2017 Planner Tour I’ve been using a planner for a while, but I’m not very good at planning. Even after several years, I tend to use it for tracking! I found an old planner from college that I had written some notes in and then forgotten about it–it was, apparently, useless to me! Well, they’re not useless to my anymore, but let me show you what I use it for and how planners best work for me.

I own several planners and I like to switch them out depending on my mood. My favorite (which I’m kicking 2017 off with) is my Union Jack Filofax in A5. I love A5 because, since I live in America, I can make my own inserts, print them out on an 8-1/2 by 11″ piece of paper, cut it in half, punch some holes, and I’m good to go! (I sell my inserts on both Etsy and Zibbet if you see anything that might interest you. I sell mostly A5, but I have a variety of sizes, from full size 8-1/2 by 11″ to personal size and A4, and you can always request custom pages or something be made in a particular size–I do everything from planner pages, to household binder pages, to journaling pages, but I’ll do another post on that later.)

2017 Planner TourWhen you first open my planner you can see my favorite part–the pockets! The variety of ephemera in the planner pocket is ever changing. I try to keep a few Project Life cards in there for notes, address exchanges, etc. They’re sturdy and I own an overabundance of them (I can’t stop buying them!), which is why I prefer them over notepaper. I also keep any to-do mail in there: I currently have a penpal letter tucked in that I need to respond to, as well as a bill that needs to be paid. In my clear pocket I keep a variety of stickers–most are from Etsy, some are Korean or Japanese planner stickers, and some are just random (everybody’s got a random! #moviequote). If you can see the polka dots through the plastic zip pocket, you can see I don’t really have a dashboard. I have a clear piece of plastic that protects the pages behind it, but I’m one of the rate few that don’t use a dashboard!

2017 Planner TourMy next set of pages is something I picked up during my planner travels. I’ve collected a lot during my planner travels–a lot that’s just sat on my shelves as I figured out what worked for me. It sat there and I didn’t get rid of it, and I’m so glad I just let that stuff accumulate! One thing I discovered over the last year is a weekly doesn’t work in a ringed binder for me, but the calendar part does. While I was flipping through my “planner stuff” to set up my 2017 I discovered somewhere along the way I had purchased a pack of SN@P! Simple Stories planner inserts. It was the full calendar insert, plus weekly spreads for each month. I chose to put just the monthly calendar into my planner. I love looking back over the month to see what’s happened–lunch with so and so–but with all the other tracking I do in my planner, the weekly spreads just don’t get used.

2017 Planner TourThe next part of my planner is set aside for finances. Some of this is new, as I buckle down this year to get my debts paid off and finances in order. One of the great things I like about a ringed planner is the personalization. My planner is always in flux–I can make it work for me, and if my needs change throughout the year, the month, or even the week, then I can sit down at my computer and make up a new page that makes it more efficient for me. So my financial section #1 holds short term financial pages–financial related things that change on a monthly or weekly basis. Bills & Goals (do I have a goal of saving $500 by the end of February, or paying off a credit card by the end of August?) and a Wish List, so I can think about and budget for things I want and need. The divider is in there because I don’t know where I want it yet!

2017 Planner TourThis next bit is probably the most important part of my planner thus far. I am constantly turning to these pages to stay on top of things. So what I have found that works for me and my budget is to have a list of all my Bills Due on the left side, their amounts, and to mark them off when their do, and my Check Register on the Right. It makes it easy to see what I’ve paid, what I need to pay with this paycheck, and what I need to budget for.

2017 Planner TourFinancial section #2 holds long-term finance related pages, things that are going to take a lot longer to work on. I may end up sharing my financial journey on this blog so I’ll try not to go into here, so I’ll just say I’m getting a lot of guidance from Dave Ramsey right now (I recommend watching him on YouTube). I have taped a Project Life card to my tab on the left side so the debts I need to pay off are always in view, with space to jot down a paid off date. I want to keep them on the list so I can see the progress I’ve made when I’m feeling frustrated. The right side is my Baby Step One Jar so I can “fill up” the jar as I fill up my savings account.

2017 Planner TourBehind the jar I have several Debt Pay Down pages. I try to focus on one card at a time so I only fill out page page at a time, and I keep my filled out pages in the planner as motivation. Again, I’ll go into that in a later post, but having something to physically look at, and not just a digital number on the screen, really helps to keep me on track. This is a page I developed in 2016 and one I’m going to continue using in 2017.

2017 Planner TourI added an additional two pages after my debt paydown pages, just because it needed to be in my financial sections, but I don’t know where they’ll end staying. My financial section may end up expanding to 3 sections, we’ll have to see how things work out. I added a tracker for my FICO score (something one of my credit cards recently started offering for free, so I thought watching the score go up as my debt to credit ration goes down might be encouraging) as well as a tracker for Online Purchases. I have been terrible about tracking purchases online, but it’s time to start being accountable for how much I buy!

2017 Planner TourMy next section is “Medical Stuff.” I’ve struggled with various things over the last couple of years (who hasn’t?) and these are pages that organically ended up in my planner. I used tabs at the top to mark pages because there was no need for each to take up a tab. The first page is medication I’m taking which mostly goes with the second page–tracking my¬† migraines. (I take both prescription and non-prescription medications for migraines, depending on the severity and triggers. A non-stop party.)

2017 Planner TourThe third page makes my doctor happy to look back on. At one point we thought my headaches were due to blood pressure issues before tying them into my migraines, but I still keep an eye on my blood pressure due to the medications I’m on for the migraines just in case…you know how it is! And the last page in this section is for weight, because one of my constant Resolutions is to lose some!

2017 Planner TourMy next sections getting a bit…weird? Mixed? Sometimes they have a purpose, sometimes they don’t, but I like having the full set of tabs in my planner in case I need them. Currently, I have the section behind Medical set up for Blog Post Ideas. It gives me a place to jot down ideas and somewhere to expand on a blog topic during work hours or when I’m unable to bust open my blog and start writing. The next section doesn’t have a photo: it holds a few passwords I can’t memorize for the life of me, as well as some ideas I’ve jotted down, some to do lists, and just a big smattering of random lists and whatnots that I need to hang on to and want them at hand. The one behind that holds a few planner pages I printed out (Mail Records, Thank You Card Records) that I would like to use, but I don’t know if I can make myself get in the habit, but I want them on hand just in case I can get myself to use them!

2017 Planner TourThe back of my planner holds a various mishmash. I keep paper in here I made out of a journal (I took apart a journal from Marshall’s because I liked the paper and punched some holes in it), as well as some page protectors that hold things like used stamps (because where else do I put them when I’m out and about?). It’s the kind of stuff I’ve added that make my planner work for me.

2017 Planner TourI also keep a copy of my aunt’s memorial service program with me. Some things you can’t explain, but that’s part of the personalization and making something yours. Add some photos or a vision board. Make it something you want to use, not something other people want to use!



  1. I would say your planner is organized just the way you like it! You really pack a lot into it.

    • Yes!! It’s taken a while for me to get there–you really have to stop trying to follow what other people put in their planners and just put in what YOU like! And mine just doesn’t include what most people put in theirs.

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