2 Reasons Why My Work Planner is Unstoppable

In my post about Planner Peace, I talked about the main challenge I was having in finding a planning system that worked for me, was that I was having a hard time bringing my work world and my personal life together. In my most recent post on Digital Planning, I also talked about my difficulty with needing everything to look perfect.

The first step for me to achieving planner peace was to find the perfect solution for work. Whatever it was it needed to be versatile, effortless, and I needed to make sure I wouldn’t get caught up on how it looked. After over two years of trying various planners and planning methods, I stomped over to the supply drawer at work and picked up a standard, five-subject notebook.

My New Work “Planner”

Why it Works

This work notebook has served me well for the past month and a half and there are a two reasons why.

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Perfection. If you are anything like me, then you want your planners to go look as good as your artistic abilities will allow. As soon as one mistake is made it can feel mortifying and the anxiety that leads up to this moment can slow down your productivity and block your ability to focus. It important to let go of perfection, especially for your work planner

And I have let go of perfection to the point where I just use a huge, lined, Hilroy notebook to write out to-dos and reminders. It’s not pretty, it’s not aesthetically pleasing, but it gets the job done.

Messy but fast and effective.

Versatility. The Hilroy notebook is great for this. Any notebook will do, just like the Bullet Journal System. Essentially, what I am doing is a stripped down version of the Bullet Journal. There is no index, no spreads, and no collections. Just a daily to-do list, with notes, and appointment reminders spread throughout. I can turn any page into whatever I want it do be, whenever I want. This is so powerful when you need to spontaneously write meeting notes, jot notes on a conversation, jot a fact down from a website, write a to-do, and everything else what can be done on lined paper.

Highlighted items are migrated to the next day, occasionally I highlight items I want to be easy to find.
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How it Works

I use a bullet journal type key for the to-do lists, but there are no spreads in the book other than ‘dailies’. I write the date at the top of the page and go from there.

Every day I go through the previous pages with a highlighter and highlight anything I haven’t done yet or any reminders that are still relevant and ‘migrate’ them to the current page. This helps me make sure that nothing gets lost.

I use sticky notes occasionally as well, but it’s not wholly systematic. Sometimes I have a sticky note with me and not my book so I use that.

Other than that, I do use sticky notes for a particular purpose though. I will use sticky notes for personal notes when I don’t have my personal planner around or even out. At the end of the workday, I take any stickies that pertain to my personal life and stick them in my personal planner.

Sticky notes galore but not for decoration.

Have a dedicated space in your work planner for personal stuff and a dedicated space for work items in your personal planner. For me, my personal planner has space for work items. I use sticky notes for personal items, this makes them transferable and only in my work planner temporarily.

If I am at home, and a work to-do, reminder, or idea occurs to me there is a section of my personal planner dedicated to work to-dos. In the morning, when I get to work I transfer this information to my work planner, if it is relevant for that day. I’ll show what this looks like in my upcoming post about my current personal planner.

What I learned through this whole process is that in order to achieve planner peace you need to really sit down and reflect on your habits and how they affect your productivity.

Stay tuned for more! Until then, keep on keeping on!

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Why I Stopped Bullet Journaling. Planner Fail and How to Fix It.

The Bullet Journal, a planner system invented by Ryder Caroll, has been one of the most popular planning systems on the internet since the Filofax. I’ve been using planners for at least a decade, through my years of being a student in high school and then university and working full-times jobs throughout.

My Planner Journey

I started off my planner journey by buying a cheap, undated, Martha Stewart notebook from Target and making it eseentialy into a bullet journal, but before Ryder Carol actually created the concept of bullet journalling.

I took my notebook around with me everywhere and basically turned it into a DIY planner. Some pages would have lists on them or general notes and some were strictly planner pages with to do lists and my work and class schedules. I used crayola markers as highlighters to spruce it up.

One day while shopping at Winners I lucked out and found a Malden Filofax and this is where my planner journey truly kicked off. The binder was stunning, it had beautiful and bendable black leather, that only improved with age. The Malden was my sidekick, I carried it everywhere I went and it housed everything.

Black Personal Sized Malden Filofax
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I used my Filofax throughout my victory lap in high school and at several jobs. But eventually, the small amount of writing space and the annoying binder rings drove me to buy a bigger A5 sized Fusion filofax. This one i loved as well, with more writing spcae and room to decorate i was able to use it for more. But eventually, the bulkiness of this binder sarting becoming a nuissance and I stopped using it as my daily planner.

I will still use this binder, I’ve put a lot of my language learning matierals in it.

Black A5 Fusion Filofax

After the Fusion, I purchased the Nude Original Filofax. Again, another great binder, but I couldn’t use it for long, for the same reasons as before, writing space and the binder rings. It was around this time that the Bullet Journal was starting to become popular and I was going into my first year of university and was on the hunt for something simple and effective.

So I went to Target and bought a plain black, lined Moleskine and started my first Bullet Journal. And it was amazing, it was the best planning system I had ever used because it was built by me for me. I used the bullet journalling style as an inspiration but made it my own completely. For my daily spreads, I printed out Chronodex Diagrams and glued them into my planner, I would put labels around the Chronodex in the top half and on the bottom half, I had my “Bullet Journal List” including, appointments/events, to-dos, notes, reminders, etc. It was fantastic and now that I am thinking about it, I might have to go back to it if my current solution doesn’t work out.

Black Hardcover Moleskine
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I stayed with the Bullet Journal for years and enjoyed it very much. Sometimes I miss it, but I also want to keep trying new things. I did fall out it bullet journaling in my last notebook. For quite a few reasons, but namely, because I was trying to use it for both work and my personal life and it wasn’t working for me anymore.

I bought an iPad Pro and figured I may as well try out digital planning. But I knew I didn’t want to do a free hand planner digitally, so I went through Etsy and picked the planner that looked the most versatile, the most filled with features, and had a minimalist aesthetic (shoutout to forLittleLion on Etsy). I used the digital planner for a few months and moderately enjoyed it. But I was using it for both work and my personal life again, and it truly wasn’t working for me. I was also running into issues with wanting to use my planner’s work notes as documentation but couldn’t because I have personal notes written on the same page.

Today, I use the Clever Fox Planner Pro. I have only been using it for about two to three weeks, but so far I am loving. Stay tuned if you want to know why I love it, a full review is coming soon. I have an entirely different solution for work, and so far, I think this is going to work for me for a while. Stay tuned for a post about that work solution. The only thing I see as maybe changing in the future is my personal planner, because it may get boring for me.What is the solution to planner fail? I think the solution to planner fail, really depends on the problem itself, so the answer will definitely not be the same for every person. For me, the issue was that after I got the job I have now, I was struggling to mesh my working life and my personal life into one planner. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make it work.

Yellow Clever Fox Planner Pro

If you followed the progression of my planner story, then it should be obvious as to what the first step is, it is to diagnose your issue. Really take the time to reflect on your planning goals, needs, and wants and think about the ways in which your current system supports that and the ways it does not. This will help you narrow down your options and determine what you need to make things work for you.

Once you diagnose the problem. Start working on the solution.

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As always, thanks for reading folks and all the best on your journey to planner peace!

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