Planner Setups for the New Year – Part 2 of 4

Welcome back everyone for Part 2 of the Planner Setups series! Last week, I shared my work planner setup—read more about it here—which is 1 of 4 planners I’m currently using in 2016 (so far!). This week I’ll be sharing my blog planner setup.

(*Note: This post may contain affiliate links. These links will help you find items I’ve purchased, use, and love!)

Blog Planner Setup

Managing a blog seems like a simple task—write, post, repeat—but it actually has a lot of moving parts. Writing is my passion so I feel as a writer (and an IT Professional) that I have an obligation to you—my readers—to put forth as high a quality blog that I can be proud of and you find valuable in terms of content and design.

I’m using the Foxydori Wanderlust extra wide travelers notebook (sold on Etsy) with Moleskine cahier and Inkwell Press Quarterly books as my main blog planner. Each booklet has a specific purpose. I also use a ‘floating’ setup in my primary A5 planner as an extension of my blog planner. Below I explain how they all work together.

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Foxydori Wanderlust extra-wide travelers notebook

Inkwell Press Quarterly Booklets

The Inkwell Press Quarterly books were introduced the Fall of 2015. They contain a month on two pages (MO2P), horizontal week on two pages (WO2P), monthly goal dashboard and a Notes page for each month. I use the MO2P to plan out my editorial calendar and highlight important appointments and events. The WO2P are where I schedule tasks and log the activities of the day. Lastly, I use the monthly goals dashboard and Notes page to plan and track progress made on blog/social media goals and projects. I’m currently  carrying 2 quarterly books—for this quarter and the last quarter (for reference)—in my blog planner.

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Inkwell Press Quarterly A5 Booklet

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Editorial calendar example—usually messier than this!

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Inkwell Press Monthly Goals dashboard and Notes page

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Weekly log of tasks and activities example—usually messier than this!

Moleskine Cahiers

Moleskine makes excellent books in a wide range of styles and sizes. I use the cahier booklets with lined, grid, and blank pages (sold as a 3-pack) in my blog planner. Currently there are 6 cahier books in my blog planner:

  • Blog & Social Media Tasks & Notes (grid cahier): used to store blog/social media information, reference notes, list of website resources, networking contacts, brainstorming ideas, and master task lists

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  • Blog & Social Media Designs & Ideas (blank cahier): used to draft layouts for printables, map out workflows, and visually brainstorm design changes

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  • Blog & Social Media Knowledge Base (lined cahier): used to log notes, tips, and tricks learned from webinars, online courses, livestream events, and book resources; each book is numbered—I’m currently carrying volumes #1 and #2 with me

Moleskine cahier, journal, notebook, planner, blog planner

  • #GirlBoss (lined cahier): used to log notes, tips, and tricks learned related to business (e.g. marketing, financial, legal, etc.); each book is also numbered–I’m currently carrying volumes #1 and #2 for these as well

Moleskine cahier, journal, notebook, planner, blog planner

Tools & Supplies

I’m primarily a ‘functional planner’ so you won’t see any stickers, washi tape, or decorative elements in my blog planner. As a result, I only carry the bare minimum so I can focus on just ‘getting things done’. My small arsenal of tools and supples include:

