If you know me at all, you know that I have a crazy love for my planner. I’ve talked about my planner addiction before. New Year’s is an exciting time for us planner addicts because it’s time to get new planners and set them up for the next year. And chances are we got some great gifts from Christmas that we are just dying to try out. It’s really one of the most exciting days of the year for us.
This year for Christmas my husband got me an Erin Condren Life Planner which I consider a huge splurge. He even picked out the perfect personalized cover for it. It’s beautiful and I totally love it! I took my time, looking through the pages carefully, deciding how I wanted to set it up.
It kind of seems like a daunting task to set up a new planner but it’s so great to have everything nicely organized. Here is a step-by-step guide on how I set up my brand new planner for the new year!
An interesting point, one of personal preference, is that I only fill in the monthly calendars at first. Since I my week every Friday, I add in these things then. I think this helps keep me from feeling overwhelmed by all the information. And since I like to decorate my planner, I can keep a consistent weekly colour scheme going more easily. But you do you!
1. Do a Look-Through
Look through the whole thing carefully. Each planner is different. Even when they look similar, there are differences that make each planner is unique. Make a rough plan how you want to use each section. My new planner has some extra note pages at the end which I’ve never had before. Consider how you might want to use these sections. I’m going to use my extra pages to keep some quick and easy meals, family favourites. This will help me with my meal planning.
The second thing I do is add in and remove the holidays. Most planners are American made, which means some of the holidays don’t line up for me. So I go through white out the American holidays and add in the Canadian holidays. I always like to see the long weekends and know when they are coming up.
3. Birthdays and Anniversaries
I add in birthdays and anniversaries. I mark all the birthdays for all our immediate family members including our nieces and nephews, our parents and siblings. I also write in the anniversaries of our parents and siblings. Having it all in my planner means I don’t miss anything and I can better plan things. For example, at the end of May, we have 3 birthday in the span of 8 days. I’m actually starting to plan out Zoé’s birthday now because of it.
4. Special Events
Next, I add in other special days and events that I know are coming up. The first day of school, spring break, summer vacations, that sort of thing. I also add in any weddings, showers or parties that I know are on the calendar for the year so far. Add in annual plans. For example, we always go to a local festival every long weekend in August. It’s an old family tradition on mine and we love continuing it. So it finds it’s way into my new planner too.
5. Data Transfer
Transfer any information from your old planner to your new planner. I haven’t done this, but I will be next year. This year I made a list of favourite, easy, go-to meals for each meal of the day in the note section of my planner. While I keep adding to it this year, I will need to transfer this list to my 2019 planner one day. But maybe you keep some important addresses, phone numbers or passwords in your planner. Don’t forget to move all this stuff over.
Vacation plans are the next thing I add to my planner. I use Washi tape to block off days when we are hoping to be off travelling on vacation. Maybe a romantic weekend in Montreal or a family vacation to Hawaii? Even if these trips and plans are months away from being solidified, I put them into my planner so when I do want to book them, I know what I was thinking and hoping for. The nice thing about Washi tape is that it is re-positional even on paper. So if we pick another weekend for our trip to Montreal, then I just need to move the tape.
7. Cheap Electricity Days
Another thing I like to add are “the cheap energy days”. You know, the days when you get the weekend rate for electricity because there was a holiday. I always mark these days down because we only do laundry on the weekend. So an extra day is a nice bonus for me. We often add in some extra chores that require extra electrical use.
8. Weekly Events
Maybe you go to a weekly class, or your kids have karate on Tuesdays. Now is when I add in these types of weekly events for as far ahead as I know they will go. For example, our oldest has gymnastics which we pay for in 10-12 week blocks, depending on the time of the year. So now I add in 10 weeks of gymnastics every Thursday. Same goes for our weekly playgroup which I know runs until the end of May. Adding these things in now helps me keep on track. Now I only add these to the monthly calendars for now and when I do my weekly planning I add them in then.
Zoé’s got her baby-well appointment coming up and I have a dentist appointment too. Now is the perfect time to add them to my calendar. These one-off appointments are one of the reasons I have a planner, so I don’t over-schedule or double book myself.
10. Goals, Dreams, Plans
Since the New Year is all about new goals and plans, now is the perfect time write them into your planner. Make sure they are S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely). Writing down your goals makes them more concrete and you are more likely to achieve them. I love that my planner has these great planning pages at the front.
Once you have all these things in your planner, you are ready to move on to your weekly planning as usual. It’s just nice to have the big things in your planner already laid out for you.