I sometimes wish I was still 8 years old, so I could wander into Target right now and go back to school supply shopping. New backpack! Empty notebooks! Pencil boxes! Folders! Seriously is there any kind of shopping more fun? Other than puppy shopping…I don’t think there is.
Planners have been a long time favorite. It started with the brightly colored, highly durable school issued planners, with sections for homework and blocks for class schedules and room numbers. As I grew up, middle school planners were replaced by perfect, tiny Day-Timers in a little leather cases, always tucked in my bag next to a gold cross pen…a tradition that has spanned the generations on my Mom’s side of the family. In the MTC, my little planner was probably my most beloved possession, outside of my photo albums.
Lately I’ve been shopping around, trying to find a planner that is perfect for this stage of life…my 8AM-5PM is generally the same, with occasional evening/weekend events…and LOTS of projects! There are a whole bunch of journals that are business/startup focused, as well as some that are gratitude focused, as well as some that are personal development focused.
I decided I couldn’t settle for anything less than exactly what I needed.
So I made my own planner.
The cover is basically nonexistent, and I haven’t even bothered with aesthetic or design (yet) but the bones are good, and I am in love. THIS is exactly how I use my planner these days. And, the binding can be reopened to take out old pages, or add new. I can add pages for ALL KINDS of things! Any chart I can dream up and mock up, I can include. (Sorry, a little giddy over here).
Now I’m imagining a store that would let you build your planner a-la-carte…not just to customize font, but so you could choose any page to add from a library of hundreds of the most efficient, organized, thoughtful, effective pages for organizational, growth, a happiness-inspiring purposes.
I think that will be my next project.
I use Google calendars for my month and detailed long term scheduling, so I don’t need much hourly-schedule space in the day to day. Just a corner will do. I always end the day with at least two or three new lists, ideas, or projects. So, white space everyday to record whatever strikes me is essential.
(For perspective, this planner is exactly 1/2 of a sheet of printer paper….hamburger style 😉 I just drew everything up on my laptop and printed it off in my living room!)
The top right side of the page is what I personally use for my tally system. I’m using working on a goal, habit, or something of the like, and love to keep a daily tally of how I’m doing. So, goal on the left box, tally marks on the right. This could be anything from acts of kindness, to exercise/nutrition tallies, to personal improvement tallies (ie: remember to sit up straight!). It’s a lot of fun. Actually, this would be way more fun if it was gold stars instead of tallies. We need to bring back the star stickers.
Anyway, then the “Goals section” — there is something about forcing yourself to write out your long term goals EVERY DAY that is really amazing and compelling. Check box, provided. It’s important to write down the big picture, long term goals, so we remember what we’re working towards.
The to do list, is self explanatory. Ah, lists. I love lists.
Then I thought I would have four extra boxes: one for gratitude, one for joy, one for kindness, and one for self improvement. So each day, I can either reflect on something and write it down in there, OR make it a sort of fun to do in itself…little act of kindness to do for Oliver, a reminder to write a thank you note, the extra boost of happiness that comes from writing out what you’re looking forward to, etc.
At the end of the day, I think it’s important to brag. No matter how well or poorly you did, find a reason to pump your fists in the air and go YEAH! TODAY I WAS AWESOME! We all need that. Finally, there is a little box for lessons….things we noticed, things we observed, things we want to work on the next day…
So, if you are like me, you have multiple to do lists for multiple purposes. School, family, work, business, hobby, etc etc. So I included a whole stack of these To Do mega sheets in the back.
Ah, goals. I am an obsessive planner when it comes to hitting goals. Dates, details, tricks, cautions…I always make a plan and usually need lots of blank space to do so. So, voila, a whole section dedicated to goals.
I wont post all of these pages, but I also included a section right in the front full of questions to ask myself. And answer! Answer in great detail. Questions about who I want to be, what kind of family I want to build, what kind of relationship I want to nurture with O, what I want our life to look like…etc. I think it’s important to do this first. Before you set any goals, make any plans. Start from the big picture. Start with the most important things first. That gives light and purpose to all of the lists that will surely follow 😉
Also, not pictured, a fitness tracker page, a weekly meal planner, a shopping list page, etc, etc….(I’m developing a whole library!)
So…this is what works for me! I’m working on making a custom planner for O next! If this looks like it would be useful for you, let me know and I can email the PDF files. If not, what other kinds of pages/things do you like to track in your planner? What other pages do you find handy?