Thursday, August 22, 2019

5 Minute Planner Hack

Sometimes you happen upon a good hack quite by accident. In my case, this was an accident! After cutting my graph paper in half for my dashboard /capture page, I discovered that I did not cut the paper exactly in half - by about a half-inch!



I decided to use it, even though I definitely like things all lined up. With the front pages more narrow than the others, a natural divider was made, and it got me to thinking about my grocery list. I usually jot down what we need on a sticky note throughout the week and then transfer it to my shopping list before shopping. Last week I used the narrow paper to make my list after writing in the aisle categories of my store.

I enjoyed having my list front and center with room to write in what we were out of, as well as the things I knew we would be needing. I also found the natural divider made it super easy to get to the capture page to record any information I needed to process.




Simple hack - but it is working quite nicely for me.


originally published in 2016

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

A to Z Tabs: a Filing Cabinet in My Planner

I bet I had 25 different divider tabs in my planner the first week I began using one.  I had a tab for shopping although I only had one insert that was tracking my online orders.  I had an "addresses" tab but only 1 page of my frequently used addresses.  Pretty soon I couldn't find anything even with all those tabs!

After looking at many systems online, and modifying them for my own tastes, I began using A to Z tabs, like a filing cabinet of sorts, in my planner.  If there is any piece of information or inserts that I need to keep up with, I file in alphabetically in my tabs.



At the very front of these tabs, I keep an index of all the inserts that are included (see above).  Periodically I will go through the tabs and see if I have added or deleted items, or need to add or delete items and update this index.  When it starts getting messy with the cros-outs or runs out of room, I make a new one.


Something that has become invaluable to me is how the tabs themselves work.  I rarely use these tabs for their intended purpose of keeping up with addresses, but using them to jot down brief information has become my favorite part.  Some examples are writing down the post office's hours (above) or the pin number to get into my laptop.


If you don't want to write on the tabs, you can do something else that I also do:  write your information on sticky notes.

I used to forget my hair color name and number, but now with MUCH use, I don't really look at that note anymore!  <grin>



Putting private or sensitive information in your planner

I know some might be opposed to putting passwords or account numbers in their planner.  Here's a little tip for you that I learned from Giftie. Make a key that helps you decode private information.  For example, say your numerical key is +2 and the account number you want to remember is 3522.  Write in your planner 1300.  You'll have to remember your numerical key though and you won't want to write it down unless you find a secure way to do that.


The above also works with "When did I last..." change the air filter, change the oil, call my Mom, etc.


Other things you can write on the inside of the tabs:
  • your children's social security number
  • passwords (easier for me than a long list of passwords)
  • door codes
  • ACT school code
  • phone passcode
  • sizes (aka info on a sticky note)
  • Vet hours
  • hair clippers guard # (I used this a lot, my boys just tell the barber what they want, now!)
The majority of my tabs hold passwords (use a key!)

Monday, August 19, 2019

Are You a Functional Planner?

There are several types of planners, and whichever one we are, we are usually set in our ways as far as how we do things.  Personally, I am a functional planner.  I like pretty as much as anyone but I don't have time for it in my planner.  Adding some pretty Mildliners to white space makes me just as happy as stickers and die-cuts would someone else.


So usually, my planner is all business and I write everything down.

"Mom, we're out of brown sugar!" I write it down on a sticky note and put it on the very first thing you see when you open my planner: my dashboard.  My dashboard is just a divider entitled "Inbox" with sheets of blank paper behind it.

If I need to remember to type a quiz for school on Monday, I write it down on my daily.  If I don't do it today, I'll transfer it to Sunday.  If I don't do it Sunday, well - I'm late!

"Honey, I can barely hear you, you need to check into getting a new phone battery.  I turn to my next actions list (no specific date, but it needs doing soon) and write it down.

If I have a question for my doctor, I better write it down because I won't remember it on the day of my doctor's appointment!  I will either write it down on a sticky note and put it on my monthly calendar near the appointment date, or write the question and put it inside my newly created health tab.

