I love this time of year, from the decorations and the music to the parties and the food. What I love most, though, is that I get to start planning for new adventures, new books, new career plans. It’s scary, but it’s also really invigorating. And, because I’m starting to get things together for 2019, I thought I’d show you guys my planner set up for the new year.
First, the basics: what I’m using! I’ve been a fan of The Happy Planner for a few years now. I didn’t think I’d like the disc format at first, because I didn’t realize how sturdy those little discs are. I have yet to lose a page from my planner even though I lug it around everywhere. I also really like the flexibility of it – want to add a page? It’s as simple as using a disc punch, and without pinching your fingers in binder rings. Want all your monthly layouts at the front? Put them all there. Want to divide your year on a quarterly basis (that’s what I do)? It’s as easy as adding in your goal pages and inserting a divider or two. This year, I’m changing one thing about my planner set-up – I’m going with a Teacher Edition from The Happy Planner line.
Why the Teacher Edition? I like the “boxed” format, even though I have to hack it just a little. Here’s what
- Putting a blank box sticker on the left where Happy Planner puts the Monday-Friday days of the week. Those boxes will now be my time blocks for different projects (literal projects like the contemporary and WF books I’m currently writing) and tasks (like social media, home stuff, bebe’s schedule). Then, I write the Monday-Sunday days of the week at the top of each page. I’m doing this because I like to plan through the weekend. If you don’t, you wouldn’t have to do that hack.
- The Teacher Planner runs August-July, not January-December. To fix that, I’m simply putting the July-December monthlies in the back of the planner, where they belong, and I’ll redate them as I need to. Sounds like a lot of work? It really isn’t, especially since I’m already re-dating the weekly pages to be Monday-Sunday.
Second, my planner set-up. I mentioned that I plan quarterly. That means I add quarterly goal sheets to my planner in January, April, July, and October. On these pages I list any deadlines I have, both for drafting and editing. I also list weekly and monthly wordcount goals, along with plans for my business as a whole. I’ll also block out vacations, snow days and “add in” time off for things like sick days. My quarterly plans might include goals for backlist promotion, new books, social media/follower goals, goals for this blog and my other social channels. This keeps the “big picture” in one place where I can track how I’m doing.
I also use Monthly Goal pages. Like the quarterly, the monthly helps me break down my writing goals, my social media/marketing goals, and other tasks that I need to accomplish. I also have a space (you can see it on the left side of the page) where I have three habit trackers – one for writing, one for health (exercise, water intake) and one for “me” time…because self-care is HUGELY important.
Seems like too much planning? Maybe, but it works for me. What I like about this kind of planning is that it helps me see not only the big picture for the quarter but what I need to accomplish each month (and week, using the weekly pages) to meet those bigger goals. It also helps me be more realistic because it’s already accounting for time off for things like vacation or when bebe is sick (or RadioMan or me, for that matter). If you’d like to give these pages a try, they’re available – and free! – over on my Printables Page. What about you? Do you have a planner system you love or have big plans for the new year? Share in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!