I have a crush on planners. Over the years I’ve had many different ones. As soon as the new season came I couldn’t wait to buy myself a new planner. I’ve had them all, fancy, cute, simple, detailed, full page, half page, with ring, without, you name it.
I still remember my very first planner as a child. It had a new horse to admire every week. I treasured it for a looooong time.
But over the years I became annoyed with my planners, because they didn’t do what I wanted them to do.
My A4 planner had one page per day, enough space to write appointments, lists, notes and doodles. But I couldn’t find my notes when I needed them, and my planner looked chaotic. The week-planner, was more compact but gave me too little space for lists and notes.
I’ve tried Covey’s planner and I’ve printed the most beautiful planners of the internet, but I couldn’t find one that worked for me. They were either too complex, or the layout didn’t work for me.
That’s when I decided to create my own planner.
At that same time I started creating my Life Journal. My mission was to have my life in one place, and create order and overview in my chaotic life. Instead of adding another book, I decided to make it fit in my Life Journal.
So here is what it looks like.
Yep.. all done by hand.
I just took a simple 30 cent A5 school notebook and started drawing lines. The left page I filled with lines for the days of the week, the right page I left empty.
I did that for 52 weeks, 2 small notebooks.
First I drew all the lines and added the dates. I did it sideways so I have maximum use of space. This is where I write in all my appointments and ‘time’ references.
The right page stays empty. It’s a place for my To-Do-List for the week and other notes that are relevant for that week.
I also made a monthly overview, because I realised I have a tendency to plan too much if I don’t have the picture for the full month. I would stack week after week with big activities, which gives our family too little time to breathe.
And then I created a yearly overview. This year we have travelled quite a bit. We try not to book more than 1 big trip a month, which was a bit of a challenge this year. Seeing it all on one page made it easier to plan!
This is why I draw my planner by hand
❤︎ Drawing a planner is an excellent exercise in mindfulness. Drawing line for line, creating a year on paper that is still empty and holds so much potential.
❤︎ It’s a way to focus on the power I have to decided what I do with my time, how I spend my year. So often at the end of the year we ask ourselves, where did the time go… By creating my own planner, I became more aware that I’m responsible for my time.
❤︎ Creating line after line, drawing the year gives me time to reflect on life goals. What is it that I want to achieve this year. What is important for me?
❤︎ I realised I don’t need a fancy, complex planner to manage my life. I’ve found a link between a complex planner and a complex life ;-). I’d rather stick with the simple, so I have time to actually enjoy life.
❤︎ This simple little notebook fits perfectly in my Life Journal. It is easy for me to get a quick overview of what’s happening in our family.
Drawing my planner for 2017
I have used this set up for the past year and I am very happy. Next year I’ll just tweak it a little bit.
I would actually like to add Stephen Covey’s weekly compass in the journal. It is now a loose paper in my Life Journal and that’s not working.
The other thing I might change next year is to add my tick boxes for habits, like my morning routine and exercise, and evening routine. In that way I can eliminate all my loose papers.
I love planners! But they need to do what I want them to do. It has been a wonderful exercise in mindfulness, and I just love to create potential for the next year. Can’t wait for 2017 ;-). Will get started very soon!
Ps. Let me hear from you! What do you use as a planner? What works best for you?