What I use each year for planning and how I organize my binder.
I’ve had many people on social media ask about what I use, so I thought this would be a wonderful time to showcase my binder and how I have it set up.
This is also the first time I’ve loaded a post up with pictures so enjoy! (All of them open up to larger versions in a new window if you want to see details.)
Since 2013, my favorite life and business planner has been Leonie Dawson’s Life and Business Planners (disclaimer: affiliate link). She has wonderful pages and questions that ask you to reflect back on the year to celebrate your wins and learn where you fell short, so you know where you need to improve for next year.
After that, you’ll go through your intentions for the upcoming year and set up your goals for multiple areas of your life. With the business planner, you do the same thing.
This year Leonie’s offering a print version that combines the two books into a colorful bound version. (I was too impatient to order mine, so I just printed the pages I needed, avoiding duplicates, and put them into a binder. 🙂 )
Once I had the major parts of the Life and Business Planner done, I started setting up my planning binder.
As much as I’ve tried to go all digital, I just can’t. I’m a very tactile person so I need a paper planner of sorts to keep me focused. (That being said, I’d be lost without my Google calendar. My reminders are synced with all my devices and the alerts remind me of appointments and tasks all day!)
I’ve tried a variety of planners over the years and was so frustrated with them, that I decided to create my own. There were several features I liked from a variety of sources, so I cut/pasted a new layout. Since I’m pretty good working in Illustrator, I designed my own and printed them up. Voi La!!! (The advantages of being a graphic designer!)
Because I love creating my own planners, I needed something that was extremely customizable. As soon as I saw the Arc Planners from Staples, I fell in love.
Last year, I used a small Junior version as it was easy to keep it with me at all times as it fit right into my purse.
I was able to print out my custom weekly planner pages, along with pages from Leonie’s planner and everything fit perfectly into place!
This year, I decided to advance to a larger planner to accommodate bigger plans. Also, the junior version didn’t come in purple and that was really bugging me last year. 😉
So nice to keep my mottos front and center.
Every category I need fits in perfectly.
Keeping on top of budgets and financials is super important and therefore comes first. – I modified this version, however you can get a digital copy by the amazing Amber McCue here.
Don’t forget to keep track of your income. Money loves to be payed attention too!
Big picture planning with a year at a glance calendar. Vacations and the days the boys are home from school are the first things that get blocked off.
The beautiful Monthly calendars I print in full color from the Life/Business planners by the talented Leonie Dawson! Yes, she did all the artwork for these amazing pages!
My own week at glance calendar pages for balancing my workload. Since I have select hours each day for my business stuff and client work, I can schedule it in here and don’t overbook myself! (Or, that’s the point anyway. Sometimes life happens…)
Last month I came across this beautiful Daily Planner page that I purchased and I’m using that this year to stay super focused. Most all the other planner pages in my binder are work related, however this one I use for both the work and family stuff I have to do each day. You can get your copy here. Super inexpensive and worth it if you have trouble making your own. [Update: After a week of trying them I found I didn’t like using the daily planner pages so I increased the layout and design of the week at a glance pages and use them instead. You can grab a copy of the new pages at the bottom of this post.]
In addition to a section for notes, I also have my list of 100 things I’d like to do in 2015 (yet to be filled out), to keep front of mind so I can add them to my calendar. I also keep all my goals from the planner written down, along with next action steps so I can add those tasks to my calendar as well. (Didn’t do so hot with that last year, so not many were accomplished.) Action is key my friends!
I also have some sections set aside to keep a list of blog/newsletter topics and monthly reflection and tracking. It’s good to review how the previous month went to see what went well and what fell short so you can re adjust for next month and not go into a downward spiral. 😉
These are a few of my favorite planning tools. I found these amazing Frixion clicker pens that are erasable. They are the first erasable pen that I’ve found that works without tearing the paper up. And they come in my favorite colors! (Purple, pink, turquoise) The others are multi-colored Gel pens. And I found out last month that Frixion also sells erasable markers! How cool is that!!! They work just as well as the pens. I can’t wait to fill up my planner with beautiful colors. 🙂
I was turned on to Washi tape by a colleague back in September and instantly got hooked. Looking forward to trying out all these beautiful patterns in my planner pages as well.
Now that my binder is set, I will read through and fill out the Desire Map workbook and create my new vision board for this year.
After that, I start setting up my Marketing Action Plan (promotions, blog posts, teleclasses, social media schedule, etc.) and content creation schedule. (Those will be topics for other posts. 😉 )
Hope you enjoyed this and if you like my custom weekly planner, mention it in the comments below. If there’s enough interest, I’ll create a blank copy for you to download for yourself. 🙂
You asked, here it is! Download a blank copy of the Weekly Planner Template.
Take care and happy planning!
[UPDATED 12/31/14] I found that I don’t like using the daily sheets so I updated my weekly planner to 2-pages-per-week. You can grab a blank copy here.