Wednesday, October 14, 2015

[31 Days #14] The Importance of a System for Successful Planning by Giftie Etcetera

Peeking at someone else’s planner is a lot like digging through her closet. You see it all – the mess, the chaos, and the shameful “fat clothes” tucked behind the rain boots. So why would anyone invite you in to see her planner?

For me, it’s an acknowledgement that everyone has “fat clothes” - even the skinniest among us. We have something somewhere that is embarrassing and shows our lack of faith in ourselves. By sharing a picture of the insides of my planner (or my closet), I remind others that no one is perfect, but we still survive.

One look at a picture of the inside on my planner will make you question how I even make something so messy and convoluted work for me.

The answer is simple.

I have a system.

The “Giftie System,” as the Planner Fun blog often refers to it, is pretty simple.

The Giftie System

I have a dashboard, projects, a calendar section with a monthly and weekly calendar, a future section, and a notes/ABC files section.

Projects are for active planning, while the notes section is for filed stuff that needs to leave the house with me (like lists of passwords, clothing sizes, or medications).

The monthly calendar is for appointments, while the weekly calendar is for tasks.

Why the Giftie System Works

Beyond the basic bones of my system, my planner can be a beautiful picture of organized information, or a devastating mess of chaos, depending on the week or the day. It doesn’t matter!

Either way, I can always fall back on my system. My system means that I am in control of my planner and always know where to find information. My system is like a good diet of lean proteins, fruits, and veggies combined with regular exercise; it keeps my planner healthy.

You don’t even need to follow my system!

That’s right. Your system can be designed to mirror mine (as the one at Planner Fun is currently done) or can be completely different.

What matters is that you know your own system and you work the system.

Want to use more post-its? Just keep your use consistent with your system. Notice, for example, that my post-its are lists of tasks, so they go in the weekly section of the calendar, along with all other tasks.

Want to brainstorm and draw a mind map? If it’s for a work project that is due in the near future, it goes in projects. If it is a long-term goal list, and inactive and just for reference, it goes in notes.

Take a few minutes, think about how your planner is set-up, and create a system that works for you. If you need help creating your perfect system, feel free to visit me at for some great ideas!

Once your planner works, it’s like a closet containing only clothes that look good on your body. It’s freedom! It’s no longer being embarrassed if your planner is a mess, because it is a hard-working, effective mess, that leaves you time and space to actually live your life.

A huge thank you to Becky, from Planner Fun, for inviting me to do this guest post.


Thank you Kristy for another wonderful blog post!  I am so thankful you share your knowledge and ideas with us.


  1. Squee! I wrote this with you blog in mind, and I almost forgot it was my guest post when I read it this morning. It's like I was teaching myself.

  2. Great post as always, Kristy. To me, the sight of a 'well-used planner' (I don't want to use the term 'messy') enthralls me more than those meticulously decorated, color-coordinated, perfectly washi'd and stickered planners. It is a mirror of your day, your successes, your failures, frustrations, ups and downs. I find it quite hard to fathom that someone's day goes as perfect as those other planners look. They're supposed to work for you, not the other way around. Your planner is a 'working' planner whose sole purpose is to make your life function like a well-oiled machine. Pretty is just ambiance, but it doesn't get the job done. You have an amazing system that (from gorging on your blog posts over a month ago) you have kept consistently at. And that's the key - consistency.

    Okay, enough blabbing. Thanks for all the 'peeks' you've given your followers

  3. I like the comparison that it's like having a closet with clothes that look good on your body. It has taken me awhile to find the best system for me, and I still tweak it from time to time. :) It's not beautiful, but it is functional.