With life getting seemingly busier with each passing season, it’s important to rely on a planning system that allows you to successfully capture and process all of the information that’s coming into your life. Since I have been getting a lot of questions about my planning system, I’ll be sharing an overview of that with you today.
My planning system has both analog and digital components. The reason for this is that I’ve found it to be simply impossible to restrict myself to paper planning only, because of the sheer amount of information that streams into my life each day. In order to ensure that all of this is properly dealt with, I’ve devised the following three-step system.
1. Daily Planning: Bullet Journal
Every evening, I sit down at my desk and draw up a list for the next day in my bullet journal, which is a dotted, A5 Leuchtturm1917 notebook. On that list, I write down any appointments or events that are taking place and any projects that I want to get done that day.
Then, I break down all of my projects into smaller steps. For example, instead of simply writing down “laundry”, I break the task down further into actionable steps: fold, put away, put in a new load, and hang laundry to dry on the drying rack. In breaking down my tasks this way, I easily see where I may have gone wrong if a project doesn’t get finished.
If anything pops up during the day that needs my attention, I deal with it in one of two ways. If it’s a small task, which can be done in two minutes or less, I do it immediately. If it’s a larger project, I note it down in my weekly planner or in my future planner, depending on how time-sensitive the thing that popped up is.
At the end of each day, I review both my list and any information about tasks, appointments or events that may have come in that day. Then, with the help of my weekly planner and, sometimes, my future planner, I draw up a plan for the following day.
2. Weekly/Monthly Planning: Erin Condren Life Planner
While a bullet journal is an incredibly flexible system to use for upcoming plans, I’ve found that it just doesn’t work for me. Instead, I use a ring-bound, vertical Erin Condren Life Planner* which is functional and has the added bonus of being quite pretty.
I use my planner to store any appointments and events that are scheduled to take place in the short-term, like the current week, but also to keep track of those that are coming up in the long-term, like the next twelve months. I write down appointments and events in the monthly section of the planner as soon as they come up, and then transfer them over to the weekly view as needed.
When it comes to drawing up a plan for the day in my bullet journal, then, I refer to my Erin Condren Life Planner so that I know how much time I have to work on specific projects. For example, on a day where I have back-to-back appointments, I’ll know not to schedule in a five-hour study session.
At the end of each week, I first transfer all of the relevant appointments and events from the monthly view into the view of the upcoming week. Then, I review all of my daily planning lists and all of the projects I had planned for that week, and check to see if any follow-up tasks are necessary. If so, I write them down in my weekly sidebar.
Next, I draw up a general plan for the upcoming week and try and plan the projects that I want to work on according to the time available. As a student, my current schedule varies per week, so, at the end of each day, I review that general weekly plan and tweak it where necessary.
3. Future Planning: Todoist
The final component in my three-step system is what I use for future planning: the Todoist app, which you can use on your phone and on your computer.
Todoist serves, essentially, as my Master Task List. It houses all of the projects I’m currently working on; the projects I will be working on once my current projects are finished; and notes and ideas for projects I want to work on in the future. If I think of a task that can be done as part of a project, I add it into the app, and sort it into the right folder.
It is also the place where I store my morning and my evening routine. You can set-up the app to prompt you with a list of tasks to be done at whichever time you want, and I’ve set those tasks to repeat daily.
Finally, the app serves as my on-the-go-planner. If, for some reason, I am unable to take note of anything that needs my attention later on, like an appointment, event, project or even an errand I need to run, I put it into my Todoist inbox, and deal with it at the end of the day during my daily review.
Once a month, I review all of the projects in the app, and check to see if they are still relevant to my life. Any projects or tasks that are not get deleted.
So that’s an overview of my planning system. What does your planning system look like? And do you prefer analog or digital planning?
*The outbound links provided are affiliate and/or referral links. They don’t cost you anything, but I do receive a small commission and/or store credit if you make a purchase using those links – thank you for supporting this blog!