Inside my planner / 1

My planner Page 1
The first page in my planner

I thought I would split my planner setup into a couple of posts and today I want to cover the diary section, or true planner section of the book. Before I start, there’s a bit of technical information to go through. All the pages I’m showing today have been printed onto William Hannah’s plain paper which they provide punched to suit the disc system in their notebooks. I am using the A5 paper because I have an A5 notebook, but the A6 paper could also be added to these rings if desired. I use the Pages software on my MacBook computer to design the pages (I use the term ‘design’ very loosely – I’m not claiming that I have any talent in that direction; if I can do it you most certainly could) and my HP Envy 5030 printer fitted with HP inks supplied using their Instant Ink subscription service. I feed the paper through one sheet at a time because I had a problem with the punching if I put in several sheets together. I don’t print enough pages for it to bother me that I have to take my time. Now, the aesthetics.

As I open the lovely cover of the William Hannah notebook and turn the first cardboard divider, I am greeted by my Word of the Year, Vitality. I like this being at the very beginning because it keeps it to the forefront of my mind. On the reverse of the sheet I have printed a verse of a poem by Louis MacNeice because I like to have poetry or a quote at the front of all my journals and notebooks.

After that page it’s straight into the diary section. I’ve learnt over the past couple of years that I like to keep three months of my diary with me and that will basically work out to be the previous month, current month and next month. When the month turns I will take out a month from the beginning and add a month at the end. Any appointments that I make outside that timescale I add to either a sticky note or to a spare sheet of paper at the end of the diary section so I can fill in the information when I get to the appropriate month. I don’t have significant amounts of forward-planning in my life so I don’t really need to see the whole year ahead, although I do have an idea for a monthly calendar spread over three A5 sheets which I might look into incorporating.

Because I moved into this disc-bound system from a ring-bound planner in the last week of January, I didn’t bother to re-print the sheets for the first three weeks of the year. This means that my planner starts from Thursday 23rd January 2020 which is a little random. However, January 2020 was an unpleasant month for me and I am glad to be able to ignore it and treat it like an unwanted guest who stayed into the new year and who I was glad to see the back of.

Diary + Pens
My diary and pens part-way through the week

My diary pages are based on the column layout that the wonderful folk at Mark and Fold use in their Diary, which I heartily recommend if you’re looking for a bound weekly diary or planner. I loved using mine the past couple of years.

Diary Layout 1
My diary layout as the week begins

My first column is just lined and headed “Focus” so I write in a few themes I want to incorporate at the beginning of the week. These themes are often recurring, but some weeks I need to step back from my general goals and concentrate on something specific. I find it useful to have to think as each week starts what is most appropriate right now.

To the right are seven columns, one for each day of the week, which are ruled and have a slightly thicker edge under each third line, splitting the day up into six sections which I pretty much work through top to bottom. If I have appointments or things to do specific to the day, I note them in there as soon as I know about them. Birthdays go to the top and I’m underlining them in red to make them stand out. Any hugely important items, such as my trip to Helsinki, are noted in the space between the date and the first line. Anything that spans days is written as centrally as I can manage with lines to the edge of the dates it covers. I use the very bottom 3 lines for the day to fill in my exercise details (steps walked and calories burned, plus exercise minutes if I do a specific exercise routine rather than just my regular walking); I fill this in early on the following morning. If there is a TV show I will watch, I tend to note it in the section above where I will write my exercise information.

Finally there is a blank box at the bottom of both pages for more creative stuff. I try to fill in a quote or piece of poetry in the right-hand box at the beginning of the week, then if I find a quote I like during the week I write it in the left-hand box, or I can just decorate it.

I do think of this more as a diary than a planner because there really isn’t that much forward-planning in my life due to a combination of the kind of work I do (tends to be more reactive) and the type of person I am (if I plan to do something I will find a million ways not to do it, if it’s optional then I am much more likely to work on it).

When I first started planning a diary section that I would print myself, I was going to use a different colour for every month, but I have fallen in love with the turquoise blues and I think I will stick with them until I’m fed up, then have a change. The Waterman Inspired Blue ink is really cheering my days in this cloudy, chilly spell we’re having. I am having to force myself not to ink up every pen with it, and to use the pens I’ve got different coloured ink in at least occasionally.

Thank you for dropping by to read about my set-up in the William Hannah notebook. I am very happy with this as my daily companion; it truly is an item that I know to be useful and feel to be beautiful. Keep an eye open in the coming weeks for the third part of the set-up which will be about the notes section and what I choose to keep in there.