Making My Planner Accessible To Others

Here I wrote about how the month of June was such a successful blessing to me.  But as soon as July rolled around the corner – 7/5/16 to be exact – I had been sent into a medical tailspin that all started with a massive migraine, stiff neck and mysterious red rash around my neck.  One trip to urgent care, 2 trips to the ER, 4 visits to my primary doctor, 1 visit to a neurologist, CAT scan, ultrasound, lumbar puncture, 3 blood tests, a ‘possible’ diagnosis for Lyme Disease and several different meds that only led to other issues instead of treating my initial malady had stolen time, peace and sanity from life for two weeks straight.  Although I wasn’t in any way convalescent or unable to communicate, my recouperative down-time had me contemplating how my husband would be able to either retrieve information or find any pertinent notes in either my planner or bullet journal should I ever be in that position.  I know my setup and what goes where, but exactly how accessible is it to someone in the event of an emergency?


Fortunately, my medical issue didn’t turn into something worse than it was.  But as I said above, it did cause me to ponder how my husband would be able to step in and get things done if I were  physically unable to.  My planner contains a week-on-1-page-w/-notes inserts where every event, every appointment, every trash night, every direct deposit, every debit withdrawal, every deadline that I know of as of the moment is logged through the end of the year. It notes when certain transfers have to be made to different checking accounts as well as a list of said accounts in the A-Z section.  It’s an overall big picture of the most important tasks.  My bullet journal, however, provides me a place to make an expanded view of my day, transfer any of the MITs from my planner over and add anything new as needed, including any pertinent notes about what went on that day.  During the course of this medical mayhem, I kept meticulous notes on the daily page of my bullet journal regarding how I was feeling, what med I took and when, conversations with the doctor, when headaches flared, etc.   Here’s a sample of what a typical day or two looked like:



For me, it was easy to put everything pertaining to that day – tasks, regular notes, medical notes, etc – on that daily page, then just begin a new one the next day.  I would think that anyone who opened my bullet journal would be able to navigate it as the days and dates are clearly listed.  Tasks that need to be done have an open check box, filled-in means they’re done and notes are a dot.  For these specific medial notes, I wrote in green so they’d stand apart.  To me, this made sense both functionally and visually.  However, the way my brain processes information is not the way my husband’s does.  I think in list format.  He needs more of a visual.  Example:  Whenever we get directions from MapQuest, I’m perfectly happy with the linear, door-to-door  directions whereas he needs a printout of the map.  Because this is how my brain works, my planning system follows suit.  Structured, but with enough freedom to add and play around.  But if for some reason I had become incapacitated or, God forbid, unconscious, would my husband’s visual brain be able to decipher my linear system?  Would he know which one to go to and for what information?  Not to underestimate him, but, knowing how his brain works, I fear that he would feel like he’s at a 4-way intersection and not know which way to turn.  He needs things carefully explained and spelled out to him rather than just blindly diving in.

During one of my recoup days, this video popped up in my recommended feed on Youtube from Jim Engel.  The Franklin Covey system had always intrigued me ever since I began working for my boss who had used it for years.  I was particularly intrigued by Jim quoting Hiram Smith, a Franklin Institute teacher, who stressed that, “you need to have one central calendar.  Blend your life into one focused tool”.  Right now, my pocket planner and companion bullet journal work well together.  I know where to go to for what purposes and what information is contained in each.  But….would anyone else in the event of an emergency?

I’m not about to sound the alarm of a planner emergency or ditch my system on the spot.  First and foremost, it needs to work ‘for me’ as I’m the one in and out of it all day long.  But the last 10 days made me realize that I should consider finding a happy balance between what I need and making it accessible to others (mainly my husband) during a crisis.  In doing so, I would need to condense my dual system into that ‘one focused tool’ to combine the needs of my planner and bullet journal.  I know it can be done.  I lived with using one planner for years.  I would most likely have to upsize back to a personal/compact size rings in order to accommodate the two as well as re-think which inserts would make the most sense without over-stuffing, duplication or confusion.  It’s not just about my planner working for me, but for us.  It needs to be able to speak my language first, but also so that my husband understands without  needing an interpreter!

So, over the course of the next few weeks, I’m going to be using the pages of my bullet journal as well as my Filofax Pocket Malden as a testing grounds to experiment with different informational layouts before deciding upon my ‘one focused tool’.  As for my full-time job, that aspect must stay separate as my work tasks are just too varied (and sometimes massive) to blend in.    We’ll see!

Till next time,



3 thoughts on “Making My Planner Accessible To Others

  1. Your recent posts really have me thinking. Not just about my planner but also about documenting how I do what I do on a weekly and monthly basis. My husband wouldn’t know what bills to pay or when, or even how to access the primary bill-paying account (which he signs on but has never accessed). Just yesterday he woke me up early to have me call the water company to report a break in the main – he doesn’t know the name of the utility company. Under normal circumstances this is fine but how frustrating it would be for him if something sidelined me. Your blog post should run as a Public Service Announcement!

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