How I Set Up My Planner + Notebook

New year means a new planner. I’ve been using one for years, and I honestly don’t know how I’d live my life without one.

This is the planner I bought from Target, which is different from the ones I’ve bought the past few years. The one I used to buy was close to $30 and I didn’t want to spend that much; this one from Target was $11.99 and had the same format I liked: monthly and weekly spreads.

You’re seeing blank ones from April since I’ve already written a ton in January. I’ll use the monthly spread to write in my WFH days, any appointments, events, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. I’ll carry over those into the weekly spreads, and I like that this one has lines for each of the days; it makes me feel a bit more organized since I’ll make a lot of check lists with boxes.

I’m still using the same notebook as last year, mostly because there was a little less than half of it still left to use. There’s a good chance I’ll have to get another one to finish out 2023, but there are no rules here and I can do what I want.

I did set up a few introductory pages for the new year:

I know people track a lot of stuff in their bullet journals, but I’ve found when I track too much I get obsessive about it. In my planning, I had a blank page after my Bucket List + Goals section, so I thought it would be cool to set up a spread to track the days when I read. I usually read every day but I’d like to see at the end of the year actually how many days I read. Since I needed extra rows, I cut a piece of notebook paper and taped it on the bottom and it folds up so I can close the notebook itself.

Nothing too fancy with my books and movement logs lists. I keep track of the book title and author and what star rating I gave it. The DNF Books list is new for this year that I’ll fill out whenever I stop reading a book. For the movement log, I write the date, the activity, and either the distance or time.

This is part of my “Highlight of the Day” spread. I did this last year, too, and I liked looking back on what I wrote for each day. You’re seeing February and March because I already writing in January’s and it would give away some news I’ve got coming up—it’s good, don’t worry. I wrote out all of the months back to back, which took a long time, but it’s better to have it all done now than trying to do it throughout the year.

This is the monthly spread that I’ll make; this time around I’m going to make the header section with the month name seasonal/festive since I have a bunch of markers. I’ll include three sections: To Do, Blog Posts, and Appointments. I’ve found it’s easier for my brain to see these at a glance written out in advance.

Each Sunday, I’ll sit down with my notebook and planner and write out my goals for the week. I’ll continue the goals lists for each week under the previous one, so they’re grouped together by month. My January spread and goals for this week are covered because there’s some personal stuff in there, plus more of the news that will be forthcoming. But I wanted to show what the layouts look like.

The planner and notebook live on my desk when I’m home, and I’ll put them in my purse when I go to work. Aside from the pack of markers I got at Michael’s a few years ago, I use a blue pen from my realtor for the regular writing part. She gave me a ton of them, and they write well. (We’re a low budget operation over here.)

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