It may have taken 3 planners to get me organized this year, but they all play an important role towards keeping everything productive on a daily basis.
The past 5 or so years I’ve invested in expensive planners with pretty aesthetics and lots of fun features only to find that I wasn’t using them to their full potential and still ended up having secondary or third notebooks to keep it all together. Although I loved having them, I decided to punish myself and use a less cost effective method, all the while figuring out a solution to make me more productive in 2016.
I find that I work well with lists, but lists that are very specific to a date or a project. I will still keep a long, continual list of things that need to be done eventually, but when it comes down to what has to be accomplished today, that list needs to be short and sweet. Let me walk you through the 3 planners I’m using to keep me organized in 2016 and how they work for me.
My “General” Dated Planner — Sugar Paper 2016 Weekly Planner
This is my general planner that tells me where I’ve got to be on certain dates, when I’m traveling and the occasional MUST DO task that cannot be overlook and is often scheduled well in advance (tax prep I’m talking to you!). In the monthly view, I will only write appointments, birthday and travel dates. I use a thin piece of washi tape to indicate the length of travel. I also use this to keep track of my daily workouts by writing down what I’ve accomplished on the side.
Overall, this is a very simple, clean weekly planner that is not overdone with fluff. I love the Sugar Paper x Target collaboration and the best part is that it will only set you back $15, a far cry from the $60-$75 I was spending.
The Weekly “Nuts & Bolts” Planner — She Plans the Weekly To Do List
This planner rocks my world.
I actually stumbled upon learning about She Plans Etsy shop while browsing on Instagram and immediately went online and purchased the Weekly To Do List instant download. That’s right, it’s a digital file that you can print off yourself and it only costs $3.50. They are designed in pretty colors, but since I was focused on cutting back my planner costs, I decided to have a full years worth printed at Kinko’s in black & white. It still gives me all the functionality I need and then some!
I rely on this weekly to do list for every must have task that needs to be accomplished in the next 5 days. What I love about the different list sections is that none of them can be overly long, therefore unattainable. Under each day of the week, it provides you with 9 lines for tasks to accomplish that day. That’s a lot to get done and it leaves you to stay focused on JUST THOSE 9 TASKS! Once they’ve been completed, they simply get crossed off.
The other sections include areas for the Priorities, Calls to Make, Emails to Write, 10-Minutes “Just Get it Done” Projects, the Complete List of Things To Do and Notes. It really is a sure-fire way to stay organized for the week you are working on. At first I had printed out enough copies for the month, but decided in 2016 to make a spiral bound notebook for the entire 52 weeks (+ a note page every 4-5 weeks) so that I could take this with me when needed and plan out when I have to. I have really come to treasure this Weekly To Do List as a lifesaver for keeping me organized with all the tasks I have floating around in my head on any given day!
The “Ultimate” Blog Planner — Mama Miss Designs Blogger Planner
Ok, so I’ve got my life to keep organized with planner #1, I keep all my business, personal and blogging tasks organized with planner #2, and now it’s time to have a planner that just keeps everything happening on the blog together. The Mama Miss Designs Blogger Planner is so unbelievably handy for keeping me on track with what I want to accomplish this year on the blog that I don’t know I was doing it for the past 2 years.
Again, the planner Melissa has designed is so beautiful but I cut costs again and printed & spiral bound it in black and white at Kinkos. This was exceptionally hard for me to do, but like I said, I was punishing myself for buying “pretty” in the past and not using them properly so we’re just getting down to functionality this year.
If you are a blogger and are looking for a solution to organize your blog this year and create a clean, simple editorial calendar you can spot at-a-glance, then this is your solution. Each month comes with a list of holidays to take note of (maybe you want to blog about), a notes section, an important dates list, a full monthly calendar AND a blog post monthly list that lets you track if the post has been drafted or even published onto Pinterest and Facebook. It also includes a little area where you can track your monthly followers across all the different outlets. It’s all right there!
But that’s not all! In the back of the planner you will find a blog to-do list (I use this to keep a list of big projects that need to be done on the blog or for the blog), large notes page, monthly income tracker, monthly expenses tracker, link parties tracker, monthly stats throughout the year, monthly finances, seasonal theme ideas (to get those juices flowing), post idea pages, pinterest tracking, giveaway tracker, guest posting tracker, blog sponsors, archive updates, daily blog maintenance, series post planner, affiliate tracker and more! Melissa has literally thought of everything that we could possibly need to have a successful blogging year and the whole planner, which is an instant downland, is only $10!!
I must also mention that I do rely on my iCal calendar to help keep me sane as well. I plug all events, birthdays, travel dates, appointments, etc into the calendar and can access it from my phone, computers or tablet anytime I need to. It’s really handy for me when I don’t have my pen & paper planner along with (gasp! You mean I don’t carry my planner everywhere?).
As you can see, it basically takes a village of planners to keep me organized but I feel that I’ve finally found a group of solutions that really work for me. I didn’t jump right in and post about what I was using back on January 1st because I wanted to really use these planners day in and day out and see if they were the right fit for the multi-tasking lifestyle that I live and I’m really really happy with how it’s working thus far.
As with anything, it’s on me to use these planners properly and routinely. Find a method that works for you and stick with it. You may only need 1 or 2 of these planners & that’s perfectly ok. Then use those planners on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to help get yourself organized and productive this year. Let January be your “trial” month for the year and let’s really kick it into high gear for the next 11 months. Are you with me!?!?