Planner Fail - The Shameful Move Back to a Compact Franklin Planner (With Pictures of My Planner) | Giftie Etcetera: Planner Fail - The Shameful Move Back to a Compact Franklin Planner (With Pictures of My Planner)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Planner Fail - The Shameful Move Back to a Compact Franklin Planner (With Pictures of My Planner)

I haven't blogged in a month.  I haven't had time.  I had road trips, volunteering, committee meetings, birthday parties, and everything else to deal with while I struggled with a massive case of planner fail.  Thud.  My planner just did not work anymore. Already.  In April!  Do you know how hard it is to get a new planner in April?  Just call me April Fool!

I gave up my ring bound Classic-sized (half sheet of letter paper) Franklin Planner a while back because it is way too heavy to lug around.  Instead, as I blogged about previously, I started the year with a wire bound planner.  Much lighter, but with no place to put my stuff.  So I expanded to two planners - one with the calendar/tasks and one for the stuff.  It got old, especially when I was carrying it all on my weekends out of town for the past two weeks.

I am on a budget, so I searched through my home planner collection, and found this little undated weekly gem (pictured on a normal size placemat for sizing perspective), a Franklin 365 compact (about 4.25 x 6.75 inch paper) with 1" rings, purchased from Target about three years ago.

As you might be able to see, it is black but has a textured cover with little modernist clocks that make my inner planner goddess leap for joy (I see you snickering over what makes my inner goddess leap), and a large, magnetic clasp.  All together, it's almost exactly the same size as my two hands.  

I wondered to myself (something very unlike talking to oneself, which is a sure sign of crazy) why I didn't use this planner before.  And then I remembered.  (Actually, I dug further into the pretty chest that holds archived planners in my bedroom and found the evidence.  I am far too old to remember anything.)  When I bought it, I had dated weekly pages and the extra undated refills (that I am now using).  I was working as an executive staff member and attorney in state government, with at least four or five meetings many days.  I really needed a daily planner, so I experienced planner fail.  It was way too small.  At the time, I also carried a leather briefcase-type tote each day, with room for a bigger, heavier planner.

Now, though, I rarely have more than three timed appointments.  Many of my tasks are weekly or monthly tasks, rather than day-specific tasks.  Smaller weekly spaces work for me, as long as timed appointments go on my monthly pages.  And boom - the perfect new planner (with ONLY 5 hours of filling in dates for the year and recopying from my old planner shushthatwastimewellspent).  It will work for tracking carpool (which switches from morning to afternoon depending on husband's work schedule), substitute teaching, volunteering at the kids' school, and serving as an officer of my school's alumni association.  And since I carry just a purse, I needed something that fit in the purse.

So, with further ado, the tour of my planner...

The inside front pocket serves both as the in-box (see the sticky note to add money to my godchild's Easter basket?) and the storage for temporary papers (such as invitations, the list of the library items I have checked out since books are all in one place but DVDs are all over the house, and a jotted note for a meeting in a week or so).  The temporarily stored papers are currently clipped in April and May binder clips.  Note that an appointment or task associated with each piece of paper is written somewhere in my planner.

Next is the clear page protector.  When I make custom pages, I use this to cut them out and hole punch them, so that I don't need a special hole punch.

You can see the monthly tabs, with weekly sheets behind them.  

I plan all timed events on the monthly pages.  If I need to be there at 8 a.m., it goes on the monthly entry, and only on the monthly entry.  Some details that you may or may not be able to see:

*I plan my menu on the darker line right above the date, just for the week.

*I cross out things (lightly, so I can archive or look back if necessary).  That way, I don't miss anything!

*For truly daily stuff (like the kids going to school everyday), I only put DAYS OFF on my calendar.

*All day items that are day specific appointments, even if untimed, like babysitting my niece, go on this monthly calendar.

*Generally, I write morning stuff in the top of the square and afternoon stuff near the bottom.

*There is a "To Do" section.  If something, like the birthday party on the 7th, requires a task (in this case, bring a gift), I star it and write the date and item (7 - bring gift) on the "To Do" list.  However, things like buying and wrapping the gift go in the weekly parts of the planner.

