Contemplating a new planner is just one of several actions synonymous with ushering in a new year! I have an 18-month planner that runs until June 2016, giving me additional time to select a planner right for me and I want to share my system for choosing a planner with you! Here goes:
Step 1. Make a list of what is working / not working.
What I’ve noticed in my life:
- I find that I usually keep track of activities related to my blogging, my design team work, home chores, budgeting and bill reminders, appointments ( my and kids doctor appointments / play dates / birthday / school events / volunteer related at both church and school) / top three tasks / space to write new ideas / books to read / recipes to try / faith devotional. Wow, yes really.
- I use a desk calendar to track kid-related events and school needs, a personal planner for blogging and another planner for everything else above. As a result, having three planners is not the best system for me as my mind is split between more than one planning system! I want to downsize to at least two methods to keep track of everything.
- I can’t fit everything in one little square that most planners offer.
- A lot of my busyness is from not being well prepared b/c I carry too much stuff around in my head.
- I lose a little sleep trying to plan the next day / week / month in my head.
Step 2. List your planning needs and wants. The “perfect” planner.
What does the perfect planner look like for you? The perfect planner for me includes:
- A planning system for: Work / Blog / Design Team / Home Chores / Home Budgeting and Billing Reminders / Appointments / Life events
- A planner with pre-written boxes for each category listed above.
- A place to write everything done so I clearly see where I need to eliminate some of the busyness and create margin.
- A place to record events beyond a week (e.g. a monthly view) so I can see what’s ahead and plan for it. For example:
- I need to know that if there is a birthday or shower to attend, I need to buy a gift at least a week ahead.
- I know that if I need to create a blog post, I need to schedule time to brainstorm the project, create content, take and edit photos.
- A space for budgeting.
Step 3. Prioritize
Understanding we are all are unique, no one planner will realistically meet our every need. Prioritize the top 3 must-haves in a planner based on your where you find your greatest need for organization.
My Top Three:
- Record and view appointments and events on a monthly weekly basis.
- Record Goal Tasks and Progress
- Vertical space to record multiple items.
- Budget planning
- faith devotional/ brief journal entry
- Space to jot ideas / educational stuff
- Project Planning “helper pages”
- Recipe Planning / Shopping Lists
- A space to use as a creative outlet
- a space for faith journaling
I prioritized my list of needs, then I revisited the list the following day and made a few adjustments. I ended up with a real checklist for selecting a planner that may work! And I need a planner that’s a workhorse. I decided to stick with my current planner and add something extra:
The Day Designer Edition from Target and Emily Ley’s Home Base Binder
I’m continuing with my Day Designer because it offers:
- Vertical space to add multiple appointments
- A place to record my top three to-do’s for the day, a (perfect place for goal planning and/or high priority tasks)
- A monthly view to record future appointments.
I used Pinterest to curate a collection of some of the most popular planners!
Leave me a comment sharing what planner you went with! I will have a follow up post once I reach the last month (June 2016) in my Day Designer!