Making all the plans. 2018 planning system.

lifestyle design, personal growth

One of the things I felt like I needed to work on in 2018 was efficiency and productivity. I have such a terrible tendency to allow time to slip away doing goodness knows what, especially during my “free time” which could be legitimately put to better use. To achieve this goal, I decided to develop and diligently stick to a planning system that would help me to be more productive on a daily basis. Both in work and in my leisure time.

You’ve already had a sneak peek at what I am using in the first post of 2018, but here is an update on how I am getting along and also some finer details about my planning process.

The main planner that I am using happens to be the popular (and relatively ubiquitous) Traveler’s Company traveler’s notebook in the regular size. It’s essentially an olive coloured piece of leather with some elastic in the spine that allows you to swap out various notebooks fairly easily. There are plenty of reviews on it so I won’t go into the details. Call me a stationery snob, but I really do love nice stationery. I just find that it makes work a little more pleasant.

There are two main notebooks I use, both of which are by Traveler’s Company. The Monthly Planner and also the Weekly Planner in the horizontal layout with the dates on the left and a grid page on the right.

The Monthly Planner. I use this primarily to mark key dates. Whether it is public holidays, people away, my own vacations, key events for work, etc. I used to use it for appointments as well, but I found that those were better placed in the Weekly instead. It gives me a clearer overview of what is going on each month rather than having to wade through individual week pages for the information. I also have personal goals in this page and the monthly church theme written there. Sermon topics also go in the Sunday slot so that I can ensure everything aligns properly. It also serves as a record for what I have covered (because I tend to forget).

The Weekly Planner. This is the notebook where the action happens. I keep track of 3 main things: appointments, to-do lists and expenses. Appointments are listed under the morning or afternoon slots depending on when they are scheduled in the day. I find that this helps me to rearrange my to-do lists around my appointments so that I know when I can get things accomplished and when I can’t. Triangles are appointments and circles for to-do list items. When the item is done with, I shade it in with my pen. I use the bullet journal system for dealing with my tasks for the most part – whether something has been cancelled, scheduled, completed, etc. It’s quite useful. On the right page, I have a running list of to-do items that may not fit into any specific day, but that I hope to accomplish at some point in time during the week. I also track my weekly expenses in a small grey box on this page. I do like to add some kind of weekly reminder or encouragement just to keep me in perspective and help me to achieve my goals. It may be a quote, it may be a verse… or even a Pinterest image.

So… why not a bullet journal? you may ask. I tried it last year and while it’s really flexible, I found that I could not be bothered with drawing in calendars and layouts every single month so this is by far the best system that I have used. Until I get tired of it, this is what I will be rolling with in 2018. Who knows whether I will switch up the way I do things in the months to come, but so far I am liking it loads!


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