Thursday, July 9, 2015

How Many Dividers Do You Really Need Anyhow?

Any time in the past that I have ever started a DIY planner, I have always added 10 gazillion dividers to cover every area of my life.  I just didn't want to leave anything out that I might need to cover!  I never did use a planner like that longer than a few weeks - I found it to be extremely overwhelming. It was a year ago this month that I started thinking about using a planner again and I did the same thing - probably at least 12 dividers.

Thankfully, I discovered Kristy's blog before I got too deep into this time.  She blogs at Giftie, etc. and shares in detail how she plans - so check it out.  After a year of planning and only a couple of tweaks, I still use my planner the same way she shares with us on her blog and Facebook group.

I have 5 dividers in my planner:  Weekly, Monthly, Future, Blog, and Files.  I previously had Projects but combined it with my Files section (after culling the files and archiving pages I rarely used).

Weekly:  It is in the front of my planner and I use these week on 2 pages inserts the most frequently.  I list appointments (taken from my Monthly tab), day specific tasks and day specific reminders.  I do not have a section for daily pages because I rarely use them, but when I do I put the page in the middle of my week on 2 pages spread.

Monthly:  I use these page less frequently.  I list all appointments and bill due dates and at the first of the month write these in my weekly pages.  My weekly pages are printed out for a month at a time but if I make an appointment in the middle of the month, they still get written down in my monthly pages first.  At the beginning of the week I also glance over the monthly spread to make sure nothing was forgotten.

Future:  I really like the concept of future pages.  I don't have a year's worth of monthly pages in my planner at one time and I certainly don't have next years pages.  Future pages give me a way to record events that will happen in the future.  At the first of the month, or when I put new monthly pages in my planner, I check my future pages for items to transfer to my monthly pages.  For me, it is usually homeschool events that are planned a year ahead of time, bills that are due every 3 or 6 months (like insurance), and I have been known to write down the premiere of a television show I am following.

Blog:  I don't use this as frequently as I thought I might but I still like to have this divider.  I have a blog calendar as well as topics and ideas for future blog posts.

Files:  My last section is files with A-Z dividers.  This is where a lot of the things go that I would have previously made a divider for.  For example, instead of having a divider for health or medical, I have a OTC Medication List field under "M".  Instead of pets, I have a page named Claire (our dog) where I have listed her vet's number, as well as the prices for her heart med and flea med supply.  How do I keep up with what is where?  This is another tip from Gifte!  I have an index page behind my File divider where I list everything I add. If I take something out of files and add it to my archive planner, I just cross it off my index page.  After so many items have been crossed off, I just make a new index page.

That's it.  That's what has worked for me this past year.  If I had not discovered this way of planning, I seriously doubt I would have kept it up.  I am amazed at how well this system works and how much it has changed my life in little ways.  Be sure to visit Kristy's blog and Facebook page - you'll be glad you did!


  1. Four. #1 Capture - most people call it a dashboard; hold over from my GTD experiment. #2 Focus - pictures, prayers, quotes, and a mirror - who's the one person I'm trying to get organized for? Me. Also good for checking that there's no spinach between the teeth. When the day runs away from me, these are what I go through to get centered and
    re-focused. #3 Planner/Calendar - Wo2P with accompanying lists and notes. #4 Files A-Z Tabs. Projects are in the P section . These are my basic 4. More than that, and I'm flopping around like a fish out of water.

  2. I like that, even though you based your planner on my set-up, you are still developing your own style and focusing on your needs. A lot of systems fail just because no system works for everybody! There is a balance between using a system as a springboard and tweaking it to make it your own. You seem good at striking that balance.