Declare a day for annual planning

I read on Sarah’s blog where she said she wished we could have an International Planning Holiday where we would all take out our new diaries, transfer information and get all transitioned out of the old and into the new one.

Well, I was agreeing with her as I read and then I realised… I already do this!

My international planning holiday is not on a specific day, but does fall within a specific week of the year – the week between Christmas and New Year.

I love this week and have referred to it in the past as the best time of the year.

This is how I do my annual planning day:

  1. I choose a day during that week (26 – 31 December) where I do not have any socials planned because there’s nothing worse than feeling rushed. It’s usually on the 27th or 28th, but has been as late as the first week of January some years.
  2. I ensure that I have a good block of 2 – 3 hours to work on my diary. I have, in the past, gone to a coffee shop to do this planning work uninterrupted.
  3. I make sure I have all my gel pens and highlighters handy, as well as post-it notes (the proper stuff, not the cheap sticky notes) and washi tape.
  4. I write all the important dates in my new diary, and transfer in any other important information, like passwords. Don’t judge – it works for me.
  5. I write in all the school terms, both in my monthly view, and during the actual weeks.
  6. I get January all set up with scheduled dates, friend plans, etc.
  7. Lastly, I move some lists to my new bullet journal (like life admin, blog post ideas, etc.) or the notepaper in my diary, if there is notepaper, like the years I’ve bought an 18-month diary, but only started during the actual calendar year.

Important to note:

I may not have set goals by this time, or chosen my word of the year, but I do think it’s important (for me, anyway) to at least feel somewhat in control by having the week-to-week aspect of my life set up.

Do you declare a day for annual planning? Why don’t you block out the two hours right now to prepare your 2019 diary?

Do you have your 2019 diary/ planner yet?

 

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I’ve long spoke about embracing your paper-loving self.

I’ve also mentioned before that generally speaking, Js on the Myers Briggs are most likely to actually use their diaries. Ps buy them all the time but from mid-Feb they’ve given up 🙂

I asked in my Instastories a few weeks ago if people use diaries and it was a lot lower than I thought :0

All that said, if you do use a diary and you haven’t yet made a choice for next year, let me point out some things to consider:

  1. Do you think big picture or daily detail? Use weekly for bigger picture and daily for a detailed view.
  2. Will you feel guilty or overwhelmed having undone items on a daily basis? Weekly might be better for you.
  3. Is it important to have monthly planning pages? This is a not-negotiable for me. I have put down many diaries that don’t have a monthly overview and notes (I use these for goals) page.
  4. Is the space large enough for your handwriting? I have medium handwriting and many diaries have lines that are tiny.
  5. Prettiness is an important consideration too. I promise you, if you don’t like the look of your diary, you won’t use it consistently. I’ve bought only ONE plain black diary in all my years of diary buying, but I did jazz it up by putting my word of the year on the front.
  6. Price. I know that the cost per use is low if you actually use a diary, but I still can’t bring myself to pay exorbitant prices for a diary when I can get a perfectly good one for hundreds of rands cheaper. I have seen some South African ones for R700. I have the money; just can’t do it.

I’ve seen some beautiful ones this year but to be honest, I don’t think anything has matched my 2018 diary, which I do love! If you need a reminder, it’s this one.

I have settled on one though. In typical Murphy style, I then won a diary on Instagram (how cool and weird because I’ve only won two things in my entire life before this!). I’m hoping and praying it actually arrives in South Africa because it is gorgeous…. I’ve ordered other things from Singapore and Japan, and am still waiting for them to get to me since June….. and I desperately hope that this one arrives, and arrives soon. I’ll give it another month and then show you the one I bought.

Tell me, have you decided on your 2019 diary yet? Have you gone weekly or daily?

How to choose your 2017 diary/ planner

I’m using a hybrid system next year and I can’t wait to show you how I’ll be using it. I’m currently waiting for my big box of goodness to arrive here in Johannesburg before I post some pretty pics… although I did print out some pages from my digital downloads so I wouldn’t feel like I was missing out 🙂

I said that as a disclaimer because as you all know (especially if you follow Organising Queen on Instagram), I do love stationery.

So I went looking to see what’s out and about this year in terms of planners.

There’s plenty…..big, small, colourful, boring :), but the one thing I haven’t seen this year is my absolute favourite – the 2017 softcover Legami weekly diary.

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The interesting thing is that we are more connected to our phones than ever before and yet (or maybe because of it?) people seem to be more interested in paper planners than ever before. There are many, many beautiful planners to choose from on the internet, especially if you live in the US.

I remember years ago when I asked if you wore a watch – I still do 5 years later – there was a mixed bag of responses. Do you wear a watch?

Back to the topic.

There’s such a wide selection in the shops that the choice can get really overwhelming.

  • page a day daily planner?
  • vertical weekly or horizontal weekly?
  • notes pages or not?
  • filofax sized, A5, A4?

So how do you choose the best one?

Here are a couple of factors to consider:

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1. Paper or electronic?
Do you prefer paper or electronic? Don’t feel pressured to use an electronic diary just to keep up with your friends if you’re actually a paper gal.

I love Outlook as much as the next person but I need a paper planner for 95% of my planning.

That said, if you are techno-savvy, use it happily. Please just remember to back up your data regularly.

2. Size
Your planner has to be portable if you’re going to use it most effectively.

Decide on a comfortable size and stick to that. If your planner is HUGE, no matter how cute it is, you’re not going to use it unless you’re strong!

However, don’t go for a small size especially if you have big handwriting. Ahem 😉

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3. Space per day
Do you like a week-at-a-glance or a page-a-day format?

I like the weekly format because I do weekly planning. And there’s just enough space to jot down your 3 – 5 Eat the Frog tasks every day.

But more than that, I like space for notes, not just appointments.

My husband loves a page a day, even if some pages have nothing on it. He isn’t bothered by the empty page (waste of space to me :)) but tells me that he wants the space there when he needs it.

4. Monthly tools
Do you need a monthly event calendar and a budget form? What about a monthly goals form?

Do you need a pen flap, a ribbon to mark your place or a pocket for bits and pieces of paper?

I like a goals page between months or a page for notes that I use for goals. I also like a monthly view at the start of every month.

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5. Other tools
Do you need lots of name and address pages? Or note paper at the back?

My advice to you is decide on your non-negotiables and make peace with the rest.

Make sure you love your diary so that you want to use it. If that means you need to get yourself a hot pink flexible cover, then get it.

A few more important notes:

If you don’t absolutely love the diary in the shops, don’t get it. Your enthusiasm level will drop further as you start using it.

Open the plastic covering (check with the sales assistants) so that you check everything out carefully. It’s beyond me how the retailers expect one to invest in a diary when you can’t even look through the pages. You’re not just going to look at the cover; you need to use it so make sure you’re happy.

Happy shopping!

PS If you want to buy the Shining Life diary (physical or digital download), you can print multiple pages of the sections you use most often

PPS Please tag me on Instagram so I can see your diary for next year

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