Creating the All-In-One planning journal (Step 1)

Last week, I gave you a glimpse of my planning journal (also called a Control Journal by some).  If you missed last week’s blog post, you can check it out here.

This week, I was going to tell you how to create one for yourselves, but as I started writing out the process, I realized that most people would be completely overwhelmed if I was to give it to them in one long chunk.

That is why I am doing it in a series, with one step each week.  Don’t try to rush this process.  It took me 2 years to bring together a system that works for me.  Feel free to alter this according to your family and lifestyle.

Are you ready for the first step?  Let’s go!

Step 1: Preparation

Gathering your supplies

Before you begin this process, you will need to gather together some supplies.  I don’t want you to get stuck on a step because you haven’t got the tools you need at hand.

You don’t need to buy brand new of any of these items unless you want to.  Just use stuff that is lying around the house.  My ring binder was bought while I was in High School, I emptied out some documents that were 10 years out of date and reused it as a planning journal.

Cereal boxes can be used to create file dividers.  Cut to size, cover with pretty paper or paint it, punch some holes in and you have file dividers! Feel free to get creative.

What you’ll need:

  • Ring binder
  • 10 file dividers
  • File dividers labeled January to December
  • File dividers labeled 1 to 31
  • Paper
  • Paper Punch
  • Pens, Pencils etc.
  • Calendar
  • In Basket
  • Daily Planner
  • Portable Notebook – I use Google Keep on my android phone instead of carrying around a physical notebook.

Action:  Gather up all these supplies.  Once you have done so, you can move onto the next section.  DO NOT JUMP AHEAD!!!

Start putting your Planning Journal together

Now that you have all the items you need, you can put together the base structure of your Planning Journal.  Follow the Next Actions in order and DON’T skip ahead!

Once-Off Actions:

  • Take your ring binder and put the 10 file dividers into it.
  • Label the file dividers as follows (I found that this order works best):
    • Mission, Vision etc.
    • Active Projects
    • Action Lists
    • Someday/Maybe lists
    • Daily Checklists
    • Weekly Checklists
    • Monthly Checklists
    • Yearly & Special Checklists
    • Completed Projects
    • Tickler
  • Behind the file divider that says Tickler, put the file dividers labelled January to December, with the current month in the front and last month at the back.  Therefore, if this month is March, then the file dividers will be in the following order:
    • March
    • April
    • May
    • June
    • July
    • August
    • September
    • October
    • November
    • December
    • January
    • February
  • Behind the current months file divider, put the file dividers labelled from today’s date until 31.
  • Behind next months file divider, put the file dividers from 1 until today’s date.
  • Put the Physical Inbox on your desk or in a place that you can access easily.
  • Put the calendar up in a place that you and your family can access easily.

Repetition tasks to practice:

  • As it happens:
    • Whenever any “To-Do” or “Want to Do” items come to mind, write them in your notebook.
  • Daily:
    • Every day, update the Tickler file by moving the file divider of today’s date to the next month. When the month ends, move the month file divider to the back of the tickler section.
    • Empty your notebook by writing appointments into your daily planner and the family calendar.
    • Check your calendar each morning and in the evening before bed.
    • Empty your notebook by adding the “Must Do” items into your daily planner on the day they must be done.
    • Write any other items from your notebook  onto a piece of paper and put them in your physical inbox.  We will be clearing out your inbox next week.  So far you can practice collecting stuff as you think of it.
    • Do your “Must Do” tasks as early as possible in the day.
  • Weekly:
    • Go through your inbox and check that you haven’t missed anything, update your planner, put the other stuff back into your inbox until Step 2 (next week).

Hints to keep the ball rolling

Here is a checklist that you can print out.  It is for 7 days.  Click the image below to make it larger.  Try to tick each item off the list over the next 7 days, then check back here for Step 2 next Thursday.

Authentically Ash Planning Journal Step 1 Printout
Authentically Ash Planning Journal Step 1 Printout

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