I’m finally back with another planner-related blog post. I’ve been meaning to post one at least once a week but life usually gets in the way. Anyway, for this week I thought I’d share with you how I do forward planning in my planner.
Forward planning, in the planner world, refers to scheduling or plotting important dates or events for the next month or so. It’s a process I normally do every end of the month to prepare for the following month. I do this so that I can already see with one glance which weeks will be busy. This helps me plan each week more efficiently.
Now, I’d like to share with you how I actually do forward planning. If you’ve been following me for a while now, you’d know that I use a travelers notebook as a planner. However, the materials I use and the process I follow can be adapted to any type of planner.
I normally use a monthly insert for forward planning. This one is an undated week-on-two-pages printable insert that I got for free at Wendaful.com (the site has lots of free printable inserts!). I chose an undated one because I can use it year after year after year.
Aside from the insert, I use other materials as well not just to plot our family schedule for the month but also to decorate my monthly pages as well. I use pens and highlighters, stickers, washi tapes, and sticky notes.
In the beginning of the year, I list down what I want to plot on my monthly pages. This year, I decided to color code them too so that it will be easy for me to see them on the page. I decided to use dot stickers in different colors for this and I set aside the last page of the insert to make a legend for all the things I wanted to plot. I include school events, personal and family events, appointments, holidays, my husband’s vacation leaves, etc. Here’s what I came up with.
Now, let me show you what my typical monthly planner spread looks like. I normally cover the sides that I won’t be using with washi tape. I record birthdays with stickers. I write all the schedules with their corresponding colored dot sticker. Then I use a highlighter to mark the days when our two daughters are here with us (they stay at their dad’s house most of the time).
As you can see on the photo above, I plotted my son’s MAPEH class schedule every Tuesday of January in red. This reminds me to not schedule anything else important on that day because going to and from his class already takes half our day.
Here’s my April monthly spread below.
You can just see by one look on the spread that April was a hectic month for us. We had a LOT of school events to attend to, which left me with not much time for anything else.
Anyway, I’ve been using this system for about three years now and it really works for me. I’ve tweaked my system a bit over the years and for sure I’ll tweak it again when the time comes that something is no longer working well.
Please bear in mind that I don’t think everyone should decorate their planner spreads like I do. It’s just something I do for fun. I like opening up my planner and seeing pretty stuff. So, feel free to not do the same if it doesn’t work for you. My hope is just to inspire you to make planning a habit if it’s not already. It really makes my mom life feel less overwhelming. If you’re not yet convinced, do read my previous blog post on the 10 Reasons Why Moms Need to Plan.
How about you? How do you forward plan? Do share in the comments.