  • Pentel Energel gel pen with purple ink: this is my favorite gel pen. It’s a smooth writer and the purple ink is rich and vibrant. This is about as much color as you’re going to see in this planner, lol! 🙂
  • “@” sign Post-its: I thought these post-its were cute and very appropriate for a blog planner so I guess they can qualify as a decorative element. 🙂 I use them to title my cahier booklets and jot down key information that I refer to on a regular basis.
  • Blank post-its: used to jot down temporary, spur-of-the-moment, quick notes—a great way to use up Target and Michael’s dollar spot post-its!
  • Page flags: used to plan out my editorial calendar. I write down my blogpost topic on the page flag then stick the page flag to the appropriate day on the monthly calendar. If something unexpected pops up, I either move it to another day (reschedule) or stick it to the inside cover of the book until I can determine a new future date. This is another great way to use up cheap page flags!
  • DIY folder/zip pocket/envelope insert: to add some storage, I took an ARC brand Junior folder, ARC brand Junior zip pocket (both available at Staples and Amazon), and some packing tape to create a storage insert that would fit in an extra-wide size travelers notebook (leave less than half an inch or 1 cm space between the two so it can easily wrap around the notebooks). Finally, I added a Post-It Mobile Attach and Go Pocket (a mini envelope with a velcro closure) to the outside of the folder pocket to carry small things like paperclips and business cards.
  • Paper clips: I like to use the Book Darts to mark my place in each of the booklets because they’re extremely thin and don’t add any bulk. I also use Oli magnetic clips (sold on Etsy) to hold several pages together, like the weekly pages for a month in the quarterly books, so I can quickly ‘jump’ to the correct week.
  • Tabs: To easily find the month in the quarterly booklets, I use stick-on monthly tabs. I also use 3/4″ Avery colored circle stickers to create side tabs in some of the cahier books (check out the first picture of the cahiers above) by folding them in half and adding a short title.
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DIY folder-zip pocket plus small envelope with velcro closure (side 1)

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DIY folder-zip pocket (side 2)

 

‘Floating’ Blog Planner

While I would love to carry this gorgeous chunky planner everywhere, it’s just too much to carry this along with my primary A5 planner and work planner (used during business hours). As a matter of full disclosure, this ‘floating’ configuration is a new setup I’m currently testing out. In the back of my A5 planner, I have a ‘Notes’ section where I created a blog planner ‘sub-section’. Since I use my A5 planner consistently throughout the day for all my personal, family, home, and fitness items, I would sometimes find myself coming up with ideas and completing tasks related to my blog/social media that I needed to jot down somewhere before I forgot. Hence, the ‘floating’ blog planner was born! The challenge, of course, is minimizing the number of duplicate entries so I’ve tried my best to streamline what’s in this section. So far I’ve narrowed it down to the following:

  • Stats tracker: to track weekly/month stats for my blog and all social media outlets. I use the Monthly Blog & YouTube Channel Stats insert from ShopMandyJeanChic’s Etsy shop as well as some of my own.
  • Blogpost planner: used to plan out the details for a new blogpost; I use the Blog Post Planner insert from ShopMandyJeanChic’s Etsy shop.
  • Weekly blog planner: to track the tasks and activities for that week. I use the Weekly Blog Content Planner insert from ShopMandyJeanChic’s Etsy shop.
  • Idea/Task list: used to jot down any new ideas or tasks that come to mind. I use old Filofax A5 weekly inserts, flipped upside-down (you get more usable space this way) to use as ‘scratch paper’–great way to use them up!
  • Project worksheets: for active sub-projects. I use the Filofax A5 color ruled sheets and dedicate one to each blog/social media mini projects—e.g. WordPress, photography, Instagram, Twitter, etc.—and jot down ideas, reference notes, and items to research for each one.
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‘Floating’ planner inserts

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‘Floating’ blog planner section

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Old, unused 2015 Filofax A5 weekly inserts, flipped upside down, to use as a ‘scratch pad’ for jotting down ideas and tasks

This ‘floating’ setup has allowed me to work more effectively because I don’t have to interrupt my thought process while I go and get my blog planner; it’s right there when I need it, I just flip to the back of my A5 planner. In addition, I use the weekly blog planner insert to coordinate and check for conflicts against my primary schedules and at the end of the week, transfer all the notes for the week to my Inkwell Press Quarterly book to have for prosperity.

 
Whew! That seems like a lot but if you break it down into general categories–calendar, notebooks, inserts–it’s not that bad. So far it’s working though sometimes I feel an inner ‘nag’ that I really should be keeping everything together in one planner because there is some duplication. We’ll see how it goes.

 
Do you have a blog or project-dedicated planner setup, tips, and tricks that work well for you? If so, please share in the comments below and if you found this blogpost helpful or know someone else it could help, please like, subscribe, and share on social media!

Come back next week to read Part 3 of my planner setups for the New Year. 🙂

Until next time,

♥ LilD ♥