Taking control of your planner

Years ago, I converted to an all digital approach to managing my calendar. But lately, I've been missing the experience of planning my day on paper. So when a friend mentioned she was loving her Passion Planner, I had to check it out.

It's free to print out and use, so I tried it and loved the concept but found myself immediately seeing ways I could change it to better fit the way I like to think about and plan my days. So, I made my own version in Google Docs. It felt great to take control and make the planner my own, rather than trying to make do with other people's planners.

I thought I would share it in case it inspires anybody else to take control of their planner and make a version that fits them. It was easy to create using Google Sheets.

Here are the left and right pages.

They can be printed out on regular copy paper and fastened into a file folder for a slim and portable view of my week.

Since it was designed for me by me, I realize it may look a bit cryptic to someone else. Here is a brief explanation for what I have included.

Left column:

This week will be great if... | This section is an opportunity to reflect in advance on what would make the week great. It will help me stay focused on whatever one or two things are most important that week.

Weekend Plan | I find that our weekends are so much better if I have taken the time to make a plan and get the family on board in advance. I will use this space to note any projects or adventure outings we are going to take on as a family.

Notes | This is a flexible space to note ideas that come up as the week progresses.

Dailies, Weeklies & Goals | This is where I list the things I want to be doing regularly. I note the number of days per week I want to do that thing (by filling in the boxes with numbers), and then mark the box with an "X" when I do it. I borrowed this concept from Todd Henry. (See his "dailies" sheet here.) Here is an example of mine, filled out for this week.

So, in this example, my goal is to do yoga three days a week, walk 10k steps seven days a week, etc. Since it is Monday morning as I write this, I haven't done much yet, but I did make my menu plan for the week, so you can see that is marked as "done", as is day one of my five minute journal and morning pages. (5MJ = Five Minute Journal; MPs = Morning Pages; DLP = the Documented Life Project (a weekly art journaling challenge).

Days of the week columns:

Five Minute Journal AM | The top block of each day holds space for the morning questions from the Five Minute Journal. (I've memorized them, so I don't need a reminder of what they are, only the space to fill in the 3 things I'm grateful for that morning (1A, 1B, 1C), the 3 things that will make today great (2A, 2B, 2C) and the affirmation (fill in the blank after "I am..."). I love this daily ritual, and love that it is now incorporated right into my daily planner rather than housed in a separate place.

Appointments | Next is space to block off time for scheduled appointments that have a specific time associated with them.

Dinner | The week is always better if there is a dinner plan figured out in advance. This is where I note my weekly menus.

To Dos and Ta Das | This is where I note the things I want to get done that day. Sometimes I record things after I do them, just so that I can mark them off and give myself "credit" for doing them. (Those are the "ta das".)

Five Minute Journal PM | At the bottom I have left space for the two evening questions from the Five Minute Journal: List 3 amazing things that happened that day (4A, B, C), and how I could have made the day better (5).

At the very bottom of both pages there is a small block of open space for additional notes. Here is what it looks like in use and fastened into a file folder:

All set and ready to take on the week!

Many thanks again to Angela Trinidad of the Passion Planner, Alex Ikonn and UJ Ramdas of the Five Minute Journal, and Todd Henry for their ideas which I have incorporated into this planner.

P.S. Planners are very personal, I suspect, so I don't expect anyone else will want to use mine, since I customized it just for me. But if you want to use mine as a starting place for your own, please feel free. Click here to get to the google drive file which can be viewed, printed, and copied into a new file where you can edit to your hearts content.

1 comment:

  1. You're the second person I've come across that has decided to make organizing a priority, three including myself. I've scoured Pinterest for free printables that include everything from "week at a glance" to project planners. Still ironing out the kinks but so far productivity has gone up and stress has gone down! Hopefully the same result with you!