A couple of weeks ago, I shared with you my planner setup for 2019. Well, it’s 2019 and I know we’re only a day in, but I’m already loving my planner! But, as I was setting it up and my planner was getting thicker and thicker I realized something: I needed just a little separation. 2018 brought about a lot of new things here at Casa Knight: bebe started karate, which leads to several practices each week, RadioMan started a new job that not only includes sportscasting but also running a radio group (and all the meetings, late nights, and ballgames that entails), and I started working part-time outside the home.
All of that means our family schedule is packed. It also means that, many times, our family schedule takes up space that I need to have dedicated to my writing…and when I don’t, some of the business parts of my writing can be put off or (gasp!) forgotten. Which is where Separation comes in. I decided to split out my writing from our family planning (although some of the same appointments go in both – because it never hurts to have some things in multiple places). So, I bought my first Happy Planner Mini (this one, an hourly format) that I’m not using hourly but as a workout, food, and water log, along with appointments and family things.
My main planner (a BIG sized Happy planner, in the Teacher layout will be my business planner) remains, with sections for writing, social media, planning, refilling the well, you get the idea). And, I created a project planner. This is only a planner in the loosest sense of the word – I’m using parts of a Happy Notes BIG, with sections for different writing projects (those contracted through NY and those that are INDIE), ideas for my blog and social media, and a few non-fiction ideas, too. This is one of the project pages, from my book that is coming out in March. Speaking of plans, it’s the beginning of a new month and that means it’s time for GOALS! Meanwhile, let’s recap December:
- Set a daily writing goal on Sunday of each week (Sunday is my planning day); my minimum writing goal will be 1,000 words. – CHECK
- Finalize a partial/synopsis for my agent. – CHECK
- Finalize the novella edits and formatting in preparation for the March release (I just saw the cover and I canNOT wait to share with you guys!). – CHECK
Despite the craziness of December, I did meet my three main goals, so I’m super happy about that. Now for January’s goals:
- Continue setting daily writing goals on Sunday, with a minimum goal of 1,000 on writing days
- Begin tracking my food and water intake, along with workouts, in my mini planner. Health is going on the front burner this year because…well, because it needs to. And by health I do mean physical, but I’ll be doing some mental-health things, too. Stay tuned!
- Start writing my next full length project, with a goal of pitching by the end of January. In addition, continue working on my next contemporary series idea, this one with the goal of pitching mid-February.
- Begin working on plans for my book releasing in March, including a cover reveal and creating a dedicated page for it here on my website.
If you’ve got a goal (or twelve) for January, feel free to share in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!
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!