Keeping Monthly Planner Pages Sacred | Giftie Etcetera: Keeping Monthly Planner Pages Sacred

Monday, October 7, 2013

Keeping Monthly Planner Pages Sacred

Planners need to reflect your real life in order to do their very best work for you.

For a long time, I thought that meant that EVERYTHING had to fit on the same daily or weekly pages. After all, appointments and tasks and everything else all happen in a mixed up muddle. Oh, there were advantages. I could see that I needed to be at an appointment at 3 p.m. while doing my errands at 1 p.m. and typing my blog sometime during the day.

But I was clearly wrong. In real life, you need to be where you need to be when you need to be there. Then, you need to plan everything else around your schedule.
Since the beginning of planners, there have been schedules and to do lists. Those two important lists make up the meat of a planner. But they are different, in very fundamental ways.

Your schedule (and schedule might not even be the right word, as supper is on our schedule every night, but I don't write it down) tells you where you have to be and when you have to be there. I actually call mine my calendar and dedicate only monthly pages for this purpose.

Everything else - due dates for assignments and bills, notes to yourself to get the car inspections, and reminders to get your flu shot - goes elsewhere. Mostly, they are tasks that go on to do list. In some cases, they are more notes to yourself. But they are not part of your schedule - unless they must be done at a certain time and only at that time - so they should not go on the part of your planner reserved as a calendar.

The key advantage of keeping your calendar sacred from everything else is that you stop missing so many appointments, even if The Loki happens.

Exception: If your particular schedule is very demanding (as mine was when I was running my law firm, seeing five or six clients a day along with other meetings and court dates), you might need a weekly calendar dedicated to dates and times. Just use two weeklies - one for dates and times and the other to plan your life.

That's it. The advantage is just that you show up where you are supposed to, when you are supposed to show up. But that, my Loyal Readers, is enough.


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Laurie said...

I actually disagree. After years and years trying to keep my tasks together separate from my schedule and wondering why it didn't work, I finally discovered that I have to have to use a week + notes format with my weekly lists on my weekly pages, so I can see what I need to do and when I have time to do it. I never write tasks on a non-date-specific list. I either write it on my weekly page when it needs to get done, or on my monthly page if it only needs done sometime that month. This method is the only way that works for me, after trying many many (many!) methods.

Just further proof that everyone works differently. :)

Robbie said...

I actually prefer everything on one monthly calender so I can look at it and have an overview of my month and use the weekly pages for more detailed information.

Giftie Etcetera said...

I love the comments! See, that's why my most basic rule of planning is that you have to do what works for YOU! :)

maccie2 said...

I agree with you--my monthly calendar holds only the things written in stone. It lives behind my mo2p calendar- and that is where my daily activities go, plus reminders, things transferred from my various lists, etc. This really works for me said...

I keep my appointments and birthdays and anniversaries on my monthly calendar. Everything else goes on my daily pages. The only exception is something really important that I need to remember but otherwise just appointments. After the day has passed, I sometimes add notes I want to remember. But the details are on the daily page.

Julie said...

I've just started reading a lot of your posts about planning and I try to follow David Allen's GTD but not in everything. You have a hilarous sense of humour and awesome planner tips.

Right now I'm working full time, have a teenager and a husband and am also preparing for PhD which starts in about 3-4 months so I don't think I'll be able to keep all the appointments just in the MO2P. I read your suggestion about having two x WO2P but instead I put appointments on the WO2P, actions on separate sheets regarding different areas of my life, project details in another area and files by itself. This works OK so far.

Should I write all holidays, birthdays, trips on the MO2P and repeat that for the corresponding week? Or just write on the MO2P? I like the overview of where I am and which major things come up in the family's life (stuff for my son's school, when my husband is on a conference, family staying with us etc.).

Giftie Etcetera said...


I don't repeat. I write everything in one place or the other. Otherwise, I end up all mixed up and skipping stuff.