From my planner lineup post, I showed you all the planners I would be using this year for 2019.
I’m sure there are many people out there wondering what is the fascination with using so many paper planners and why. But overall, you might be wondering how it’s possible to use that many planners a day. Do we really spend all day everyday planning? How long are our planning sessions? Do we update them everyday? How do you remember what goes where? All of it just seems so extra and far too involved!
Because I love all things stationary, I easily fell in love with the idea of having multiple planners. And it didn’t help to find a world full of planners and planner girls and ladies with so many new and exciting tips and tricks to try.
You might already know whether you are or are not into this idea, and if you aren’t, that’s perfectly okay. But if you are someone interested in testing multiple planners whether it just be one extra or several more, here is just an inside peek of how I use my planners in my everyday planning routine.
(Just gonna warn you now. This post will get a little lengthy. Also, I will mention that *there may be affiliate links sprinkled throughout this post. When you use my affiliate link to make a purchase, you are directly supporting my blog at no extra cost to you. I get a small commission off of your sale.* You are in no way obligated to use these links, but if you do, you’re extremely awesome! Here, have a smiley face 🙂 lol)
How I Use Multiple Planners
My Catch All Planner
My catch all planner pretty much starts the planning routine. It’s the “central system” if you will, the brain, the mom, the hubspot, however you want to view it. In this planner goes all of my daily activities, tasks, appointments, and yes, even scheduling other planner check ins. I use the Erin Condren *Vertical Hardbound Lifeplanner for my catch all planner.
Now when I originally introduced this in my planner lineup, I introduced it as a “brain planner”. It was a completely different setup than how I am using it now. It was still a “catch all” planner but was going to be used in a different way. But you can always read more about that here.
The problem that I had with my previous idea was that there really wasn’t a “schedule” for me to abide by. It was more of a “pick-and-choose” what I have time to squeeze in for the week. In theory, it seemed like a good idea but after a couple of trial runs, I decided that probably wasn’t the best idea because I started to not use it.
So at the last minute I turned it into a general and commonly used catch all planner and I’ll get more into how I actually plan in it.
The Monthly Notes Page
I use the undated hardbound vertical lifeplanner from Erin Condren for my catch all which, at this time, is no longer available on her site. In this version, you get a monthly notes page attached to the beginning of each month. Since we’re still in January, I’m still kind of fiddling around with how I want to use my notes pages. But for the month of January, I decided to use it for affirmations. I’m not sure whether they really work but I like the idea of it. And I feel good saying them, so I figured “why not?“. February’s notes page may be an entirely different setup and I will be sure to keep you all updated on how that turns out.
The Monthly Calendar
This spread is where I jot down appointments, events, happy mail, trips and vacations, and other things. For the most part, I just write down everything in colorful pens. Because the planner is undated, I have to date the entire month myself and date the weeks as well. But for the most part, not too much happens on my monthly spread. But it’s mainly things related to my personal life.
Where all the creation happens! I’ve been trying to figure out a way to maintain the love of planning in my catch all planner. So of course, I went full force with decorating it first trying to figure out what my style would be.
I’ve tried many times in 2018 to keep a catch all planner starting with a hardbound planner from EC, moving to a bullet journal, and then circling back to my hardbound planner again. I primarily focused on filling my planner with tasks that I wanted to do each day. I was more concerned with having a “full” planner but I was constantly overbooking myself.
For this catch all planner, I make sure I’m scheduling my days evenly with the work I want to accomplish without stressing myself out entirely. I knew I needed to maintain a schedule of planning in this planner. But I didn’t want to go back to overbooking myself for the sake of “filling a planner”. So when it comes to planning in my catch all planner, this is how that process goes:
Planning In My CATCH ALL Planner
- On Sunday evening, before I even start writing in my planner, I take a *sheet of paper and preplan
- On this pre-planning sheet, I write down any work shifts I have. Or appointments I know of, bills, packages, and anything else with time specific dates attached to it.
- I also begin to write down tasks and other goals and priorities that don’t have a date or deadline attached to it but I would like to accomplish within the week. When I’ve completely brain dumped onto this pre-planning sheet, then I’m ready to plan.
- Now, because I am a decorative planner, I actually start by placing *stickers for different things and events I want to stand out. Things like events, stickers to write down appointments and events, or whathaveyou.
- After placing my stickers, I write on them and start filling in other date specific items around it. I write down bills that are due, work shifts, and other things like that.
- I look at my pre-plan sheet again and look at the remaining items that I want to accomplish within the week. This can include things like other planner check ins and everything from those planners that I want to finish. Working on my business, personal errands I need to run, or things I need to run out and buy. I also include personal goals that relate to my goals for the year overall.
You still with me?
- Now, when I go into write down the remaining tasks on each day, I take into context of what’s already been planned. I look at what I already have planned for that day and then I judge how I feel my energy level will be. For example, if I’m working a long shift or doing one strenuous task for a good portion of the day, I probably won’t feel like doing too much more in the evening. I make sure to take into account how I might actually be feeling that day, and plan my remaining tasks into the week accordingly.
