I generally carry a stuffed planner in anticipation of it being able to handle or answer anything that I need at a moment’s notice. Currently, I’m using my Kate Spade Wellesley Zip planner in Deep Pink in personal size. In it’s current state, I can zip it with no problem. However, truth be told, it is the heaviest item in my bag.
I have pocket size planners (Coach and Filofax) however, I’m not interested in switching to a pocket at this time (maybe later). I need my personal that is already set up with useable inserts, dividers, etc. to work for me without any additional expense. I needed to make it lighter and easier to carry. I do not want to lug around a heavy bag all summer long and I decided to deconstruct and slim down what I carry in my personal Kate Spade zip planner.
I first emptied the contents of my binder. Starting over with a set-up is easiest this way because you are really forced to evaluate what’s necessary to carry with you and what can stay in a home binder (or storage).
Emptied and ready for a change
I then sketched out what I thought were the most important “everyday carry” sections and items that I needed.
I also decided what was not needed – what I did not need to carry with me most of the time. Some of these items are note cards, post-its/sticky notes/flags, a plastic divider pocket (a second one), and notes that can be stored away at home.
Didn’t make the cut
I then started to rebuild with items that I think I need to have with me on a regular basis. For the most part, I stuck with the plan sketched out on the above sticky note (with the exception of the hot pink journal, which is my food journal and I decided that I’d like to keep that with me throughout the day).
So now my planner is lighter to carry and streamlined. I have five sections:
- Franklin Covey Her Point of View monthly and weekly pages for May and June; and the Kate Spade monthly and weekly inserts for July – September (I use a note page for future planning for the rest of the year);
- To-do section, which contains my master task list and a work board;
- Notes section with note paper cut down from a Target Dollar Spot list pad, and some lined loose leaf paper from Office Depot;
- Exercise/wellness section, which includes a weight loss tracker, body measurements, and other trackers and lists; and
- Contacts in case of an emergency.
I also have the mini-food journal and a Moleskine expense tracker tucked in the back secretarial pocket. It’s the small blue journal shown above and contains grid paper – perfect for expense tracking!
The summer slim down just in time!
As we approach the end of another year, we’re all likely reflecting upon 2013 and hopefully looking forward to 2014. I’ve been taking stock of what I did well and what can be done even better – some things need a little work ;-). For the new year I am implementing a planning system that will be G.R.E.A.T. for ME. It’s a planning system that will reflect my:
Goals – Short-term, mid-range, and long-term goals for various aspects of my life.
Routines – Daily morning and evening routines.
Errands – Consolidating and reducing errands to be more efficient.
Appointments – Scheduling them appropriately being sure not to over schedule.
To-dos – Creating manageable, day specific and master to-do lists ensuring that things are actually getting done.
This will be the foundation of my planning system, which can be adapted to changing life circumstances. I can add or remove subsections without disturbing the core principals of my system. The idea is to accomplish more, manage time more efficiently, fight procrastination, and increase motivation and consistency.
I’m fine tuning the set-up in my personal Filofax to fully reflect the system I want. I’m looking forward to following what I think will be a G.R.E.A.T. program for me. 😉
Does your daily to-do list reflect your life goals?
A goal is defined as the “object of a person’s ambition”. For me, it’s the bigger picture, the journey, the result of mini-goals culminating into that dream, the effort leading to accomplishment.
The goal to-do list isn’t an endless succession of daily, run of the mill to-dos. If they were, we’d be busy but not accomplishing much in the way of our dreams. Daily to-dos will be things that need to get done to manage life – run to the grocery store, do a load of laundry, deposit check at the bank, go to the post office, etc. While all of these things are necessary, they do not really reflect the pursuit of my life goals. That’s why a goal to-do list is needed.
Some inserts have space where daily goal to-do lists can be planned on the page, on a separate notes page, or by simply adding a post-it to your daily or weekly sheet. Even a little DIY on a blank sheet will do the trick.
The point is that we already have the tools we need in order to incorporate this idea into our daily plans.
Once a goal is established, the efforts toward reaching it must be tracked. Yearly calendars are a great way to track your progress and plan future tasks related to your goal. I keep one in my personal Filofax to track my exercise goals and progress.
Distinguish your goals from your regular to-do list entries and resolve to use the remaining days of 2013 working toward the object of your ambition. 🙂
A game plan is a “strategy devised before or used during an event”. I’ve had some pretty good game plans right before an event or in the moment. It can be exhilarating and nerve racking at the same time especially when there is actually something significant on the line. It certainly keeps things interesting and it works for me because I like to think that I’m pretty good on my feet. We can adapt this way of thinking to how we go about planning our days when life interrupts our neatly devised to-do list; allowing the initial angst to lead to some sort of calm.
Sometimes we do not have the luxury or the benefit of a lot of time to plan out the day or week. Sometimes we need a quick and dirty strategy to get through the day or any portion thereof. We need a game plan that will help to maximize the time we do have to get the most done, the best possible outcome given the situation.