*There is a "Note" section.  I treat it just like the "To Do" section, but just for fyi stuff, like the address of the party.  The "To Do" and "Notes" sections are how I manage to fit everything on the monthly calendar.

*I circle things that repeat, like Mass (every Sunday) or CP (every school day), so that I remember to recopy them.

The weekly portion of the planner is the most important. The details:

*Just like on the monthly planner pages, I cross out things, use day specific tasks, write morning stuff in the top of the square and afternoon stuff near the bottom, and circle things that repeat (like Groc, repeating every week).

*There are three sections.  Under the date to the left, I write things that are absolutely due, like returning library books or paying the mortgage (for example, "DUE 04/30: Mtg" will be written on 04/29, a day in advance to give me time to actually pay the bill).  In the middle, I put should do items for today.  This includes taking out the trash on Tuesdays or going to the bank.  On the right, I write items that are waiting on another action or someone else (with the @ symbol before them), fyi stuff, or things that I want to do, but might not.  Blogging, for example, would go here, because I want to post this today, but the world won't end if I don't.

*I use context codes next to tasks: H = home, C = computer, and E = errand.

*I use the 8th square (bottom right) for items that just need to be done sometime this week.

*If something is important, like filing taxes, I note the date that it was completed when I scratch through it.  That has saved me from searching for records many times!


Behind each month, I have my monthly task list and my goals (with a month of check boxes) and chore lists.

And behind that, I track our monthly spending and keep receipts until I can file them at home.  (Yes, that is just a hole-punched envelope.)

Future planning pages are underused and so important!  I write anything coming up next year - birthdays, car inspections, taxes.  As I do whatever annual task or appointment, I move it to the future planner.

I removed all but four of the address tabs (leaving AB, GH, MN, and ST) to save space.  Addresses and phone numbers are kept on my smart phone. If any information needs to be stored long-term in my planner (but not filed at home), it goes here in ABC order.  (For example, behind GH and under K, my kid's karate schedule.  The details of what they are learning are a great resource if we miss a class.)  When I start using this part (another reason I went back to a ring bound planner is because I like this part so much and you can't do this with wire bound planners), I will put an index page on the front of the section.

Three tabs come with this planner.

Tasks - Will be used for a running list of tasks that are not month, week, or day specific.  A lot of these are long-term household projects.

Personal - Since it starts with a P, I actually use it for Project pages (explained below).

Notes - I will use the Notes section for storing meeting notes that have not been filed or processed.

A few words about projects...I keep an index of Projects, followed by the projects themselves.  As you can see, Easter is completed and scratched out on the Index.  That list included a packing list for our Easter trip out of town, a list of gift baskets to deliver, reminders to do an egg hunt, etc.  I am currently working on SSW (an event that I co-chair, a volunteer weekend fixing up a school) and am secretary of my alumni association.  Since those are ongoing projects, they have their own pages.
Two things from projects do go in my main calendar.  If the didn't do that, I would not have a prompt to remind me to work on the projects.  First, appointments go in the calendar.  I list them like this - P2 SSW (because it's on page 2 of the Project index).  Second, the NEXT task coming up is listed the same way (for example, "P2 SSW - make agenda").  Once done, when I scratch through it, I will check the Project page for the next task.

My favorite part of a ring binder?  A place to hold my stamps and address labels, a sticky notepad, and TWO ink pens.  I use the black pen for dating the undated planner and for filling out formal paperwork.  I love to write in green, so I use that to actually write in my planner.  It's a softer color, so while it shows up well, it doesn't bleed through like purple or blue (my other go-to colors) might.



Kimmie said...

I have a classic franklin planner. I like it but hate my calendar pages. Lines are too small. Boxes are too boxie. I need to figure something out before I scrap the whole planner. That would make me sad.

Amy said...

TFS! I really like the way you track your monthly goals and chores, I may try that.

Giftie Etcetera said...

I like it, too, when I use it. I'm really bad about NOT using it!

GoneToCarolina said...

Thank you for the tour of your planner. It is great to see how a work-outside-the-home professional uses hers. I also WOTH and juggle mine, my husband's and 4 kids' schedules. How do we do it all? I want a planner that is simple to use but effective and yes, the girl in me wants it to be pretty. I got some great ideas from yours! Thanks!