Have you ever felt like you were in a planning rut? Start the year with some new planning ideas. We have several master planners right here at FranklinPlanner.com, and each of them plans differently. We decided it might be fun to share a few of their tips with you.
“A couple of years ago, my planner was stolen from my car. That was terrible! I lost everything—I keep my whole life in my planner. Now I make sure to keep it with me at all times.
“I’m a very structured planner. I follow the original planning method that Hyrum Smith taught when he started the Franklin planning system. This year I’m using a Seasons planner. The tasks on my Prioritized Daily Task list are ranked with ABC 123, and I use the appropriate marks for completed, delegated, forwarded, etc. I like to keep a space between my work-related tasks and my other tasks, so I can see at a glance what I need to work on at any time of day.
“I use my monthly calendar tabs constantly. I mark important events there so I know at a glance when they happened. For more details, I just turn to the specific day in my planner. This year when I wrote my Christmas letter, my monthly tabs made it easy to note the details about what my children have been doing and where they are in their busy lives.
“I have a contacts list on my computer, but I like to print it off and keep it in my planner so I always have important numbers whenever I might need them. I also have other address lists that I copy and shrink to fit in my planner.
“I love to read, so I keep a section in my planner that lists my favorite books as well as the books I’m interested in reading.
“I find that being consistent in the way I plan helps me focus on more important things, like my family, my job, and the things I do with my church.”
“I start planning with my 2-page monthly tabs. They’re the ideal place to record upcoming events. I keep track of future meetings, community events I’m involved with, and when employees are going to be off work. I meet with a superior on a monthly basis, and the backside of the two-page monthly tabs is the perfect place to keep notes and questions that I want to discuss during that meeting. As questions arise I just jot them there, so I don’t forget what I want to talk about each month.
“I don’t use my daily pages every day—sometimes I just stick with my routine. When I have meetings, however, I move ahead in my planner to the day of the meeting and write down all that I need to discuss in that meeting on the Notes page. And when I’m in meetings, I write my tasks on the Prioritized Daily Task List. It gives me quick recall of what we talked about.
“I like the 7 Habits planner because its Prioritized Daily Task List is divided into three sections. I use one section for work, one for my family events, and another for church and community events. I also like the Special Days form because it helps give me a theme for meetings and events as I plan them.”
“If you’d had the opportunity to hear Hyrum Smith teach about planning, you’d use a planner. I went to a training years ago and left feeling like I had just been taught the secret of life. It was a great moment. When I got home and started implementing the things I had been taught, I realized that my personality required a slightly different approach.
“I’m a task-oriented planner. I like to keep track of the things I need to do and check them off when they’re done. I prefer a weekly view because I can keep track of my tasks a week at a time without flipping through pages. I don’t really appreciate being told which day I’m supposed to do something—even by my planner. With a weekly view, if a task isn’t completed one day, it’s still there for me to work on tomorrow.
“When I learn of things I need to do later in the month or year, I jump ahead and write it on my To-Do list for that week. That way I don’t have to hold it in my memory. I’d forget it for sure. The FC Studio planner lets me see what I need to accomplish before week’s end. It’s bright and easy to read, and loaded with a lot of fun, bright colors.
“I like the Memories section on the pages. It’s fun to go back and read them later. Here’s one, ‘Slept outside on the trampoline. Husband went inside at three am—the kids went inside at six—left me outside alone. Won’t sleep on the trampoline again.’ It’s great. That was not a comfortable night’s sleep, but sleeping out on the tramp is like a rite of passage. Now that’s done, and we have a family memory.
“The monthly tabs are helpful too. I use them to track big events. Sometimes I use colored washi tape to block off vacations. I’ve even used different colored tape in the planner for different family members so I can see at a glance who is doing what. It helps when things get really busy.”
However you plan, the best suggestion we can give is to stick with it. Hopefully, reading about the different ways that some of us plan has inspired you to keep working on your own planning routine. Perhaps we’ve given you some new ideas to try this coming year. Good luck, and happy planning.