- Around that time, my week is planned out. On my sidebar, I use as a habit tracker for making sure to update other planners that I want to update on a daily basis.
- I also do not crowd my weekly boxes with monotonous daily tasks unless it’s something I’m trying to turn into a habit. Otherwise, I also keep a habit tracker system on my sidebar for my dailies. Things like checking my business emails, reading my bible, moisturizing my hair, etc.
- And lastly, every night, I sit down and plan for the next day. I add in any tasks that I know I want to get done. Planning the day before allows me to know exactly what I haven’t finished today and need to get done tomorrow. It stops me from overbooking myself and from filling up a day with tasks that are either already finished are far from being worked on.
I know that was a lot to take in but that is pretty much how I plan each week in my catch all planner. Now, from my catch all planner decides what and when I’ll move into my more structured planners.
The other topics that the remaining of my five planners hold are my budget, my art/business, wellness, gratitude, and faith. These are generally the only planner check ins I update fairly frequently on a schedule. Will start with one of my favorites first…
My Budget Planner
One of my biggest goals in 2018 was keeping on a consistent budget. And I achieved that with great success with not only making, but following and interacting with my budget every month the entire year!
I saw with sticking to it for a whole year how much having a planner for my budget improved my life financially. With knowing how well it worked out for me, of course, I wanted to keep on with the budgeting force for the year of 2019 as well.
My budget for this year is a lot more… macho than it was in 2018. I am using a frankenplanned version of Erin Condren’s *deluxe monthly planner in the largest size. I have added a few pages to each monthly that are not found in the standard books and I have a video showing how I did that which you can view here:
Frankenplanning My Budget Planner
Aside from that, I created my budget planner to be it’s most effective and efficient for me this year. As you’ll notice in the rest of my planners, when deciding on how to use multiple planners, I take care not to repeat TOO many things in each planner. If you noticed my catch all planner contained tidbits of all my planners, but everything was pretty vague.
In each separate planner, the information gets a lot more detailed and… informational. There is not a lot of repeating between the rest of these planners which makes them feel a lot more purposeful to me.
So with my budget planner, it is ALL. THINGS. FINANCIAL.
Personal and business-wise.
Now, a lot of my budget planning happens at the beginning and the end of the month when I set up and close out my monthly budgets. If I do any type of daily checking on my budget, it is to update my expense tracker and my no spend days for my monthly view.
Since enhancing my budget planning from 2018 to 2019, I have added a few more things to check in on to help monitor my finances. One of those things being a weekly expense tracker where I just calculate my variable spending for that week. I have actually filmed and uploaded an entire setup series of setting up my budget planner for the new year. So if you are interested in seeing that, be sure to watch that series here for it’s a little too much to go into here.
Start of the Month Check In
A couple days or a week before the new month starts, I set up my entire budget planner. This includes putting together every single page of my planner and so far, that includes:
- Monthly Notes Page
- Monthly Spread
- Biweekly and Monthly Budget
- Weekly and Monthly Expense Tracker
- Sinking Funds
- Three Extra Boxes
- Business Budget
- Meal Planning Calendar and Grocery Shopping Lists
- Savings Overview and Month In Review Pages
That’s quite a bit right? You can see why I didn’t delve into how I set it up. 🙂
Again, if you want to see how I set up my monthly budgets be sure to subscribe to my youtube channel or my email newsletter. You’ll get all the info there.
Weekly Check Ins
Generally, the only section I check in on a weekly basis with my budget planner is my weekly expense tracker. This is where I go in to record my spending from the previous week and monitor how I am doing in my spending. I do this to help me stay on track with my budget and not overspending where I can prevent it. Before I only used a monthly expense tracker which I really love, but having a variable expense tracker will really help me to focus on spending that I can stand to reel in a bit.
Mid-Month Check Ins
During my mid-month check ins, I check in with most of my setup again. This happens on the 15th of the month and I check off any bills that have been paid and tally up all the totals. I also check my sinking funds, business budget, and meal planning section during this time too.
End of Month Check Ins
And here, we round up the entire month. This is where we fill in all the remaining details in my budget planner, finish crossing off all the bills that were paid, cross off any goals I achieved, etc. I also fill in my “Month In Review” page where I just journal about how I felt the month went for me financially speaking. Doing this helps me to be more mindful of my emotional spending and allows me to try and figure out ways to adjust the bad relationship I was beginning to develop with money. I calculate all of my total variable expenses and then we’re off to the next month!
Daily/Ongoing Check Ins
I tend to only check in with my budget planner outside of the beginning/weekly/mid-month/and ending check ins for two reasons:
- Writing expenses in my monthly expense tracker
- Labeling “No Spends” on my monthly calendar spread
Outside of that, I don’t really “check in” with my budget planner other than to see what bills I have coming up.
