"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?