In which I explain

In the interests of balance between writing and planning  I was delighted that this arrived this morning.

However, so did this.

I cannot review the book until I have read it so writing followers who are bored to tears by endless pictures of planners, I am afraid you are going to have a wait a little longer.  Look upon it as patience practice.  You have just sent off your outline and first three chapters, each edited to the closest thing to perfection since Pippa Middleton’s bum and now you have to wait, feigning nonchalance until the reply floats onto your doormat some three months later.  I won’t make you wait three months.

I could review the Personal Planner UK, but even though it won’t take me as long to read as Julia Cameron it does merit a good going over.  Furthermore I promised Laurie at that I would do a comparison between the A5 Personal Planner UK and the Erin Condren and that will take some time.

So I shall stick to my original plan and give you a sneaky peek into how I am currently running my life with three planners (plus a few more  ….)  Planner and stationery freaks settle down and get comfortable, everyone else – normal service will resume next week.

Currently I am using three planners.  One is with me all the time, one is more of a working book for notes and comes with me when I am working, the last is the stay at home everything is in it planner

The Textagenda comes everywhere with me as a combined diary and notebook. There is a diary section at the top, not huge but enough.  I use the priority section underneath for a summary of the day’s pick up/drop offs/after school activities etc.  With three children two schools and a plethora of music lessons, running practice etc I need a quick reminder of where I have to be and when.  That leaves the rest of the page for notes, ideas on the move and rough journaling.

The Uncalendar is my daily planner.  Wherever and whenever I sit down to work I have it open next to me.  The daily to do list (colour coded so I can group types of activities together such as phone calls, errands, housework, research, paperwork etc.) goes under each day.  In the notes section at the back I have a rolling to do list.  I start the day with some reading, meditation and write my morning pages. Then I write out everything I have to do that day and then check the rolling to do list to see what other things I can shift from there onto today.  The colour coding is ideal for this if my day looks as if I am going to have to spend it out and about then I can take all the out and about items of the rolling list and do them at the same time.  Any key appointments or things I have to do are written in the yellow box at the top.

The other boxes are used for various things depending on the week.  The little graph is a visual record of goal achievements for that week.  The rest are used for notes/lists as appropriate for the week.

Finally the Erin Condren (or will it be the Personal Planner UK?) is the at home master planner.  Despite its beauty it does not leave the house and lives with my lap top and note books on the shelf in the morning room where I usually work.  The monthly pages are synched with the diary for appointments.

The week at a view is where this system has really come into its own for me.  I tend to work on a timer system.  As a writer I found if I set the kitchen timer and wrote solidly for 30 minutes I tended to reset the timer and write for another 30 minutes when it went off.  Without the timer I became distracted.  I have now applied that to my day as a whole.  As I usually work from home I have to have the discipline not to spend the entire day sorting out the cupboards (which I would much rather do!).  So once I have finished my to do list I chunk all the similar items (in the same colour) and allocate them chunks of time which I write in each day.  I can’t show you in the Erin Condren as it doesn’t start until the end of this month, up until now I have been writing the timetable in one of the boxes in my UC but it is messy and I prefer to see it set out chronologically on each day.

I have two other files but they are not planners as such.  One is the housebook.  This is a straightforward ring binder with two sets of dividers.  The first set is divided into each month.  At the beginning of each month is a sheet with a list of the birthdays and things that have to be done every year during that month.  Behind that goes any paperwork related to events happening that month.  This includes travel tickets, information or forms about school events, Family Railcard receipt; as soon as they arrive they are filed in the appropriate month.

After that there are sections for each member of the family to record ideas for presents, information my eldest has collected about universities etc.


There is a section for useful telephone numbers (two pages long, I put everything here, so much easier to have it all in one place) and personal numbers (passports, driving licences, policies, memberships etc.)

I write a menu plan each week and I clip or copy these in here so that I can see what I’ve cooked (and which book it came from) and whether it was a success or not.  Some unexpected meals have been huge hits and one or two sure fire hits were a pain in the neck to prepare and not all that great.

Finally there is a section for term cards.  One for each school, plus the dance school(s), choirs, Harriers and anybody else who sends me an annual calendar I need to keep.

The final file is my compact chameleon filofax which is my writing notebook.  Ideas as I have them are written on the go in my Textagenda and then transferred to the appropriate section in my filofax.  There are sections for each of three books, for short stories, blog, competitions, contacts and a record of what work I have sent to which agent or publisher.

That’s all folks, and frankly I think it’s quite enough.




3 responses to “In which I explain

  1. Now I know where I am going wrong with my life, I curled up in a ball of patheticness after para 2! Happy planning!!

  2. I feel woefully inadequate. I was feeling incredibly organised because I wrote all the after school / before school activities on a spreadsheet and sellotaped it to to the wall in the hallway. I also put any appointnents in my phone as otherwise I have a tendency to forget to go to parents evenings.

  3. Thanks for this great look into your system!

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