There was a lot I wanted to accomplish in my 2019 writing practice AND there was a lot going on in my job. To balance work/personal/writing life, I turned to a planner. Well, I went through several planners to get to my current system.
Why a paper planner when I’ve used Jorte for years?
2018 was very stressful for me and there was a lot I was tracking. My Jorte calendar was too cluttered. Looking at it created my anxiety than it alleviated. And nothing is as satisfying as checking, crossing out, or highlighting a task or series of tasks. Paper and pen is a comfort for me in times of high anxiety.
My Organizational Journey
I started with a huge monthly desk calendar. BUT in the first week it became clear that there was TOO much for even the largest monthly wall calendar. I needed a monthly and weekly glance.
Next purchase was a Simplified Planner. It had a hard cover with gold edges and bright cheery colors within. The weekly view let me carve out the time I worked vs my “free time” and it gave me a heads up regarding what was pending. It’s major drawback was combining the Saturday/Sunday in the weekly view. As a retail person I need the most detail on my Saturday/Sunday either when I work or when I have it off. Most things in my life happen on these days.
So I moved on to an Inner Guide Planner and a paper journaling system in July. The Inner Guide gave me more than a full 7 day a week spread, it also helped me make monthly goals in different categories like the professional, creative, family, fun, etc. This helped me figure out what I was spending time on and if it was what I wanted to spend time on. This planner helped crystallized the need to change day jobs, and it helped refocus me on my novel publication countless times. I think most people would find the Inner Guide Planner of immense value, especially for its price point. It was $32 and even using it only from July-Dec, I got that value back.
A blank journal gave me freedom and space to write whatever whenever. Lists, complaints/venting, future plans, progress reports, research, etc. It also gave me unlimited space, and I’m long winded.
However, I wanted more. I wanted a space to write my plans and goals and another space to record actual progress on those goals. There wasn’t enough space in a weekly planner for that so I did some research and purchased a She Plans Daily Planner.
I love this planner. It’s a quarterly softbound sewn book I carry with me and make notes regarding the way I spend my time. At a glance I can see how much time I spend working, blogging, on social media, or “wasting time” gaming/watching YouTube by color blocking my day off using the half hour 6-8:30 pm marks provided in they system. There’s an untimed space for “to do” where I make notes on ideas/shopping needs/tasks as they come to me and review them each week to prioritize what I need or should plan out. There’s a space for inspiration I fill out with a writing quote every day. Tracking my time helps me clarify what I want and what I’m willing to do to get it done.
And all this lead me to 2020 organizational routine. For 2020 I have a desk full of plans to keep me on track with my writing, health, and work. I will share the current 2020 system in my next post and talk about moving forward. I hope this post helped offer some tools you could use to help you achieve your goals. Are you a planner or a seat of the pants type writer? Do you have goals and what do you do if you meet them? What do you do when you don’t reach your goals? Do you have a favorite tool: what is it and why?