I schedule to use my budget planner weekly mainly. The bulk of my setting up happens at the beginning and the end of the month. Other than that, I don’t do much when I check in daily or every other day.
My Art Planner
This is the third of my multiple planners and I’ll just say that it gets used daily or almost daily. It houses everything to do with my side businesses/hustles/hobbies/whatever you call it. Like my budget planner, most of it’s setup and updating happens at the beginning and the ending of the month. But it gets a lot more heavily used throughout the month as well.
I have also written a post describing how I set up my art planner here. Everything in that post is still pretty standard today with little to no changes for now.
Using As Needed (But Pretty Much Daily)
Planning in my art planner can be pretty sporadic since I like to future plan my content. It’s kind of hard to exactly pinpoint how I schedule to use this planner since there really is no “schedule”. I use each page depending on what I am trying to accomplish that day.
I will most likely use my monthly calendar when I am trying to rough draft my blogs posts. Along with that, I also keep my outline planner to help with that. If I am trying to just learn or lookup certain topics, I use my research and resources page to take notes and write down urls that I want to refer back to. Or if I’m trying to come up with ideas, I use the brainstorm page and use highlighters to capture my different ideas. But if I am trying to further those ideas and expand on visual concepts, then I use my dot grid pages.
My notes page at the beginning is dedicated to my analytics which are only updated at the end of the month. But mainly, this planner is used for keeping track of my business as I’m working on it. The only thing that is necessarily pre-planned is the master task list, but that is also updated on an ongoing basis.
I use this planner mostly as I’m working on my business. I schedule things as they come up and cross them off as they are completed. It’s kind of like a “catch all planner” but solely for my business.
My Wellness Planner
Next in my multiple planners list will be my wellness planner. This is an Erin Condren *lifeplanner in the vertical view. This planner documents everything pertaining to self-care. So that would include things like mood tracking, health and fitness, how often I do self care activities and journaling.
This is a planner I make sure to check in with daily since I have to remember to record everything done for that day. It’s more of a habit tracking system, so the setup is the same for every month and every week.
The Monthly Notes Page
I use this to track my fitness journey. I like to record all of my measurements, weight, and take pictures to keep myself motivated and on track.
The monthly view is used to track my hair care and skin care regimen mainly, but I also notate events and appointments as well. Not so many that they get too cluttered, but some of the ones that are memorable like celebrations and gatherings.
I check in with my monthly spread on a daily to almost daily basis, just to help keep on top of my routines.
This is where I spend most of my time in my planner. It’s set up like a habit tracking system mainly. This idea was adopted from a Youtuber who used her planner for meal planning mostly and tracking her workouts.
I enjoyed the idea of her system and re-created it to allow me to fit in more things to track. And so… this happened.
It’s so adjustable I can just plan for it using only pen, add in a little decoration like washi or add a lot of decoration like full blown sticker kits! I love this idea because it’s so simple and can be planned according to whatever mood I’m feeling (and lately I’ve been feeling the sticker kits lol) and doesn’t take much pre-planning to set up.
I organize my setup through my erin condren *dual tip markers only. My habits are divided into 8 categories including:
- Water (16 oz)
- Self Care
- Me Time
And within them, they are broken down into several habits that are color coded. I love this method! It’s so simple to go in and update. And for my “Me Time” section, it’s just a quick little journaling of the highlight (or lowlight) of what happened that day.
It takes no more than about 5 minutes to update and I do this at night on a daily basis. When my wellness planner has been logged, I cross that off on the habit tracker in my catch all planner.
My Gratitude and Faith Planner
I decided to lump the last two together since they are both done around the same time and involves pretty much the same routine.
They are both happy planners, and I check in with my gratitude and faith planner on a nightly basis. This is the time where I do my bible reading and a lot of self reflection. They are my more thoughtful planners and, aside from the time it takes to really go back and think about my day or what I’ve read, checking in with them takes about 30 minutes or less to do.
There! We’re done!
So, in conclusion, what have we learned today?
I’m just a planner hoarder. 😐
That AND my process of how I use multiple planners and how I have created a planning routine for all of them. In short…
- I use my Catch All planner for… everything. I also use it schedule my planner check ins.
- My Budget planner is checked in weekly and on the 15th of every month.
- The Art planner is used whenever I work on my business (which is pretty much daily).
- I check in with my Wellness, Gratitude, and Faith planners every night. Each planner takes about 5-10 minutes to update.
- My Budget, Art, Wellness, and Catch All planners have different updates at the beginning and ending of every month.
So that is how I use my multiple planners. As you can tell, each planner houses extremely different information and they aren’t redundant in anyway.
I’m an informational person, so I like that there are so many ways to monitor different areas in my life.
Multiple planners are definitely NOT for everyone. But if you were someone who was a bit curious and wanted to know how others plan with them, here was a peek into my routine. There are many others out there so be sure to look around. Or just dive right on in and develop a routine for yourself! Otherwise, thank you for reading and enjoy the rest of your day.