A Plethora of Planners – Happy 2017

When I was in 5th grade I began a yearly tradition, breaking in a new planner. My new planner would arrive at Christmas and my winter break would be filled with time to copy all the birthdays and other milestones into the next year’s book. I loved it. (Is it weird to say some of my fondest holiday memories were spent with my planner? O well…)

Today planners are different. There is no longer one or two paper planners available, but 100s. And as an efficiency nut every time a new planner comes out, I just have to see what it offers. I have a case of planner envy.

I was a big fan of Franklin Covey planners -the classic, perfect first system. But then as electronic planners hit the market, I moved that direction. More recently, I have been using a hybrid system. With a hybrid system I have the long-term view available electronically but place weekly apportionments and to-do’s into the paper planner each week.

Over the last couple years I tried out two different planners to work with my hybrid system.

I started with Action Day. Action Day  has a place for your to-do’s & your daily schedule, plus – delegated tasks and goals. It also has paper in the back of the planner to use for note taking.  I used it for a little over a year,  it was good but I was still searching.

After finding the  Happiness Planner at Anthropology, I switched over to it in the spring.

What I loved was it was 100 days instead of an entire year, it had a place for reflection and goals, and it had daily happiness questions (“good things about today,” “what I hope for tomorrow”). The Happiness Planner was good but still, I was searching.

As December worn on I spent an entire afternoon looking at what types of planners were out there for 2017. I had no idea how many choices I had!

Here are a couple great articles/collections:

12 Planners


Best Planners

Lots of ideas, but what did I need?  I ended up making a list of what I needed in a planner:

+It had to be simple – too many boxes, questions or distractions made me anxious.

+I wanted a place for quarterly goals and a way to be reminded of them daily. This was key.

+I wanted a place for daily things like my morning and evening ritual.

+I would need a space for that day’s to-do’s.

+ Of course, I’d need a place for that day’s meetings.

+And, instead of having a loose piece of paper to track my spiritual practices, I wanted space for my Discipleship Huddle Rhythm of Discipleship (I’ll share more on this next week).

+And last, with my goal of studying six books of the Bible this year, I wanted a place for daily Bible Study Notes.

I realized that even with all the customization out there that I would need to create my own. So I did.

This isn’t a big of a deal as you’d think. Making your own planner is actually all the rage – they go by the term “bullet journal.”

I picked up a blank book I loved at Home Goods but any size and shape that connects with you would work. Here are some ideas.

I decorated the pages with stamps and washi tape

I needed something less complicated than the standard Bullet Journal. Here is what I ended up creating:

Introductory Pages:

Page 1 – Theme of the Year (I pick a theme word) and a list of Top Dream Goals for 2017

Page 2 – Quarterly Goals

Page 3 – The Brief Guide (there are several variations of this, here is one)

Page 4- Ideas for Morning and Evening Rituals (a mix and match list depending on time, energy, etc.)

Dated Pages:

Each day is two pages:

Every week ends with a two-page summary – here is a sample:

I put it all together while I watched TV with family or listened to podcasts. It was pretty fun. And here is the thing: it is really working. I look forward to using it daily and find I am staying on track with my daily commitments.

This planner is for three months, I figure it is a test run. I’ll let you know how it goes. Do any of you have a planner you love or keep a Bullet Journal? I’d love to hear about it. – Nicole

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