Planner Setups for the New Year – Part 3 of 4

Welcome back everyone! 🙂 Hope you’re enjoying this blog series where I’ve been sharing the details of my 2016 planner setups. So far I’ve shared my work planner and blog planner setups. This week we’ll be diving into my personal planner setup. This is my primary planner which serves as the ‘command center’ for many different areas like personal, family, fitness, home, financial, and education.

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

Personal Planner Setup

Let’s start with some basic information: the planner I’m using is a Van der Spek Touch Me Manager (A5 size) in Light Brown which holds Inkwell Press Classic A5 inserts and an assortment of pre-printed, custom, and blank inserts.

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Van der Spek Touch Me Manager (A5) binder in Light Brown

This binder—for me—is close to perfection. It is made of high quality leather that is soft, supple, and smells divine! The craftsmanship is excellent and the pocket layout is extremely generous: a full back pocket that runs along the entire length of the binder, 2 secretarial pockets, 3 vertical slip pockets, 6 credit card slots, 2 additional small slots, a zip pocket, and an elasticized pen loop. The only downside for fountain pen and multi-color pen users is that the pen loop is very narrow so it will only accommodate a thin pen. Fortunately, I came up with a special ‘hack’ to add an extra, bigger pen loop: take a thin plastic sheet (e.g. a cheap plastic file folder, flexible cutting board, or microwave mat from any local Dollar Store), cut it down to A5 size, punch holes, and attach a pen loop with an adhesive backing (found at any local office supply store or Amazon) and voila! This pen loop insert can be used in two ways: hung on the binder rings like a regular insert or slid into the front part of the full length back pocket (if the pen barrel is too big and interferes with the closure strap) to carry it across the top—see below.

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Van der Spek front pockets and pen loop insert in front part of full length pocket

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Van der Spek back pockets and pen loop insert on binder rings

Calendar/Schedule

The primary function of this planner is to manage my personal and family schedules. The Inkwell Press Classic format includes a month on two pages, vertical week on two pages, perpetual calendar, goal planning pages, and two additional dividers for ‘Extras’ and ‘Notes’ each with extra sheets which I’ll cover in a moment. I find the vertical weekly layout to provide the most room to capture everything needed as well as the easiest format to read. As many working mom’s know, keeping track of family activities can sometimes feel like running a small company—work schedules, school activities, doctors appointments, home/car service calls, family trips and other events, etc. Plus, as the kids get older and more independent, this juggling act gets more and more complimented. To make things easier to find on cluttered calendar, I use a color coding technique where each member of the family is assigned a color so I can locate their information quickly—you can read more about it here. I use the perpetual calendar to keep track of birthdays/anniversaries and special events, the monthly ‘Notes & Ramblings’ page as my monthly index—read more about it here—and am testing out the goal planning pages and monthly mission boards to track my 2016 goals; I’ll report back later in the year to let you know how it’s working out for me.

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Inkwell Press month on two pages layout

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Inkwell Press monthly mission board to track goals

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Inkwell Press ‘Classic’ format – vertical week on two pages layout, usually messier than this!

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Inkwell Press Classic insert monthly tabs

“Extras” Section

Inkwell Press provides a tab for ‘Extras’ where I keep lists (e.g. shopping, wishlists, deliveries, books to read, my custom designed ‘Gift Shopping List’—download it here), reference information (e.g. online resources, my custom designed ‘Inked Fountain Pens’ insert—download it here), and to track finances (also my own custom insert which will be available in the future! 😉 ). Inkwell Press provides a small number of pre-printed sheets like a Gift List, Travel Planning List, Book and Movie Lists and a Monthly Expenses worksheet which I’m not currently using because I’m using my own but I intend to try them at some point during the year to see if they’ll work for me.

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Inkwell Press ‘Extras’ and ‘Notes’ tab sections

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Inkwell Press ‘Extras’ section

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Inked Fountain Pen List custom insert–check out link above to download!

“Notes” Section

Also in the back, is a ‘Notes’ tab which serves as my ‘active workspace’. Again, Inkwell Press provides a small number of blank grid pages to capture whatever else you may need. Here is where I keep various task lists, brainstorm ideas, work on active projects, and plan my ongoing education. As a life long learner, blogger, and aspiring entrepreneur, I continue to invest time in my own personal and professional development so I schedule time for ‘learning’ just like when I was at university. Also in this section, is my ‘floating blog planner’—an extension of my dedicated blog planner—which I use to schedule and track my weekly blog activities as well as check for conflicts against my primary schedule—you can read more about here.

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Inkwell Press ‘Notes’ section

Tools

Of course, no planner would be complete without a collection of supporting tools. My writing tools of choice are a fountain pen (which I rotate regularly along with the ink), ballpoint pen (my favorite is the Papermate Profile 1.4B housed in a nice Target dollar spot pen, just trim off the end of the refill!), and a Cross Classic Century mechanical pencil (which is small and thin enough to be kept in the zipper pocket without creating any bulk) along with a small eraser. Other tools include a ruler, post-its and notepad paper in various sizes (a great way to use up Target and Michael’s $1 notepads!), weather and colored stickers (for color coding), an assortment of paperclips, and various dashboards. All in all, this well stocked binder enables me to plan anything, anywhere, anytime!

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The Happy Planner Post-its dashboard trimmed down and punched for A5

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Credit card slots housing some business cards and gift cards with small post-its stuck on them; OLI magnetic clips also shown

Summary

Now, you might be thinking “That’s a big chunky planner?! Do you lug that thing around everywhere?” The answer is ‘No’. I work remotely so my personal planner stays home—the only problem is lugging it around the house, lol! So now you must be thinking, “What if you need to refer to something when you go out?”. Well, I’ll be sharing the answer to that question next week in the next installment of the ‘Planner Setups for the New Year’ blog series. 😉

Do you have a personal or ‘primary’ planner? How is it setup and do you have any 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 4 of my planner setups for the New Year. :-)

Until next time,

♥ LilD ♥

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