Let’s talk about planners and to-do lists

Let’s talk about planners and to-do lists

Planner Pad

Like most of my fellow type-A’ers, I have a thing for office supplies, calendars, and planners. There’s nothing quite like turning to a fresh page in your planner or looking back at a page of completed tasks.

My problem is that I tend to get “planner blindness” after a certain amount of time, which means that every planner I’ve tried has eventually lost effectiveness for me, forcing me to switch to something new. I’m not quite sure why this happens, and it hasn’t been something I’ve been able to really figure out or control; I just switch systems when it happens and continue on my way.

My longest running system was the Daily Planner from Invite.l, which I used for more than a year. Again, I’m not sure what happened, but ever since I abandoned that one, I’ve mostly stuck to Steno pads and notebooks for running to-do lists. (Because as much as I love planners, I don’t want to spend money on them just to shove them in a drawer after a month or two!)

However, at the beginning of August, Anne posted a picture of her planner on Instagram with a caption about organizing and recording all of her various scraps from the previous week as she began planning for the coming one. I was intrigued by the layout of the planner and the many comments from people who also use Planner Pads, and I immediately hopped on their site to get an idea of how it worked.

The idea is simple: each week gets a two-page spread that includes 7 separate to-do lists across the top, daily task lists in the middle, and appointments at the bottom. It works as a funnel, allowing you to write to-do lists by category or project, then assign those tasks to various days, and then give them a specific time slot on the agenda.

There is also a sidebar for calls to make and expenses (I use this section for grocery/shopping lists) plus a blank page for notes and a full-page monthly calendar at the beginning of each month.

Because we’re so close to the end of 2015, they have a great selection of 2015 planners on sale, which seemed like the perfect way to try this system out for myself. And I’ve been hooked since it arrived!

This planner has been a game-changer for me as I juggle Life Your Way, my work for Ultimate Bundles, homeschooling, tutoring and more. I’ve always categorized my to-do lists, but I love that those separate lists are built in to these pages so that I’m not guesstimating how much space to leave for each list or trying to create my own sections. And I love having a written calendar in my planner for scheduling appointments, making plans, etc.

It’s not a cheap system (which is why I recommend starting with a clearance planner!), but they do offer a money-back guarantee, and the difference it’s made has been worth every penny. Now if I can just figure out how to make this one stick longterm!

Do you use a planner? Do you switch systems often or stick with the same one long term?

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Hi! I use planners as I usually juggle multiple projects at the same time and I need to keep everything on track. I tend to rely on handmade ones such as the old and the traditional to-do lists where I tick tasks off as I move forward with them. I’ve used those project management tools for group projects.

  2. I love my calendar planner, but I don’t really get into those big planners that a lot of people use (like Plum Planner). I’ve just started using Tsh’s Daily Docket and I love it!

  3. I really love my calendar planner. It’s a DIY one with week on 2 pages view. I made my printables from scratch in my computer as I’d not found the Right one. I write everything there, meal plans, grocery shopping list, cleaning tasks, blog post schedule but it’s quite large (A4 size) and heavy so I’m planning to DIY a small A5 size Day Planner for 2016 (additional to the large one) to carry in my handbag.

  4. I tend to jump around with planners as well, never finding one that works long term – but always on the look out for a new one. I found Planner Pads a while ago – it’s the only one that I can stay with long term! And it’s the week view with the categorized lists that works for me! (I don’t have to rewrite tasks I didn’t do again the next day.) This year I have an Erin Condren life planner (vertical weekly layout) and I have used it with the Planner Pad “system”. In one row of blocks I have my Task Lists, in the next I have my notes for each day, and in the last line I have my appointments. It is working amazingly well. There are lines below each day that I put my Bible Reading plan and meal planning on. I can write the tasks specific to a day in that days notes. There is a spot for Thankful Thoughts this year and I put Scripture down the notes column that I want to memorize or be mindful of during the week. You could also put your grocery list there. I like that it’s “pretty” (which Planner Pads aren’t so much) and that I can stick it in my bag and take it anywhere.

  5. I’ve been using google keep – which I definitely recommend. It feels like digital sticky notes. I can jot a note, create a checklist or even attach an image. The result is a collection of notes and to-dos. To archive, just swipe to the side, and only “actionable” items are left. Things I want to remember long term I might add a label to like “recipe” or “wishlist”, or I can set a reminder before I archive and it will pop back when I need it again. Everything is searchable, so I will even copy chunks of interesting things I read online and immediately archive for later.

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