Welcome to part four of the Create Your Own Planner Series. In this post I’m going walk you through the meat of my planner set up. I followed my own rules and created something that really works for me, but I don’t necessarily think this exact set up will work best for everyone. If you missed the previous posts in the series, I highly that you go back and read at least the first one:
I’ll walk you through the parts of my planner below, but I’m sharing the exact same things in the video at the end, so feel free to skip to that if you’d rather watch me explain it than read about it.
Quarterly Goals Page
First I have a quarterly notes and goals spread for each quarter. I personally prefer to set quarterly goals instead of the traditional yearly goals or resolutions. I find this approach much more manageable. If I set goals for just 3 months out, I generally have a good idea of what is on my plate for the next 3 months and what goals I can handle well. I feel like if I set goals for way out in the year, I really don’t what will be going on then or what will be the highest priority then.
I refer back to this page often to remind myself of my goals, especially when creating my weekly plan. Some of my goals are one time things (like completing a new filing system project) and others are more ongoing (like exercising each weekday).
Quarterly Planning Page
Next is one of my favorite layouts of my planner: the quarterly planning page. I know I don’t have much written on this page at the moment, but I used this approach in the second half of 2013, and it was wonderful. I start with major deadlines and work backwards. Right now I haven’t set firm deadlines for myself yet, which is why there isn’t too much on there. It’s really helpful to be able to plan backwards. For example, if I want to release a new design of printables in week 10, then I know week 9 needs to be getting the sales graphics ready, they need to be ready for proofreading by week 8, and so on. It’s also helpful to look at the quarter this way, so I can identify when I’m putting too much on my plate.
Next is my monthly calendar spread. You will notice that the week starts on Monday, and I take the last week out through Saturday (so it actually goes a little into February). Also, I don’t include Sunday. I know this definitely wouldn’t work for everyone, but it works great for me. Leaving off Sunday gives me a lot more space to write. I almost never work at all on Sundays, and I purposely try to leave them as free as possible for spiritual activities, church, and spending time with friends and family. Therefore, I really don’t need to plan anything then. On my calendar, I write my planned blog posts, non routine appointments, or important deadlines or meetings that I don’t want to forget.
Next I have one spread for each week of the month. I made a lot of changes to this spread from previous years, and I’m really liking it.
First, I have a section for routine daily tasks with a checkbox for each day. This probably seems ridiculous to some of you, but I majorly stink at keeping up with a good daily routine. I tend to get super focused on one thing (like work) and hardly look up to notice the routine things I need to do. After two or three days of that, the house gets to be a mess, and I really don’t like that, so this is my attempt to help myself with that. To start, I’m just focusing on four tasks for a few weeks until I feel like those are routine before adding another tasks.
Second, I have the section for my weekly routine tasks. These are things I need to do each week like paying bills, cleaning the bathrooms, etc.
Third, I have a section for my weekly goals which change from week to week. These are the main things I hope to accomplish during the week.
On the right side, I have a little space for each day (except Sunday). Here I write appointments and things that I really want to accomplish on a certain day. I found I didn’t need a lot of space for this, because I often also using a loose daily planning sheet to plan my day in a more detailed manner. I found it redundant to do the same in my planner.
Next, I sometimes make a daily plan, but I don’t put these pages inside my planner. I have a few loose pages printed out and use them when I need them. I usually fill these out the night before to really think about what needs to be done the next day. Some people my find this a little overkill, but I’ve found it really helps me stay on track. Throughout the day, if I think of something that needs to be done but I don't have time to do it right away, I jot it down in the notes section.
So that’s the meat of my planner. Here’s a video tour of the planner:
You can download your own weekly planning sheets for free by clicking on the links below!