Planner Boredom vs. Consistency

I’m breaking away from my Mindful Living posts as I felt a strong urge to write this.  As most of you know, I’ve been using a Filofax Pocket Malden as my main planner since January 2016.  I may have added a companion notebook to the mix now and then, but have never switched out the planner itself since then.  Oh, I’ve thought about it – many, many times. mainly because, from time to time, I craved a bit more room. Others like to do so to keep things fresh, change up with the seasons or simply as a way to give the number of planners in their collection equal time.  Or maybe all those delicious planner accounts you religiously follow hypnotize you into thinking it’s time for a change out of plain ol’ boredom.  But, as what kept me from switching, is the change worth the cost of retaining consistency?

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Using Your Planner As A Personal Log

As 2016 came to a close, I already knew I had wanted to make 2017 more meaningful.  Stripping down to the basics, minimizing distractions, simplifying processes and ridding home and mind of clutter became crucial components to my plan for mindful living.  But I also wanted it to be purposeful, to find joy in even the small things, to capture moments in my personal, household and family life that I could recall in an instant.  Although I have a separate journal when I want to get into deeper detail, I found my daily planner becoming a wonderful substitute for logging brief tidbits about my day.  In between the tasks, errands, and appointments, I would sometimes log a little blurb that reflected something other than my schedule.


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Yearly Fold-Out for Pocket-Sized Planner

Annual foldout

By now most of you know that I had downsized to a Filofax Pocket Malden at the beginning of the year and am still going strong.  I even went one step further trying to turn it into my ‘one focused tool’ by eliminating using a companion notebook along with it.  In order to accomplish this, I had to do a little re-arranging as well as play around with inserts and plain paper to get it to take up the dual-job of planner and capture tool.  While doing so, I had designed some custom inserts in Excel – one of them being a yearly calendar.  I had never used one before as I never had use for it, not to mention it didn’t offer enough room to enter any information.  And in a pocket size, that room was cut in half!

Enter video from Kent From Oz (at 1:49) where he shows this very style calendar he made so I cannot take credit for the layout’s original idea, but I did make an attempt to re-create it.  It nicely fits 3 months on each side with ample room in each box.  I haven’t yet figured out what to use it for, but maybe by the new year I’ll figure something out!  However, for all you pocket planner peeps who may want to give this a whirl, I’m offering it here

Just click on the link below which opens up a Microsoft Excel document with two tabs across the bottom – one for the front side, one for the back (you change the months to whatever start date you wish)  The placement of the paper once you print the front side depends upon what type of printer you have.  If you have a laser/ink-jet style printer, it usually pulls the paper from the try to print on the opposite side, so after the front side prints, insert it back into your printer ‘printed side up’ so that it prints on the opposite side.  I printed mine off my office copier that prints on the top side of the paper when it pulls so you may have to do a test print or two.  The second tab for the back side is laid out so that the lines and boxes line up with those on the front (after way too much time fiddling around with the settings!)  as well as leaving enough of a margin for hole punching without cutting into the calendar it self.


Kent From Oz-inspired Yearly Fold-Out Calendar

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?


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Featured on Philofaxy


This is the second time the wonderful Steve Morton of Philofaxy has featured me in an article on his site.  The first time was this Under The Spotlight article that appeared last September when I was still using my Franklin Covey Classic Planner.

I have since downsized two sizes since then – happily and successfully using a Filofax Pocket Malden as my planner/wallet combo and companioning it with a bullet journal to take up the brunt end of the daily details.  You can read all about how I utilize this system in the Experienced User post over on the Philofaxy website that was featured on 6/19/16

Happy reading & planning!



How I Plan Weekly Meals

I think I have gotten either less spontaneous or too anal (in a detailed way!) as the years have gone by.  However, my idea of spontaneity is hub and I getting an 8pm craving, throwing coats on over our jammies and heading to Carvel.  It certainly isn’t deciding what to bring for breakfast and lunch to work as well as what to make for dinner that evening as I’m pretty much ready to head out the door for the office.  That usually resulted in either a hastily thrown-together meal, leftover appetizers from New Year’s Eve or take-out. I needed to consider a weekly plan.  Here’s what I came up with.

Meal Plan

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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.

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How I Successfully Downsized My Planner

As I had mentioned in my Blog Break Reflection post, one of my main goals for 2016 was to evaluate not just my planning system, but my planner itself.  At the time, I had been using my Franklin Covey Polka Dot since November. After adding sections, customizing inserts and stuffing in so much that I could be stranded on a desert island and still have everything I need, I realized that I had gone overboard (no pun intended!).  I needed to toss all the irrelevant stuff and go back to basics.  To streamline the process and rid myself of the additional weight I had added to it and keep only what I absolutely, truly need.  In order for me to do that, I realized that I had not only needed to downsize the contents, but the container itself.  Heads up – lots of photos and links to past posts follow!

Downsized planner

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The Article That Catapulted My Planner Journey

Let’s set the scene.

The year was 1995.  Where I was working at the time, we were still using DOS system and pin-feed printers (the kind that you feed green and white striped perforated paper into).  We had just gotten a shiny, pretty (translation: modern) computer where we installed this accounting software called QuickBooks and the bookkeeper in me had panicked because I didn’t know how to use it (today, I’m now a certified pro advisor, but I digress).  The internet was still a baby, I had a ‘car’ phone that came in a black case and plugged into my lighter.  Cell phones the size of credit cards that can house a plethora of mobile apps were most likely a speckle deep in the crevices of Steve Jobs’ brain.  Yes, we’re talking about the good ol’ days when ‘text’ was considered typed content –  on paper – , sending messages and documents required an envelope and postage, a phone call was the quickest way to get a hold of someone and people sitting across from each other in a restaurant actually ‘talked’ to each other.  There was no Hulu, Tivo or OnDemand so if I didn’t watch Melrose Place live on Monday’s at 9pm I was screwed until the repeats.

Oh, and my monthly subscription to Mademoiselle Magazine was delivered to my mail box, not my inbox.  I looked forward to each and every issue and greedily devoured articles.  Especially one particular one.

That set me on my planner journey path.

Article That Catapulted My Planner Journey

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How To Have Productive Time Off

I just returned from visiting my elderly parents in Florida for a week before stopping in SC on the flight home to visit my sister and brother-in-law in their new home for a few days.  It was the longest I had been away in quite some time and the first in YEARS that I didn’t have to log into the office to check/answer emails or worry about client work.  I actually relaxed and enjoyed.  Still, I didn’t just want to lay around watching AMC Horror-Fest and free movies On Demand all week.  Yes, I wanted this time off to be a recouperative one, but I also wanted it to be productive as well.

Time off

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