Plans of my own

For the past several years, I’ve used a quarterly planning system. That means four times a year, I was supposed to have a fresh start to figure out what I was working on, where I was headed, and how I was going to get there. Recently, however, I noticed something about my use of the quarterly system.

Starting with a clean slate four times a year was supposed to be encouraging, letting me plan smaller and focus on more granular tasks. But it also included a milestone system where I was supposed to see how close I was to achieving my quarterly goals. Without fail, three months ended up being too big a span of time, with too many unpredictable pieces, and I found myself disappointed the end of every quarter instead of empowered because I was always so far off track. Always too far behind, with no hope of being able to catch up.

Pairing the stage of life I’m in–where things change radically in my schedule week over week–with some developing health problems I’m working to fix, I realized it was just unrealistic to plan that far out.

So I started thinking about what I really need, and over the course of several months, I started developing my own planner pages with InDesign. This meant learning a whole new program, so going was slow, but I’m starting January with something new: the first draft of my own custom planner system, something designed to flex around big schedule changes, no matter how often they come. Something designed to help me get through one month at a time, while still making serious progress toward the things I want to achieve in a year’s span.

And man, let me tell you, developing something like this is a lot harder than I thought it would be. This is my first month using the system, and even just from sitting down to fill it out to get January rolling, I’ve already found four things I want to change, one section I want to completely redo, and one place that needs to be expanded by several pages to make sure everything runs smoothly each month.

But it gives me a chance to use a lot of methods I’ve experimented with over a few years, and while it will take a while to refine it into something really effective and efficient, I’m hopeful for how a few things in particular will help me stay super-focused on the things I want to achieve.

It’s strange to see how many of the different systems I’ve tried have amalgamated into this layout, and I’ll probably make a lot more changes because I’m not sure the layouts I’ve created will be the ones I need or want all the time. For example, having large daily pages for my usual work weeks is great, but what about the weeks I’m on the go? Having a set of more compact overview pages that I can swap in as needed sounds super useful, and I’ll be adding that to my list of things to make. It helps that I can do everything at home and just print it off as needed, so I can experiment with a lot of different layouts and designs to find something that truly works for me and my family’s schedule.

When everything is done, I’ll probably share a full explanation of how I set everything up and how I use it, and at some point, I hope to make it available for other people to use, too. That said, while I’ve got some people helping me test it to make improvements, it will probably take a while to iron everything out and also create something fresh and unique enough to make it worthwhile. Maybe it’ll be ready in a few months. Maybe it’ll be ready this summer. Or maybe this time next year is when you’ll see me sharing a look at the final version.

Either way, it’s a fun experiment and I’m honestly surprised it took me this long to sit down and work on a planner system of my own. I’ll share more information about specifics as I work things out, but the new year is calling, and my new monthly planner spread awaits…


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.