2014 System Revamp: Daily Planner

The first post in my “2014 System Revamp” series highlights my daily planner. 

It’s been a while since I discussed how I actually use my planner.  Before we get into the nitty gritty, I will say that I do not use my planner for work tasks.  As discussed previously, I use Wunderlist to keep track of all of my work tasks, as well as for some personal use.  In short, many of my work tasks repeat, have a lot of steps, and often get pushed off from one day to the next.  I used to keep my work tasks in my planner but found it to be too cumbersome to keep up with there, hence the switch.  (If you click on the link above, you can read how I use Wunderlist in detail.)

With that said, my personal planner is used to keep track of my entire schedule (work included), personal lists and tasks, projects, and notes.  I also use it for record keeping—the weather (since my sinus and ear health is very dependent on changes in the weather), how I’m feeling and any medication I took (for the above reason), as well as any exercise I did and what I ate that day (to keep me on track with my Health Journey).  I’m also trying to keep track of what books I read on the days for which I finish and start a book, but I often don’t remember to track this.  I’d like to start adding my gratitude items here, which would then be transferred to my Gratitude Notebook—so, yes, they would end up in two places, but it allows me to see my gratitudes on the day that I acknowledge them as well as in a complete list format.  I haven’t start this yet though, so we’ll see how that goes.

So!  Lets’ start at the beginning…

I’m currently using Reggie, my Compact Regency. 

I have been using the compact size since August 2011.  I love the compact size because it allows me to stick with the personal size pages but not to have to carry more than what I need in order to fill a binder.  I do wish that the compacts were a smidge bigger in terms of ring size.  But this works for me.

(As an aside, I briefly thought about moving back to the personal size.  We may have an upcoming project in the next year or two that will require a lot of notes, contact information, lists, and so forth that would require more binder room.  I did move into my personal Malden just to try it out again.  I love the Malden, but I noticed that in order to fill it up, I would have to add months of daily sheets—this was the exact reason I downsized to the compact in the first place—I don’t need a ton of future daily pages in my planner.  Since we don’t know when this project may come about, I’ve decided to hold off on moving back to the personal until such time as I need to, or until I decide I just want to.)

Upon opening my Regency, you can see I have appointment cards and a small stack of jot pads in the card slots.

There is both an exterior and interior full-length pocket behind the card slots—the exterior holds my business cards, and the interior holds Russell + Hazel sticky to do sheets and Martha Stewart stickers.

On the right side, I have a blank Filofax sheet of paper with my Vermont love sticker.  (I just had to put reinforcements on the holes, as this sheet is getting a lot of wear.)  You can read more about my Vermont love here.

You can see that I have subject tabs to keep all of my information organized (details for each are below).

I didn’t get any before pictures, but I had removed the tabs in order to save space.  So I had all of my sheets of lists and notes lumped together separated by top tabs (removable sticky tabs) to easily access certain items.  But I found that I was doing a lot of flipping around to find everything else.  So I put the tabs back in.  They do take up more room, but in the end, it’s worth it for me.

Behind my Vermont Love sheet is my dashboard.

Again, I didn’t take a before picture, but I had season-themed Post-its, which I love.  But because everything was a different size and shape, it looked sloppy (to me at least).  So I revamped that as well, keeping to square and rectangles Post-its.  It looks much better.

The dashboard itself is a Filofax flyleaf (apparently no longer available on the US site).  I keep the Post-its on the backside of the flyleaf because they tend to fall off and get bumped on the front.  I haven’t had a problem with them on the backside yet.

After the dashboard start my tabs.


I don’t have a separate binder for my blog (surprising, I know, since I have a binder for many other things).  I have found that I don’t have enough information to create a blog binder—I don’t run a tight schedule of posts (I’m lucky to get one post out a week), so the only thing I need to keep track of is my topic ideas.

I use a Word template I created (the template is just the layout of the page size I need).  So I have a typed list.  I highlight anything I have done photos for.  Once a topic has been written about, it gets crossed off.  I will hand write additional topics on the back of these sheets.  When it gets too messy or I run out of room, I’ll update the Word file and print again.

I also keep a list of journal topics I want to write about.

I don’t get to write in my journal everyday.  But things happen, and when they do, I want to be able to remember to write about them when I get the opportunity.  So I keep a quick list in my Filo that I can add to at any time.  When I have time to sit and journal, I will refer back to this list.


I keep random notes and information here, things like my 2014 goals and resolutions.

I also have notes on my health and my husband’s.  I keep just a few sheets of blank notepaper here for additional notes.


Right now, I don’t have any projects to show you, but each one gets its own color of notepaper.  I do have three sheets in there now, waiting for a project to come up.

A project consists of an event that will have its own lists of tasks and information, something like the New York City Philofaxy Meet Up (I plan to organize one for the spring, so keep watching this space!) or Christmas gifting or hosting a party. Once the project is complete, I remove the notepaper.  I don’t archive my project pages—once it’s done, it’s gone.

To Do

Unlike projects, To Dos are quick-action items.  If I have a task that needs to get done on a specific day (buy milk, call Steve), they get listed on the day it needs to be done.  My To Do section is a running list of things that need to be done at some point. 

The first is my Media List.

This is a list of books or movies or songs that I want to read or watch or download, respectively.  For the most part, this list is a temporary holding place until such time as I can research the item a little further or transfer it to a master list (stored as a Google Drive spreadsheet due to the length and color-coding system—you can read more about my booklist here).

I also have lists of both personal and household general to dos.

In addition, I keep a list of organizing projects I want to accomplish.

