A Peek at My Planner in Action | Giftie Etcetera: A Peek at My Planner in Action

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Peek at My Planner in Action

I've been talking about my planner on the blog a lot, so I wanted to give you a peek at it in action.  Of course, January hasn't really started yet, and let me promise you that by the end of the week, this week's entry (starts tomorrow, officially) will be jam packed with writing.  But I hope this gives you some tips on using your own planning in an organized way.

First, a review.  My planner is a half size bound weekly/monthly Greenroom planner from Target.  It does not come with a cover, but I like one, to protect it from, well, everything, so I bought a cheap planner that came with a cover, removed the cover, and am using it for my FAR SUPERIOR planner.  I wish I could find a pretty color cover like this, but all the right sized ones came in black or red.  :(

It has room for a thin Moleskine, sticky notes, and my planner...

...plus my G2 .7 Pilot Pen (currently in black).

A picture of the tabs....

In addition to the pages that this blog will focus on (the ones that I use regularly), I have some other useful stuff tucked in the planner.

The first is a sample page from my Moleskine.  Anything I want to remember, journal, think out, or keep track of goes in the Moleskine.  The most important item on the page (in this case, steps to take immediately if I get a new job, like arranging child care, go in the corner box on top).  My index, on the inside cover of the Moleskine, tells me what page each thing is on.

I literally just keep this as a running journal.  I set out reminders of my morning and afternoon routine (which I refresh myself with after Christmas breaks from school ;) ) on this page, as well as the words to a prayer that I found particularly wise and wanted to remember.  Having this stuff in my Moleskine, a dedicated place, keeps it from cluttering my planner, which is really just for action items.

In the planner itself, I do keep a one page list of things that are happening AFTER 2013.  You should do this.  That way, when you see the dentist in September, you can make a note six months later to get a followup, even if you don't have your 2014 planner yet.

There are three pages each month that get serious use.  I mark those pages with a paper clip.  The pages are:

1. The monthly calendar

2. The monthly task pages

3. The weekly pages.

The monthly pages are used for any timed events and my weekly menu (since timed events tend to dictate the weekly menu).

If something is circled, it repeats again the next week.  I write it out two weeks in advance, on the Sunday before.  It's a scheduled weekly review of my planner.  Note the visual indication of the menu plan with little dashes on either side of the menu item.  (I am very flexible.  If I don't know what to cook, I use the menu.  But if I am craving chicken, I simply swap with another day.  I always try to use what is already in the fridge or freezer or what is on sale.)  Also, in the notes, you will see the number of school days this month.  That's because I have to write the check for lunches for the month.

My FAVORITE aspect of the Greenroom planner is the two page spread after the monthly spread.  I use it for nonweek specific tasks and goal-reaching.

The first page is my running task list, including any month specific tasks.  The second page is a checker board page.  I'll show you how I use that treasure in a minute.

First, the task list.  I've explained this system before, but not with pictures.

A star means this item is on a deadline and MUST be done in January, by the due date.  No star means it can carry over to next month, if necessary.  I am stingy with stars.  These are the things that, should I end up in the hospital, I'd need my husband or someone else to take care of.  For example, in the entry below, if I don't sign up or decline Express Scripts, thousands of dollars of meds won't be paid for by my insurance.

Each entry gets a date (if due in January) or an arrow (if it can move to February).  I used to not put the arrow, but I needed something visual to mark each task.  If I copy a task over and over, month after month, I often just delete or delegate it.

Next, I start the task with an action verb, so I know WHAT to do.  Having that decision already made it important.

Finally, entries either get no code, or:

E = errands
H = home
C = computer.

That way, if I am stuck at the computer, I can get a bunch of stuff done at once.  If I am going on errands, I can grab whatever I need at home, all at once.

I save the top half of my checkerboard page for extra tasks (since my list tends to go over one page, just barely).  But then, I put certain things on the bottom half of the checkered page.

In the left column, I have my Weekly Tasks, which, if I keep up with it, keeps my house clean.

To the right, I have three mini monthly calendars (undated).  I track such things as whether I did a 15 minute quick clean each day and my weekly task for the day, how many calories above or below my daily goal that I consumed, and whether I worked out.  It's not about goal setting (which I would use my Moleskine for), but about goal reaching!

Finally, the Weekly portion of my planner (again, marked with a paper clip) is the most used and most important.  It is where I plan my day.  These entries look pretty empty, but each day, I jot everything that needs to be done.

In the notes area, I keep week specific (but not day specific) tasks in the left column.  Generally, something either just needs to be done during the month (and goes on monthly list) or on a specific day.  But if it is just something that much be done this week, it goes on this short list.  To the right, I keep the grocery list.  I have a separate grocery list and coupon planner, but this is just for items that come up during the week.  My planner is ALWAYS with me, while my coupon planner is only with me when preparing for grocery shopping.

Note that even on the weekly entries, I have some organization.  Specifically, DUE items go in the first column (for example, library books), stuff I need to do go in the middle, and stuff I am waiting on from other or just need to know (like hubby is taking eldest to karate class at 6:30) go in the last column.

Hope you learned something and that you will share your tips with me in the comments.



Lynn said...

You know I had steered away from the spiral bound planners because you couldn't add extra things in like you can with 3 ring ones, but I like your idea of putting the spiral one into another cover. For now I just have to get into the habit of using a planner every day and figuring out what works for me, but I will keep this in mind!

RobbieKay said...

I've been working my way through your blog, mostly on my Kindle where it is not only a pain to comment, but the one time I tried to it looked like it lost the comment.

Anyway, I realize this planner ended up not working out for you, but I am still impressed with how you were able to "containerize" everything. DH and I are in a similar situation--the calenders we like are spiral bound with no area for even tasks or other extras, so we have what we call "planner suites"--our calendar and then our notebook. I had looked around our office supplies for an old portfolio of some sort in hopes of being able to hold the two together, but no luck.

Have you tried Book Darts? You may like them better than the plastic paper clips that you are using in a later post. They don't crinkle the paper the way the plastic paper clips do. If you're interested in giving them a try, I found the cheapest online prices by ordering directly from the company.

I'm actually pretty impressed with this Greenroom planner. Like you, those extra blank pages including a grid would appeal to me.

Giftie Etcetera said...

It really is a great planner. I wish it came in ring-bound! :)