The Evolution of my Planning System
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I’ve spent a lot of time experimenting with different planning systems.
The Digital Planning System
For the most part, in the past, I’ve stuck to digital systems.
My preferred solution was a combination of Google Calendar for time blocking, and various to-do list apps to keep track of actions.
Google Calendar kept me focused on what I should be doing when.
And Trello helped me plan my life.
But it never quite worked. I hated looking at my phone during meetings at work, and then I forgot to write down key dates or capture actions. Plus, I would spend ages setting these things up, and then forget to update them.
So I started to look for a paper-based planner.
Enter the Spark Planner
Initially I used the Spark Planner (now renamed as the Volt planner). I really liked the combination of monthly and weekly views. It was my first experience of a paper planning system, and it was a bit of a revelation. I could carry it around with me! I could have it out during meetings and it made me look organised instead of distracted!
Tracking my to-do list in the Volt planner never really happened and instead I mainly used it for appointments.
I also didn’t use many of the weekly goals or 30 day challenge pages, and the shipping from the USA was prohibitive. However, I do think the Volt Planner is a great option for a lot of people.
Finding the Passion Planner
When the shipping costs got too high, I started looking around for another planner option – and discovered the Passion Planner.
I promptly fell in love with the cover colours and pictures, and ordered myself one. It turned up, and I was a little shocked at the size – it’s A4 – but soon got used to it. I carry it around in my backpack, and I actually love having all the space to write in.
Mostly what I like about it is that it’s half bullet journal, and half planner. So it’s flexible enough that I can use it in different ways, but I don’t get that terrible intimidation of the blank page.
I usually sit down on a Sunday evening and fill out my plan for the week. The above is a fairly typical week – though I ended up filling this out on Monday, as I was travelling on the Sunday!
How I use the Passion Planner
The blue highlights when I am at work. I jot down my meal plan in the empty space – I love that empty space – and I block out any appointments e.g. the board games.
It’s important to me that it isn’t too ‘pretty’, but I do try and tick things off with a green pen and cross out things I didn’t do in a red pen.
Lots of people love using stickers, and multiple colours – making their planner into a work of art! There are some great examples on Pinterest. Here’s a couple I love:
The key to my planning system is to then carry my planner around with me and make sure I update it as I go.
Here’s the same plan, a week later:
I record any actions in the ‘Work’ or ‘Personal’ To-Do List, but then assign them to a day. This lets me know when things will happen. It also lets me see when I’m running out of time to fit everything in! Effectively, it’s a combination of tick-lists and time-blocking.
I do use the pages at the back for some more colourful spreads:
Truthfully, my handwriting isn’t nice enough to turn my Passion Planner into a photogenic spread! But it’s functional and practical, and I love it.
How do you plan your week? What is your favourite planning system?