Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Building a Planner (That Works) - The Pages

Hello again!

I'm back again with another chapter in "Building a Planner That Works".  Today, let's talk about the "nuts and bolts" of our planner... the pages. 

If you've read "Planning to be a Blessing" you know that there are only two types of pages you "need' in a planning notebook...

A calendar -- for appointments
Notepaper -- for everything else.

BUT you probably also know that printed planning pages can help you organize your thoughts and corral your ideas in ways that notepaper alone may not.  So how do you choose which pages to get without overwhelming yourself and/or breaking the bank?

Here are some ideas!

Start with Six - One of the best ways to begin a new planner or streamline an older one is to choose only one type of pages per tab of your tab set.  If you put one type of pages directly behind your cover sheet you have room for six types.  If you include the two "must haves" in your list - a calendar and note paper - that gives you four more slots to fill, or maybe one or two more if you combine things like Menu Planners and Shopping Lists, or Weekly Planning Pages  and To Do Lists.  Try not to combine unrelated pages, though.  They will be hard to find and might make you give up in frustration.

So, for example, here's a sample planner...

Cover Sheet, Calendar, Tab, Simplicity Pages, Tab, Weekly Menu Planner & Shopping Lists, Tab, Budget & Expense Log, Tab, Quiet Time Journal, Tab, Promise Pack Note Paper.

If, after you've read Planning to be a Blessing or browsed the GraceWorks shoppe,  you find your wish list of pages includes 10 or 20 different items, try to combine the pages into groups of five or six and make separate planners for each subject.  It will be easier to make a habit of grabbing your 'reading notebook' filled with Reader's Journals, Journal of Inner Beauty pages, some Abiding in Christ sheets and a little note paper when you get a chance to sit down with a book or your Bible, than it may be to grab your planning notebook and page through to a section stuffed so full with a variety of sheets that it is impossible to find what you want.

Think in Threes - Stock your planner with no more than three months worth of pages at a time.  While I may keep an entire yearly calendar in my planner for long-range planning, I've found that one to three months' worth of planning pages is plenty.  On or about the 25th of each month, I add another month's worth of pages to the end and remove the oldest ones, either tossing them or filing them in a storage binder, depending on their content.  The 'Rule of Threes' also works well for pages that are not made to cover a specific period of time.  Stock your planner with three pages and add a new one each time you use one up!

Try Ten - If you are not sure which pages will work for you try a number of ten-packs or Mini Sets and experiment.  There are SO many options that sometimes it takes a little trial and error.

Frustrated?  Flex! - Sometimes pages that you loved at one point just aren't working any more.  If you are frustrated with your planner, don't stick it in a closet or toss it all, just begin again!  I seem to go through this cycle every three to six months.  Sometimes I need to change binder sizes.  Sometimes I need a new "Master Plan" (we'll talk about this on Friday!), and sometimes I need to put all of my current pages in my storage binder and retool for my present needs.  In six months, as things change, I may find myself back in my storage binder pulling out the old pages again and they will look like familiar friends.  So don't be frustrated!  Flex!

Do you have any specific questions that I can address in this series?  I'd love to help if I can!



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