Welcome back, everyone, for Part 2 of my 2018 Planner Setups! Last week I shared an update on my work bullet journal so this week I’m sharing my primary planner setup which I use to manage personal, family, fitness, and—for 2018—my content (blog/YouTube). Because planner setups are a personal thing—they’re great for getting ideas but that doesn’t mean ‘one size fits all’—I’ve also included as a bonus my process for how I analyze and select my planner setups every year–hope this helps!

planner, planner setup, functional planning, speckled fawn, jibun techo, chic sparrow, planner walkthru
L-to-R: Primary Planner and brainstorming journal

My Planner Selection Process

There’s usually two times during the year when plannernerds get very excited: in the Fall when all the new year planners are launched and after the new year when they get to use their ‘shiny’ new planners. As for me, every October or November I sit down with my ‘brainstorming’ journal and jot down my thoughts on my current planning system:

  • What worked?
  • What didn’t work?
  • Why didn’t it work?
  • Was anything lacking in my system?
  • Were there any information gaps?

Then I try to brainstorm what I need for the upcoming year:

  • Will my current setup work next year?
  • What new information do I need to capture, track, or monitor for each life area?
  • What dominates my day or requires my focus that I need to manage better?
  • Is there anything I can change in my current system to manage what I need?
  • Is there anything in my current ‘stash’ that I can use or something I can design?
  • Is there something in the market that would work better?

My Primary Planner Setup

In general, I try to keep the number of planners I use to a mininum. For the last two years, I’ve used four (4) planners: a work planner, primary planner, content planner, and on-the-go planner because the amount of information in each life area became too great (the on-the-go planner is just for convenience so I can travel ‘light’). While my work planner always has to remain separate, I try to setup my primary planner to manage everything else if possible; sometimes it works but sometimes it doesn’t. Luckily for 2018, I figured out a way to make it work. I’m (once again!) using the Jibun Techo but in the A5 Slim size housed in a travelers notebook cover. I’m also color coding and using extra booklets as a way of separating information—similar to how you would use a divider section in a ring planner. Another thing I like to do is carry booklets in different sizes because it makes my system more flexible—I can work in my A5 size planner at home and take what I need on-the-go. For more information on my setup process, walk-thru and tools, check out the video below:

In summary, it’s always helpful to take some time at the end of the year to analyze your setup and determine what, if anything, should change for the upcoming year. Also, try to figure out what dominates your day or requires your focus so you can build a system to support it. Finally, remember that everyone’s planning system is unique so while it’s fine to look at other planner setups for inspiration, focus on designing a system that works for YOU and YOUR needs.

What about you? Do you have a process for analyzing your planning setup? What is your planner setup like? How do you manage personal, family, fitness and other things—all in one planner or do you separate them among multiple planners? Please share in the comments below and don’t forget to like share and subscribe!

Until next time, 🙂

♥ LilD ♥