Planning · Stationery

My 2021 planner setup

Ta Da!

I have been toying with my 2021 planner setup for quite some time and now that the new year is so tantalisingly close, I’m ready to put the finishing touches to the whole caboodle. That makes it sound so cut and dried, so decisive, so simple. The journey to where I am, though, has not been easy and I’m only about 23.75% convinced that I’ve got a setup I will stick with for a significant amount of the coming year, particularly as it’s a long while since I’ve used a ring-planner and I have some questions about how much I’m going to like it. That said, I’m taking comfort from the fact that I proved I can knuckle down and make things work by completing the day per page Inspired Stories Planner. So let’s have a look through my Filofax Original A5 setup.

Inside Front

Inside the front cover I have my tools section: Namisu Orion fountain pen in the outer loop and 6″ metal ruler in the inner loop. Facing them is my quote for the year, printed on a thick white paper, decorated with stickers, and pasted to the first divider. My dividers, by the way, are from Filofax – I think the Pastel A5 card set suits this binder very well and I’ve always liked dividers made of plain card because I can print over them or handwrite quotes during the course of the year.

Word of the Year

Turning the divider over, I have printed and pasted my Word of the Year for 2021. I have chosen the word “Spark”; I think in 2021 we are going to be carefully breathing oxygen onto the smouldering embers left by 2020, trying to keep hope alive and eagerly waiting for a flame to light our way forwards. Spark seems to suit the mood.

First week’s spread

Facing this, we head straight into the Stamford Notebooks’ Week to View diary pages, which I’d already set up; you can read more about them here and here. I’ve got the pages for the whole year in the Filofax and time will tell whether that works. The format is easy to change should I decide to cut back to carrying three or six months’ worth as I’ve done in the past, or, if I feel the need for more detailed planning on occasional days, I can slot in a daily page from the Happiness Planner.

The only decorated divider so far

I must admit it is the other side of my papery life which has had me in a turmoil. It has long been my habit to keep separate notebooks for knitting notes, creative writing, quotes, ink sampling, freeform thoughts about anything and everything, not to mention my daily journal, yet this fragmentation has begun to weary me. I have been pondering how best to amalgamate these disparate notes into a more cohesive (or, at least, more easily accessible) whole.

I had an idea to use the Happiness Planner to house all the notes and journal entries, or to set up my A5 William Hannah leather notebook. The latter, in particular, has a lot of advantages, such as the fantastic paper quality and ease of archiving. That said, do I want to lug around both the Filofax and the William Hannah and be running two systems that can’t be archived neatly together? Should I admit that it crossed my mind to buy an A6 William Hannah leather notebook to house diary pages? I dismissed this because, at A6 size, I would want to go for daily pages and I’m keen to use a week to view diary again. It is tempting, though, and if I decide the ring-bound system in the Filofax isn’t working for me during the year, I have little doubt that I’ll head back towards the William Hannah notebook.

As I was already in the process of setting up my diary in the Filofax, the obvious thing would be to simply house the notes and journal within the same binder, giving me that mythical beast: one book to rule them all. I must admit that I have long been talking myself out of this because of the difficulty in sourcing the perfect, fountain pen friendly notepaper. Whilst I don’t have anything against punching suitable holes in decent paper, making sure I get the paper and the ruling I like and it be available as cut A5 sheets has led to a lot of trial and error. But wait! Stamford Notebook Company offer lined refills for their Burghley Organiser on the same paper as the diary pages I’m using. When that finally occurred to me, continuing the setup of the Filofax was simple.

The first page of monthly notes: my writing tracker ready to go on January 1st
A summary of my monthly horoscope is another item that can be prepared ahead of time

My idea is that I will keep my journal entries and notes in here for one month and then archive them as I set up the next month. It’s possible, probable, perhaps even inevitable, that some notes will be ongoing and I will have to decide how I want to deal with those as the need arises. I’ve plenty of spare dividers should I decide to have a monthly notes section and a more overarching general notes section – in bullet journals this latter might be seen as a “collection”. This is one area where I shall be making it up as I go along. All that remains to be done is to fill up this part with ruled notepaper.

At the back

After the Notes section, things are nebulous. I am keeping the sticky notes from the Happiness Planner in here for decoration, plus one or two of the daily Happiness Planner pages ready to slot in should I require them. At the back of the Filofax I have my envelope folder “hidey-hole” and, tucked into the back pocket, a sheet of J Herbin blotting paper. I have suffered a reasonable number of ink smudges in this planner so far and so I’m keeping blotchy close at hand.

And what about that Happiness Planner? Well, that will be my archive binder for at least part of this year’s pages, which was my original thought when I ordered it. I wasn’t expecting to like the paper quality, so having the daily pages to use if and when I please is a bonus. If I don’t use many through the course of this year, using them as my main planner next year is always a possibility. One great thing about paper is that it doesn’t go off.

That’s it. This is how I’m heading into 2021. Wish me luck! I have been tempted to start the notes/journal section from the beginning of this week rather than waiting for the New Year, but as I envisage it being stored in monthly bundles, it doesn’t make sense to start it during December and, anyway, Friday will be here sooner than we know. I hope you’ve found it interesting to see how things are set up ready for the new year and I hope you have your favourite system (or lack of system) ready to go.

4 thoughts on “My 2021 planner setup

  1. I love the idea of a ‘Happiness Planner’, but I’ve found happiness comes without, indeed sometimes in spite of, any planning. Here’s to 2021, may it be all we want it to be.

  2. Have to avoid falling into the trap of being so busy planning for happiness that you don’t notice it as it slinks by in the shadows. Am I tempting fate if I hope that 2021 is just simply an improvement on 2020?

  3. I’m trying for a relatively simple approach this coming year. I love big pops of red – this cover is described as Fuchsia and is just on the cusp between pink and red. Simply gorgeous.

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