Friday, January 10, 2014

My New Day Planner

One of my favorite things to do in January is to create my day planner. For three years, I've used a mini-binder, decorated it with inspiring pictures, and divided the contents with colored tabs, but this year I decided to try a full-size planner. 

Thick binders don't work well for me. They take up too much room, and you can't stack anything on them due to their slant. So I bought an inexpensive 1/2" binder with clear plastic sleeves on the outside, a package of colored dividers/folders, a pack of clear sheet protectors, several pretty scrapbook papers, and stickers with inspirational phrases and words.

I mapped out how I wanted the planner organized then I set about to decorating it. Instead of my usual picture collage, I decided to focus on my One Word for the year, which is Peace (you can read Monday's post "One Word 2014" here). This is how it turned out.

In December, I typed up my business plan for 2014. I printed it out, slipped it into a clear sheet protector and inserted it front and center so I can see it first thing. 

My business plan always includes:

A. Books I will plot, write, and revise and a tentative schedule for accomplishing this
B. Promotion (In addition to my usual social media interactions, I'm starting a new web series this year and will launch my newsletter later this summer)
C. Speaking (I've put this on the back burner this year, but other years I've been more active)
D. Continuing Education (what craft books I will study, conferences--if any--I'll attend, memberships to organizations I'll renew) 
E. Freelance (I set modest goals for this)
F. Other (Spend one day of the week writing somewhere other than my home)

I used to include Income/Expenses, but I just throw my receipts in a folder now instead.

After the business plan, colored tabs divide the planner into sections. One section is for my monthly tasks. I jot down any upcoming to-do's on the appropriate page. Another section keeps track of books I've read, books I want to read, and music/art/movies I might want to check out. A section contains logs for different things like my weekly exercise plan. Naturally I have a miscellaneous file. Right now it has several Bible passages I read often. 

A planner should make your life easier. It should be a one-stop place for your information. Many of you will be better served using a digital organizer on your phone, tablet, or computer.

If I don't have hard copies, I lose information. For some reason, digital day-planning doesn't work for me. That's okay. I accepted it and reverted right back to my physical planner.

How do you organize your business life? What works? What doesn't? Please share!

Have a terrific weekend!


  1. A paper planner just doesn't work for me as I'm buried in papers. My calendar, contacts, to do are all in iCloud. I keep separate electronic notebooks in Evernote. art projects, art shows, and other items of interest. For teaching, all my class notes and hand outs are saved as .pdf and kept in Dropbox

  2. I get it! Digital planners make life easier for some and harder for others. As long as you have a system that works for you, you're good! BTW, I really like Evernote. :)

  3. I sometimes thing I should make the transition to digital, but there are compelling reasons not to.

    In the work I do in airplane restoration, I sometimes have to sketch how a part looks, or how it was originally installed. This goes into the planner on the day it was dealt with, and becomes part of the permanent record.

    A photo doesn't work as well, because in making a drawing you really have to understand what you're seeing. The physical act of putting it on paper seals the knowledge. (Yes, I know you can draw on a tablet with a stylus,and I remember Etch-a-Sketch all too well because of that.)

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Yes, I do understand. Sketching the solution out activates a part of your brain, and it makes it easy for you to find later. :)

  4. Oh man, that's some beautiful organization. Sadly, I've become less organized with each year. I try to tell myself that's okay, but it would probably be a good idea for me to step back and try to organize in a similar fashion. But I have some hard core deadlines this year, so at least I've done a little scheduling. That's something, right??

    1. Maybe focus just on the deadlines--adding anything else might make your head explode!!

  5. I don't know if it's just because I have a fetish about new school/office supplies or what, but I LOVE getting a new year's planner and dreaming. Planning. Plotting. And seeing where God has opened doors for the new year. It's also fun to look back in December to see what turned out differently that I expected. Woo Hoo!

    1. Yes! We're so much alike! I went through my 2013 business plan in December and listed all I accomplished. Fun!

  6. your planners put me in awe, Jill! I'm kind of a hybrid - I keep some things in my Yahoo calendar, some in my's a messy system but it works for me. lol

    1. That's the important thing--that it works for you. A pretty planner that doesn't work is useless!

  7. Inserted your business plan in front and center of your planner? That's very clever! That way you'll never forget your priorities and will be able to concentrate on it. Anyway, your list is pretty straightforward; which is good, because in business there is nothing greater than to have a clear and well-detailed plan to make sure your business will grow smoothly. I hope it all goes well.

    Chris, Red Stick SEO


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