Ways To Use Your Planner’s A-Z Tabs

In this post I explained how I was able to successfully downsize my planner from a personal to a pocket-sized Filofax Malden ringed binder.  Since A-Z tabs had always been a crucial part of my early planning days, I decided to bring that component back using A-Z labels I printed and stuck over the dividers that came with the planner that were labeled 1-6 instead.

Since my pocket planner also doubles as my wallet, it’s become twice the workhorse at half the size.  It only holds what does not or rarely changes while my bullet journal takes up the chore of housing daily pages, project management, idea mapping, menu planning, ever-changing lists and tasks.  This enables me to keep the pocket limited to only (5) main components: Wallet, calendar, reference (A-Z), receipt holder and spending log.  And those tabs are get double-duty as well, storing more than just contacts.

A-Z Tabs For Reference

This section provides a great place to house not only basic contact information such as addresses/phone numbers/email addresses, but to use as a filing/indexing system for information you may need to reference on a regular basis. Below are the different types of contact/note inserts that came with the planner – along with one of my own I made – that allow for a endless customization possibilities:

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So here’s just a few ways in which I’m using these:

Lists.  Aside from the ones I make in my bullet journal, lists I want to keep for an undetermined amount of time (where I don’t have to worry about migrating over to a new notebook) stay filed in the A-Z sections. These are basically lists that do not fluctuate other than maybe adding to them. My husband and I shop for specific bulk items at both Costco and Restaurant Depot so I made a list of these items (‘C’ for Costco and ‘R’ for RD), along with the quantity and price.  I also keep a list of Clean Eating Foods (under ‘C’)I like to have on hand.  I’m also going to make a list of all the clothes I keep at my parents house in FL (under ‘P’ for packing) so I don’t over-pack when I visit.

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Meds.  Hub takes prescription medication for various conditions, including three different types for his arthritis.  I had him type up a list that I minimized, folded and hole-punched to fit the pocket rings (under ‘M’ for meds – duh!).  I also took a photo and uploaded it to OneNote where I can access it from my phone in case my planner isn’t handy (which is pretty much…..never – lol – but it’s good to have backup of these things).  And the last time my sister visited my elderly parents she wrote up a list of their meds and doctors for me and keep that sheet folded and filed in there too.  And speaking of doctors…….

Doctors.  Even though I have my individual physician contact info listed under the appropriate letter, I keep a separate list for hubs’.  I don’t have memorized which doctor he goes to for what.  So, under ‘D'(for…..oh, you know what for!) I keep his doctors’ name and in (  ) what type (ie: primary, rheumatologist, etc.)  And between a bad chest cold and tendonitis in my elbow, I’ve been to the doctor’s more in the last two months than I’ve been in 2 years.  So I made a small page to track my visits for certain ailments because I know at some point I’m going to be asked, “when’s the last time you had that checked?”

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Grocery Shopping For the last three weeks, I’ve been using the colored-lined notepaper that came with the planner for my weekly shopping list.  I insert it in between my weekly calendar pages.  Since I use a deconstructed Moleskine Weekly Diary week-on-1-page-w/notes (which are larger in diameter than the w-o-2-p that came with the planner), the notepaper doesn’t completely cover the page underneath.  I add to this list, including (sales) price and whether or not I have coupons or rebates on my Ibotta app.  After my trip, I remove the list and file it (under ‘S’ for shopping – surprise, surprise!).  I discovered that stores usually rotate their sale prices every 6-8 weeks, so I decided to keep track of when the last time a specific item was on sale and at what price, then toss them.  I also like to note what the regular price is so I can see if the store is doing any funny business by jacking it up at sale time. Yes, they’re quite messy, but as long as I can decipher them, then it’s all good 🙂

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Current week’s shopping list between my calendar pages
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Previous shopping lists filed under ‘S’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bank Info.  We have several accounts in two different bank between household, hub’s business and mine.  I keep a page for each bank with the name, branch location and number at the type, then list the account name and number below.  I also include the bank’s routing # as well, just in case.  They’re then filed alphabetically  – ‘W’ for Webster and ‘U’ for Union (like I really had to spell that out!)

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TrackingWhen was my last color/highlight appointment?  When did we change the batteries in the smoke detectors? When did I last backup the computer? When was the date of my last (___) visit? Is it time for my vehicles oil change/tire rotation appt. at the dealer? When did I have my blood work done last?  Yes, I could very well list these on my dated calendar (and they are), but how will I know which date to go back to?   I know it’s time to make my color appointment (the bits of gray peeking out from the roots and laughing at me when I look in the mirror tell me so!).  I usually stretch out my visits every 2-3 months so I always look up my last appt.  Was it December?  OY, then I have to pull out my 2015 inserts.  Was it January?  Okay, flip through the January pages until I find it.  Instead, I made a page to keep track of items I need to quickly check the last date of.  Can you guess what letter I file it under?  If you guessed ‘T’ for tracking, you’re a winner!

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These are just a few ways I’m using these A-Z tabs (and I’m sure I’ll think of more as time goes on).  They’ve become such a flexible tool going beyond keeping basic contact information with lots of potential.  I know there are many other planner setups out there that are more elaborate and detailed than this, but since downsizing, I’ve been enjoying keeping it simple, yet functional, which results in less stress.  As long as it works for me and it jives with my daily jam, then that’s all that matters.  Always do what works best for you, but if you can take anything away from my humble, little setup then I’ve done my job!!

Until next time 🙂

Elena

 

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7 thoughts on “Ways To Use Your Planner’s A-Z Tabs

  1. This is the best explanation of A-Z tabs I’ve seen. I’ve always liked the idea, but never really had anything to put in them. But, really, I just don’t have *enough* to put in them. A 6 section one would work, though, seeing as it’s not the whole alphabet (and then so many different sections going unused) but still more than enough space for everything.

    • Thank you Jessica. Unless I was keeping a mass amount of contacts, I don’t need one section for every letter of the alphabet. If I ever go back to a compact, I most definitely will as I’ll have the room, but this is working splendidly right now

  2. Great explanation and lots of good ideas! I started using A-Z tabs in my personal binder last year, and it’s simplified my life enormously! Things are easy to find and no need to have a separate section for every little thing. 😉

    • Indeed having limited space forces me to put only what’s needed in the pocket. If I was still in my compact planner with the nice, big 1″ rings I’d be so tempted to stuff it, which turned it into a brick.

  3. I love that you’re going strong with your Pocket. I couldn’t make it past two weeks. Switched back to a Personal, but my solution was to get a lighter planner. So ditched my heavy leather planners. It’s working out alright. I love your use of A-Z tabs. I’ve thinking about working it into my system. Thanks for explaining your system, I’m definitely going to borrow some of the ideas.

    • I do miss my compact polka-dot something fierce, but I really am enjoying the pocket. I think I just like holding it 🙂 Its so soft and supple and fits like a glove in my hand!

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