I’d like to think that I have always been an organised person. Whether it’s a holiday, a move or even just a road trip to somewhere I haven’t been before, I always do my research. Tons of lists, information printed out from multiple Google searches, maps – you name it. They are all weapons in my well-stocked arsenal.
I’d love to be one of those people who flies by the seat of their pants, embarking on a spontaneous trip with just a backpack, deodorant and two sets of underwear, but I’ve made my peace with the fact that that is never going to happen.
This post isn’t about the big plans, though, but planning your everyday life. Adulting isn’t easy on the best of days – there’s budgets to be made, bills to be paid, floors to be hoovered and dust that gets everywhere. So I’m sharing how I keep on top of stuff using my day planner.
Before we begin, a little note about what I use. My planner is a Filofax Domino in the personal size. It is this particular one if you’d like to check it out. I’m a big fan of Filofax planners because there is such a great range available, and I love the flexibility of the ring system which means you can add/remove inserts as required. If you have a bullet journal or any other kind of planner, I think the following tips can still work for you. Most of them can also work if you’ve got a digital planner or note tool like Google Keep – you just need to have one central place and then you can make it your own. Okay, so let’s jump in!
#1 Year at a glance
The very first section of my Filofax contains a fold-out calendar of the year. This is the one I use and it comes with little windows in which you can put in any milestones, such as birthdays, trips, anniversaries or appointments. I use washi tape as well, so I can write over it. Having a ‘year at a glance’ at my fingertips is so incredibly useful. Unlike my Google calendar (which I also use sometimes), it allows me to see everything all at once instead of month by month. And because it’s not dependent on whether I have your phone with me or a working internet connection, I’m able to access it whenever I want.
It’s not only great for keeping track of things and referring to time and again, but it’s a great way to build excitement and anticipation for something you’ve got coming up.
#2 Set weekly goals/reminders
I use the default Filofax inserts for this, which is a week on two pages. I set my weekly goals on a Sunday evening or night, and I find that it helps me feel a lot more prepared for what’s coming up. Normally, I list out a couple of things I want to do that week – anything from blog posts to a household task or a phone call. I don’t put anything related to my day-job in here, because I like to keep that aspect of my life separate. I also put my workouts in here, along with anything fun I have coming up that week like catching up with friends or a date night.
Another really useful thing I use this section for is to set reminders. For instance, I’m currently running a free three month trial of Audible through Amazon, but I want to cancel it before the trial period ends so that it doesn’t charge me. So I’ve written down the expiry date in the planner, so when I get to that week, I’ll know to cancel it. Sure you could do this on your phone as well, but I like actually writing things down and having it all in one place.
I have digital wishlists everywhere – ASOS, Amazon, Pinterest, my Instagram saved items…you name it. But for the most part, these wishlists are comprised of things I will probably never buy. I love living vicariously through them, but I also need to keep track of things I do need, but maybe not right away. And, again, I’d like them to all be in one place. This is where my ‘Wishlists’ section comes in and it has proved to be invaluable. I’ve got everything from clothes to things I need for the house, to places I’d like to go on holiday in the next three years.
It helps me to keep on track with my spending too, so the next time I’m eyeing up the hundredth coat I don’t need on ASOS, I can refer to this and buy the sandals that I actually DO need because winter has now ended, hooray! Shopping with a purpose – who doesn’t love that?
#4 To-do lists for household tasks
And I don’t know about you, but I often find myself remembering to do stuff at random points throughout the day. If I don’t write them down right away, they’re gone forever. So I’ve got two main lists going. One of them is an ‘Ongoing to-do list’ where I write down anything from getting photos done for my passport renewal to getting my insurance premium paid. The other one is a monthly/bi-weekly list of things I know I must get done every month or couple of weeks, but don’t have a fixed date on them. Stuff like organising my wardrobe or watering my cactus (yes, really!)
If you don’t pay attention, household tasks can creep up on you like some sort of domestic ninja wearing dirty clothes from the laundry hamper.
This might seem like over planning (and it might well be), but for me, it works really well. By having all of this on paper, it saves me having to keep track of things in my head. So it doesn’t end up stressing me out.
#5 Start an ideabank
If you’ve got some creative projects going on, you know that ideas can strike you anytime, anywhere. Before I started listing them all in one place, they’d never see the light of day. So much like the lists, write them down in a dedicated section of your planner. You don’t have to explain what the idea is, but just having the one sentence written down makes a huge difference.
#6 Check in at least once a day
There isn’t a point planning so much if you’re not going to return to it fairly frequently. I’ve found the best time for checking in is at the end of day, right before I go to bed. It’s part of winding down for the night, and feels like a routine now. I tick off anything that I’ve managed to get done, add in any more ideas that I’ve had, and look at what I have coming up the next day. If I’ve got any new appointments, I’ll add those in too. I find that having a fixed time to do this ensures that I’m feeling on top of things.
There are so many more ways my Filofax has simplified my routine, but I don’t want to go on forever! I hope that this was useful to you. If you have any planning ideas, tips or hacks, please let me know!