Enough examples.  What else do I consider functional planning?  For me it's all about using a planner as a workhorse, having the information I need to know close at hand without necessarily worrying if everything is color-coordinated.  Sometimes that means not having to find an insert to use before I write something down.  Earlier this month I made appointments for a January doctor's appointment, received a "Save the Date" card from my niece, and was trying to figure out school dates for our last year homeschooling.  I haven't created my 2020 monthly pages yet so I had to make space for a Future Log (pictured above).  Graph paper and a Mildliner and my log were ready 5 minutes later.  Not necessarily all that lovely, but I was able to get things out of my head and into my planner.

After all of that, I will say that a functional planner can be a pretty planner if there is enough room on the page to write down the important stuff.  I've seen planners that I couldn't possibly use just because I wouldn't be able to write anything down.  I have determined that those planners are probably scrapbook planners - making a pretty spread.  I used to scrapbook so I understand the desire to create and make something to keep memories.

Do you consider yourself to be a functional planner?

Saturday, August 17, 2019

The Double-Punch Planner Hack

This tip revolutionized my planning life.


 I discovered this hack from my friend Kristy at Giftie Etc. (an AWESOME functional planning resource).  The hack is to simply punch your inserts on both sides of the page.  The reason I like this so well is that I don't like writing on the left side of the page, especially since I have gone down to a smaller size planner.  Once the day is over, I take the daily page out, turn it over, and put it back in.  Easy Peasy.  I also do this with many of my other inserts as well, sometimes slitting the page to make it easier to remove and reinsert. Check out her video for more ways to use this hack.

This tip is functional planning at its best!


Thursday, August 15, 2019

2 Useful Ways to Record Information When Your Planner Isn't Nearby

That doesn't happen often, does it?  If you're a hardcore planner, you have it near almost all the time!  <grin>  Still, occasionally it's left in the other room, or you forgot and left it at home on your errand run.  What do you do? Trust yourself to remember?

Um, no!  Not me anyway.  I still go into a room and forget why I'm there!  Here are 4 ideas to help you remember that important though:

1. Your phone.  Chances are we might forget our planner, but we are attached to our phones.  If I'm driving, I will use Siri to text the important information I want to remember.  I have also sent myself an email and recorded information in a note-taking app.  Be sure to have a built-in review process so you'll remember to check your phone for the information you need to write down.

2. Sticky Notes.  What planner doesn't have plenty of sticky notes lying around?  I keep them by the bedside table, in my purse, and on the coffee table.  The notes on my bedside table get used the most, and that happens usually when I getting ready for bed and taking my meds.  The hubby will tell me something we need, or I might have to jot down a reminder to reorder a prescription.

If neither of these things are around, you can do what I do:  repeat the information over and over until you can get to your planner!  That might not work out for the ones around you if you are sitting in church or the doctor's office, but whatever works, right?




Sunday, April 7, 2019

18 Ways to Use a Notes Page


  1. On church day, take notes in Sunday School and during the message.
  2. Instead of a separate Gratitude list, write your daily gratitude on your notes page.
  3. During your daily quiet time, take notes on the scripture you read.
  4. When someone asks for prayer, add them to a dedicated spot on your notes page.
  5. If you have a blank page from a previous day, use it to practice lettering or to improve your handwriting.
  6. Jot down your weekly menu on menu planning day.  Add a temporary page flag for quick accessibility.
  7. Use your notes page as a place to journal or write the day's events.
  8. Watching your weight?  Add your daily food journal for added accountability.
  9. Keep a log of your phone calls and details discussed.  Be sure to add this to your monthly index in case you need to find this information at a later date.
  10. Deal with medical issues?  As a transplant recipient, keeping up with health symptoms is important.  Use your notes as a place to write down unusual symptoms and how you're feeling.
  11. Jot down important information from emails you've received or at least directions on how to find that email if needed (and note it in your monthly index).
  12. Doodle!  I usually do that on a blank or hardly used page from a previous date.
  13. I have a friend who does a daily scripture writing challenge - your notes would be a perfect place for this.
  14. Are you a dreamer?  Jot down your dreams - it's a good idea to do that as soon as you remember them.  If you are like me, you forget the details quickly!
  15. Like quotes?  Write down your favorites in your notes.
  16. Meeting notes
  17. Shopping list - I do this when I have a small list.  If I am doing my weekly shopping, I use a dedicated list.
  18. Track expenses, water intake, daily exercise, medication, daily routines, mood, etc.  Track everything!
I went from thinking I would never be able to use a notes page, to wondering how in the world would I fit everything in!