The Proper Order of Things in a Paper Planner | Giftie Etcetera: The Proper Order of Things in a Paper Planner

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Proper Order of Things in a Paper Planner

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Even though I keep staring at it intently and exclaiming, "Plannerist Upgrado!" while flashing my green quick-dry Pilot G2 Gel Ink Pen (because I'm a leftie, so quick dry ink is important) in the direction of my planner, my FranklinCovey Compact 365 Planner has not magically turned into a soft, buttery leather Filofax.

All those hours of yearning over the Filofax USA site are for naught, as I cannot afford to buy a Filofax without first putting it in my hands and feeling it.  My OCD won't let me. Hanging out with the Philofaxy people online is not helping matters. Visiting the only store in town that sells them and discovering only one ugly, shiny red plastic planner certainly was not satisfying.

In my dreams, the buttery leather planner, in the perfect color (whatever that is...whole 'nother post), fits everything I put in my cheap little planner now. My pesky big brain keeps pointing out that I like Franklin Covey layouts and their paper usually too wide for my dream Filos. Sigh. When I win the lotto, I am flying to a shop that sells nothing but paper planners and hand picking the right one.

In the meantime, reality happens. So I have to make the planner that I already own work. 

clear plastic divider, paper, planner, dividers

I think I am succeeding, too, as I have used the same planner since...wait for it...April 1st. That is a month and a half! (Shush. You know planner fail usually happens at the end of the first month of use.)

Without further lusting over what can never be, here are my tweaks:

Notepaper is the first thing in the planner.  

I actually don't like this particular style of notepaper, so I am considering making my own or splurging on some creamy Filofax paper paper next time, but it does its job. In a rush, I can open straight to notepaper. In this case, it holds my packing list for an upcoming weekend trip. (Note the clever use of "top under" and "bottom under." No one will ever guess that those secret phrases refer to my underthings. Stealth and intrigue, I tell you.)

packing list, dashboard, planner dashboard, paper, planner, ring bound planner, tabs, Franklin Covey, Filofax, Philofaxy,

Tasks go in the front, too.  

I actually rarely use my master task list, but it's a great catch-all for unimportant or "maybe" tasks. I rarely look at it, since more important tasks are assigned to a monthly or weekly task list or written on a certain day. Right now, all it says is "edit novel." Note that no editing has been done on novel since I wrote the romantic story of small town love last November.

paper, planner, ring bound planner, tabs, Franklin Covey, Filofax, Philofaxy,

P is for Personal. And Projects. I really should customize this tab to say "Projects."  

Projects go right after the master task list. 

Projects are listed on an index and then noted, on the corresponding date that the first task in the project must be done, on the weekly part of my planner.

paper, planner, ring bound planner, tabs, Franklin Covey, Filofax, Philofaxy, dashboard, projects, tasks,

The reason that all of this goes in the front of the planner is two-fold. First, these are things that I refer to a lot. Second, putting some of this stuff in the front and some in the back means that whatever date it is, January 1st or July 5th or December 10th, there is plenty of cushion on both sides of my weekly lists so that the paper that I write on most, the weekly pages, is sturdy and protected.

I use clear page markers. Before, I didn't mark monthly pages with a Today marker. But I found that I often forget which month it actually is. (See above, putting underthings on packing list.  Also see, having babies made me dumb.)  

Putting a clear marker to mark the monthly pages means I always know when and where I need to be. 

(If the marker is not transparent, you can't see everything. I hate that.  Why have two pages if I can't look at them all at once?)

paper, planner, ring bound planner, tabs, Franklin Covey, Filofax, Philofaxy, dashboard, projects, tasks,

I really love using a huge, transparent page divider (the same one I use as a hole-punch template) to divide my weekly pages.

Why this and not a normal today marker? I don't use daily pages. So if a day gets really crazy, I can whip out a sticky note, put it on the divider, and add extra stuff. This doesn't happen often, but on the first day of school, when I need to remember backpacks, water bottles, school supplies, carpool rules and times and id numbers, the new schedule, etc., that sticky note is a life saver.

paper, planner, ring bound planner, tabs, Franklin Covey, Filofax, Philofaxy, dashboard, projects, tasks,

Finally, the Notes section cushions the back of the planner.  

I use an index page and the A/B, G/H, M/N, and S/T dividers to keep track of on-the-go information, like names and numbers of babysitters, a list of the medications that I take daily, and ideas for my next novel (after I edit this one...sigh).

paper, planner, ring bound planner, tabs, Franklin Covey, Filofax, Philofaxy, dashboard, projects, tasks,

All I did, really, was change the order of things, but I think this will get me through the hard times, at least until I win that lottery.


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Anonymous said...

Don't long too much for filofax. The leather is pretty, but it's REALLY THIN and wears away easily. Many have ring issues. Some have color that rubs right off. I understand vintage filos were better. Better to upgrade to a leather Franklin Covey. I have even vinyl binder from FC that are upward of 25 years old and still look barely "broken in".

Giftie Etcetera said...

Honestly, that has been my hesitation. But the Franklin planners are so boring. I like the Boston, but need to see it in person first!

Unknown said...

The Franklin planners ARE so boring! In fact, the company sent me a "please come back" email and discount, and I wrote to their customer service department sharing that I would love to "come back", but I can't find a planner worth coming back for. I used that exact word - boring - and encouraged them to liven things up a bit. Several years ago, I bought a gorgeous, pearly lavender leather binder that I loved. It was the last one I ever saw on their site that had anything special about it. Maybe you should write them, too!

Giftie Etcetera said...

I should! Maybe I'll do a blog post about it. Why can't planners be in pretty colors and work well? Is it too much? And I love the size (ring size and overall size) of my 365 (it's a fat compact), but it's cheap and won't last forever. It's black (yawn) but at least textured.

Songbird said...

FC has a couple cute new 365 binders right now, one in multicolored polka dots and the other in a swirly black & white design. Also, eBay often has cuter ones available.
I'm using Filofax right now, but I love the wider pages of the FC compact. I have the 365 binder in Morocco Black that I got from eBay. :-)

Anonymous said...

Great minds think alike! Well, you and I think alike... The first item on the rings of my planner is my Dashboard, which folds over on itself. That is where my "Notes" pages are. The next divider is laminated, so I can use it for sticky notes. My next section is my tabbed MOWP calendar. The second page is loose, so my weekly and daily forms are behind that second page. What I need to see most often is at the front of the planner -- exactly where it should be.

Dianne in the desert