If you’re an avid planner user, you may understand the thrill of smelling a fine crafted leather planner, the appeal of starting a new blank page, or writing with a freshly inked pen. It is the lure of a plannernerd. 🙂 As a result, some will choose to be faithful to one planner while others will compartmentalize areas of their life and dedicate a special planner to each area (yes, we’re always looking for reasons to use all the beautiful planners in our collection!). As a multi-planner user, I’ve recently introduced one more tool into my rotation to manage the flow of information throughout all my planners. So what’s my secret?
In the beginning of this year, I wrote a 4-part blogpost series titled ‘New Year Planner Setups’ (check out these links for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4) describing my work (letter-size), blog (A5 size), on-the-go (personal size), and primary (A5 size) planner setups. While this works well for me, sometimes an idea or thought would come to mind while working in one planner that belongs in another planner. When this happens, I have to stop, locate the other planner, and log the information as quickly as possible hoping I don’t forget or get distracted along the way! That’s when the concept of having a planner ‘inbox’ occurred to me. My goal was to have a small, portable tool to capture all this information swirling in my head throughout the day—my mind is constantly in overdrive and very hard to shut off!—that could be sorted out into the appropriate planners at the end of the day.
My ‘inbox’ planner is a junior size (equivalent to a Filofax pocket size) Van der Spek binder that I won in a Philofaxy contest (yay!). Those familiar with VDS planners know of the impeccable quality of their handmade leather binders so I was excited to add this gorgeous little guy to my rotation. I set up three divider sections: the first with unused 2015 Filofax weekly pages, the second with lined, graph, and blank sheets, and the last with a ‘brain dump’ prompt list to help me identify any other items I might’ve forgotten.
With a small planner in hand, stocked with plenty of blank pages, I decided to let this ‘inbox’ system evolve organically. So far, I’ve been using the first section as my inbox, to capture those thoughts and ideas that pop-up throughout the day. Since the first section is stocked with old 2015 weekly pages, I consider it ‘scrap paper’—a ‘one time use’ page that gets thrown away at the end of the day. I start off by crossing out the old date range pre-printed on the sheet to write in the current day of the week and date at the top of the page. This helps me remember what day I captured the notes in case I don’t get a chance to transfer them to the appropriate planner in the evening. This process eventually evolved to my thinking how convenient it would be to also have the day’s schedule—or daily plan—handy in this portable package. So I started including the appointments, top 3 tasks, and any other ‘must do’ tasks for the day from my primary and blog planners. Throughout the day, I refer to this page, checking off items as they are completed and making sure I don’t miss any appointments in addition to capturing notes or thoughts that come to mind in a bullet journal fashion (a simple planning method where all items are captured in a checklist format and categorized using letters or symbols). At the end of the day, I review the information, transfer it to the appropriate planner, then tear up the page and prepare a new one for the next day.
I’ve found that this has been a great way to use up old planner pages and stay focused throughout the day. I don’t do any planning in this planner—it’s just a capture tool—and keeping an eye on the day’s plan is a welcome bonus! The second section I’ve reserved for capturing long notes if I don’t have the appropriate planner handy—e.g. if I’m on a webinar or conference calls—and to brainstorm ideas. The last section, as mentioned, above is just for reference.
Now you might be thinking, ‘But don’t you have an on-the-go planner for that?’. My on-the-go planner is for when I leave the house and that planner stays in my purse and only has monthly pages so I can refer to them if I’m out and need to schedule an appointment. I work from home so using two A5 planners (blog and primary) isn’t much of a problem because they stay in my home office if I need to refer to them throughout the day but carrying them around along with my letter-size work planner can get to be a bit much! My planner ‘inbox’, on the other hand, is extremely portable so it’s easy to carry around the house and has eliminated the problem of having to stop mid-thought to switch over to another planner to log new information. It’s nicer than capturing random notes on a stack of Post-its and has become the ‘glue’ of my multi-planner system. 🙂
Are you a multi-planner user? How do you handle managing information across planners? Please share in the comments below!
If you found this post helpful or know someone it could help, please like, subscribe, and share on social media!
Until next time,
♥ LilD ♥