to a new day!! I’m curious — why 6 planners a year???