When I have time, I’ll choose something from one of these lists and work on it.  Some items are works in progress.

To Buy

I keep lists of things that need to be bought, things for personal use, as well as for the household in general.

When I’m headed out to the store, I’ll pull whatever I need or want to work on from these lists and cross them off once they’re bought.


I keep one year’s worth of monthly inserts in my compact. 

I put a general outline of my schedule here, as well as the Martha Stewart stickers to remind me not to plan so many things.  The monthly layout helps me to forward plan—I can see my weeks and weekends in a quick glance and decide what invitations I want to accept when based on how busy I am during any given week.  Anything that’s tentative gets written in pencil.  Once it’s confirmed, it gets rewritten in pen (the details for all events get written on the corresponding daily sheet).  I use a page marker to mark the current month.

I also keep three month’s worth of daily sheets in my compact—one week of the prior month, the entire current month, the entire following month, and one week of the month after that.  Anything that comes up for a day I don’t have a daily sheet for gets jotted down on the monthly page.  When it comes time to pull out the corresponding daily page, I transfer the information over.

I mark each month with my monthly tabs.

You can read more about my monthly tab images here.

The current month’s tab gets a list of things that need to be done for the month.

For this, I use DayTimer’s sticky hot sheet.  Depending on the item, it might get transferred to a specific day.  In that case, I put a check mark next to the item.  Once it’s been done, it gets crossed off the list.

I use a second page marker to mark the current day.

I also have a DayTimer hot sheet (non-sticky) for items that I want to get done at some point, but that are too important to forget about.  (Currently, I don’t see these sheets list on DayTimer’s website.)  I move this list with my page marker.

I got a little lazy with the day above.  Usually, I keep track of a ton of things during the day.  You can see what I mean here:

I keep track of my exercise; my meals, meds, and water intake; the weather; my Weight Watchers Daily Points tally; and appointments.  I will also write down anything else I think is worthy of a notation.

The last item in my planner is a top-opening envelope with the funeral cards for my dad (facing one side) and my uncle (facing the backside).

In the pocket in the back, I keep extra DayTimer sticky hot sheets, as well as any pertinent paperwork.

Since my favorite pen is too large for the pen loop, I just stick the clasp part in the pen loop.  This has always worked fine for me.

So there we have it—a quick rundown of my daily planner.

This new layout is working well for me.  I like the divided sections, even if there are only a few sheets of paper behind each.  It allows me to find what I need fairly quickly.  If I ever move back to a personal binder, I imagine it will have more daily sheets and more colored notepaper for projects.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions!


  1. Hi! Your new system looks perfectly working for you. I finally got a ring planner (not a Filofax though -- for practical/availability reasons) and I started using it but... I don't have a system. I'm still trying to figure it out, so looking at everyone else's setup is particularly useful these days. I used to use Wunderlist, too. I still keep a "Someday/Maybe" list (a really long, random list) but I hope to move it to my paper planner too. The digital + paper planning combo does work sometimes, they complete each other actually -- the only downside of it is having to update both platforms regularly but oh well. We like it anyway. :P

    Question: do you track goals/resolutions? If so, any ideas to avoid making it look like a pile of overwhelming expectations/horribly long to-do list? I struggle with that, that's why goals haven't found a place on my planner yet.

  2. I have had the same basis system for a long time, so I don't recall how I initially came up with it. All I can say, is start somewhere and let your system grow organically based on what you realize/decide you need and want. You'll get there, though reading up on how others do it is good too!

    I have a list of goals/resolutions for 2014, as shown above. I don't have a system to officially track them all, though I should have a good idea of which ones I'm accomplishing, and which ones need more work. Mine does look like a long to do list, but some of them go hand-in-hand, so as I work on one, the other should follow (example: if I get to bed on time and get a good night's rest, I should be able to exercise in the morning, this working on my health goals). For me, goals and resolutions isn't so much about checking off action items but rather keeping them in mind as something to work towards. I want to incorporate these into my daily life, as opposed to reach a finish line. I guess it depends on the type of goals/resolutions you have mind -- what you're working towards may require some phsyical tracking, others may not.

    Does that make any sense, or did I make it confusing?

  3. You have a LOT of stuff in that small planner! I'm impressed.

    1. Ha ha, thank you! Yes, I'm surprised at how much I can actually get in there. I can't add one more thing, however.

  4. I LOVE the loveVt insert! I'm a UVMer so I would love to have that!

    1. Nice! Yeah, I'm not sure where my sister in law found that. I also have a cutting board in the shape of Vermont with a little heart 'round about the location we vacation every year. But every time we go, I'm also scouting around for new little things I can put in my planner somehow.

  5. Love this post!! I always pick up some good ideas from you. I really like and will probably copy the dashboard! I'm just not that creative to think of something like that on my own. ;-(... Also, the Martha Stewart stickers! I bought her "home organization" issue several months back and there was a full page ad for Avery. I also discovered a Staples nearby that had her whole range on display... I think I may just have to pay a visit to the store tomorrow!

    1. Thanks, Michele. :) Ooo, a trip to Staples for Avery accessories - I'm there!

  6. Great post! I love your system. I am using a ringed Day-Timer and am debating about getting a Filofax planner. You get quite a bit into your Reggie.

    1. Thank you! Yes, I had to whittle down my inserts to only what I need at any given time. But it helps that I have bigger binders at home to keep track of everything that I can't fit into my compact. I have several Filofax binders and love each of them for different reasons. I recomend them if you're looking at them, though they are a little more expensive than other brands. Good luck!


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