Future Planning | Giftie Etcetera: Future Planning

Friday, December 27, 2013

Future Planning

A paper planner is not just about the future. It is also about the past. Planners write things down both to plan for what is to come and to document what has already happened. 

Think about your planner. Your monthly and weekly sections mostly plan the future, but they also create a record of when you sent out the mortgage check. You probably have a notes section that lists your current medications and a project page for a party that is next month. By their very natures, paper planners are a genius interplay of the past, present, and future.

I used to put a year's worth of dated pages in my planner. But the realization that planning is not just about the future freed me to take some of my daily or weekly sheets out of my planner and carry a lighter load. You see, if my planner was also about the past, I needed a designated archive space in my house. And once there was a home for archived pages, there was room right next to it for future dated pages.

This change left me with a problem, of course, in that I needed to write down upcoming events beyond next month. But a Future Planning page solved that problem. And such a page might be enough for most people.

However, since I only keep three months of dated pages in my planner (last month, this month, and next month), I needed more room for future planning.

I created a section, right behind my dated pages, for Future Planning. 

I find about three months on one page is enough space.

Note the boxed upper right hand corner to make future pages easy to find, the two colors (one for drawing the template and my darker color for writing), and how simple I keep the writing (date and event only or a task indicator, like E for errands).

Many of the events are boxed (meaning that I need to recopy them every year, like a birthday) or circled (meaning they repeat on a different schedule than once a year, like inspecting my engagement ring twice a year).

Because there are so few events in each month that are scheduled this far in advance, I don't put the entries in any particular order.

For events happening a year out from now (it's almost 2014, so this means events occurring 2015 or beyond), I use a simple list. Again, it's in no particular order.

Consider creating a future section, whether one page long or three pages long, when setting up your planner for the new year. Three pieces of paper taking the place of an entire year's calendar is a very efficient use of planner space.



maccie2 said...

Great idea! I made future pages before I even finished reading this post. I've been looking at ways to save ring real estate in my personal Filo, so thanks--this is right on time.

RobbieKay said...

Do I see that you have a CRV? Our niece's husband has one and I got to drive it for about 10 miles the other week and that was enough for me to fall in love. As a matter of fact, I put on my master list to check what the prices are for a used one so I'll have an idea of what I need to save up for my next car.

And as much as I liked the post, I think what I will be stealing is Susan Mac's "ring real estate" phrase. (I already keep a page for future dates, just in a different format.) Thanks for another lovely read, Giftie!

Nicky Stade said...

I did that just yesterday! I realized my planner is just too bulky, but I had already trimmed everywhere I could without losing usefulness. So I took out 8 months worth of calendar pages, and on a plastic piece behind the pages I kept, I put 8 mini post-its for each of the missing months. I plan to just jot down important dates and then transfer them when I get home or when I put them in my planner or whatever.

yezenia said...

Nicky, that's also a great idea. Using the Post It's as place markers for the future months. Brilliant.
I think I'll be making a future planning insert. I used Avery monthlies and weeklies for a planner I made for my coworker and I liked their future planning set up, all twelve months on one landscape sheet, and I think the following twelve months were on the other side. So two years worth on only one sheet of paper.

pattygardner.com said...

My Franklin Covey monthly pages have a section on the back for that very purpose. Whenever I have something coming up, like schedule a dr. appointment, I just put it there. It works great.

But if I didn't have those, a system like you described would be a perfect option.

Lee said...

You know what I like about you? You dont rush out and buy new inserts or search for perfect printables. You just use ordinary paper to make something perfectly functional

Giftie Etcetera said...

Lee - I try! If I find the perfect insert, great. But I am impatient and picky, so I often do my own thing. I'm not very artsy, either, which means that if I can do it, most anyone can.