That means no color-coding, no special inserts, no special symbols and certainly no decorating required – or allowed! I am not knocking any of that because when time permits, I work my system. But I think sometimes we are too hard on ourselves when we don’t get things done and these are some of the things that can get in the way of an effective game plan and lead you straight into planner fail.
You’ll likely run into potential planner fail when life interrupts – when something occurs out of the blue and causes you to deviate from your planned to-do list. When this happens, grab a blank sheet of paper and hash out a game plan so that the day doesn’t completely get away from you. Prioritize, shuffle things around, and don’t feel guilty about what must wait for another day. In some cases, the game plan is that it ALL must wait until another day.
Having a game plan beats a planner fail every day of the week because if you can be adaptable, and flexible it will alleviate an otherwise stressful situation, allow you to focus on absolute priorities (not lofty aspirational to-dos), and salvage part of your day.
I generally would not do a product review after such a short period of time but here goes…
I recently received the Franklin Covey Her Point of View Weekly Inserts and I am using them in my Filofax. I wanted to “live” with them for a while however, I think I’ve seen enough! These inserts are great! As I said in my previous post, I trimmed them to fit inside of my personal size Aston Filofax. The color scheme is pretty and the designs are whimsical. The days are lined, which makes for keeping things neat and easy to find. The week starts on Monday and ends with Saturday and Sunday (this block is split).
Franklin Covey HPOV Weekly Inserts (trimmed and punched)
FC Weekly Inserts
Each day block has a fine line going down the middle. You can use one side for personal tasks or school assignments and the other for business; or one side for personal to-dos and the other for tracking water intake, medications, exercise, food journal, etc. There are note sections at the bottom of each page for additional recording of important events, reminders, tracking, inspirational quotes, or gratitude. There are lots of options! The layout contains reference calendars for the prior and upcoming months as well as quotes for each week.
The weekly insert pages are not thick like the monthly pages. However, I have used several different pens on the weekly pages and have yet to experience any bleed through or show through. For example, I have used the Papermate Flairs, Sharpie pens, Recollections pens, Le Pens, and the Staedtler Triplus Fineliners. This is a nice feature because you don’t have to be so particular with the instrument you select to use in your planner.
I also have the monthly inserts and I interleafed the weekly and monthly pages. This works out nicely. I think it would work just as fine if you kept both inserts separated; it’s all a matter of preference in how you set-up your planner. The weekly inserts come with coordinating ‘Notes’ pages in between the months.
These are my inserts for next year. I plan to use another set of these for work. There is no need for me to search any further. Simple.
They can be purchased here on the Franklin Covey site.
Bullet journaling is becoming popular as a means to organize using paper systems. I suspect that many of those folks, like myself, have been doing some form of “bullet journaling” or list making, without giving it a name. While I haven’t completely adopted the system as it is presented, I find it to be a good way to maintain and even enhance an analog or paper system.
I saw this planner and notebook system at Staples. While I do not own this one, I do own and use a couple of the At-a-Glance products that I will share in a later post. One of the At-a-Glance books I use is a planning notebook similar to what is shown in the below pictures. When I see new or different offerings in the range, I check it out. Since I do not own this system, this is more of a comment than a review on how I see it being helpful for the bullet journal users.
At-a-Glance Planner Notebook System
One of the perceived drawbacks of the bullet journal system is that it is difficult to plan further out into the future; some would say even planning a few days in advance can be challenging. There are a few solutions to that problem, one of which is to include a monthly spread into your journal in order to truly plan tasks and goals and not just list them.
The monthly calendar (l); and the planning notebook (r)
Monthly calendar view
The At-a-Glance Planner & Notebook appears to be a multi-functional system that could be a great tool for bullet journaling and planning for the following reasons:
- There are monthly and reference calendars for planning. The monthly spread is on two pages with enough room to write in events, appointments, birthdays, track and plan goals, and any other thing you may want to record.
- The planning notebook has “hot spot” sections to highlight important information or reminders. I use these for next steps when project planning in the notebook I have.
- There are pockets and business card holders under the monthly section. One of the pockets is a secretarial pocket to capture things that may be taller than the planner itself. You can carry bills, letters, and other things that you have to deal with on a regular basis. You can also stow stamps, envelopes, sticky notes and other accessories you may need to work with your planner.
The cover is not leather but has a smooth texture and is lightweight with a slim profile. The books around bound but the pages in the notebook are perforated. It’s perfect to fit inside of a purse or tote bag without adding weight and bulk.
It looks like a very clean and easy system to use that can maximize bullet journaling and planning.
Create a workspace that inspires creativity and productivity. I really like lots of color and that’s reflected by the accessories on my desk. I’m also on a severe budget so many of the things on my desk I already owned and some of the ‘newer’ items are DIY, repurposed, gifted, dollar store finds, or Office Depot clearance finds (I found a “Watch Jane Work” letter/file sorter for $2). I even bartered for the desk itself. It’s a glass desk with the word “Love” in different languages etched in it. Being surrounded by some of my favorite things (like my Wonder Woman mug), creates a space that I enjoy. I spend lots of time here working, blogging, reading, and being inspired.