Creating the All-In-One planning journal (step 6)

Over the past few weeks, I have been walking you through creating a planning journal like mine.  If you have missed the previous blog posts, you can view them over here:

This is the last step on creating your planning journal.  In this step I am going to cover Reference files, Someday/Maybe lists and your tickler file.

Reference Files

Sometimes we have things in our Inbox that we don’t need to do anything about, but we would like to hang onto because the information they contain may prove useful later on.  Examples of this include bills that have been paid and recipes.

In cases like this, you need some sort of filing system in place.  I have a small crate in a cupboard that is exactly the right size for file-folders.  I label each file folder and put the reference information inside of it.  I don’t bother with colour coding the files, they just stand in alphabetical order.

If a file becomes too full for this to be practical, I move all the items inside it to a ring binder.  For example, I don’t keep my recipes in a file-folder because I have a lot of them and I add to them daily.  I rather keep my recipes in a ring binder.

I keep everything from bills to instruction manuals inside this reference system.

It is useful to have a lot of file folders on hand constantly.

Someday/Maybe Lists

The Someday/Maybe lists are the most fun.  As I mentioned before, these include everything that arrives in your inbox that you would like to do something about in the future, but not right now.  I have multiple Someday/Maybe lists, all sitting behind the Someday/Maybe tab in my planning journal.

Each time you come across an item in your inbox that falls into this category, write it onto your Someday/Maybe list.  Any information related to the Someday/Maybe list (like a brochure) can be placed in a reference file in your filing system.  Make a note on your Someday/Maybe list as to what you called the file that you put the reference material into.

Once a month, go through your Someday/Maybe lists.  Decide if there is anything you can do about one of them, and add it to your projects or to-do list for the month.  You can also use this time to remove the items that you don’t feel as passionate about.

Tickler

The last part is the Tickler system, which I keep behind the tickler tab in my planning journal.  The tickler system contains file dividers from January to December, and from 1 to 31.

If today is the first of January, then you will have the 1 to 31 file dividers behind the January tab.  When the day is over, you move the file divider with the number 1 on it behind the February tab.   Each day you move the day tab to the next month.  Easy!

Now, the tickler file comes in handy for keeping day-specific reminders.  Let’s say that you have to remember that you need to take the cat to the vet on the 10th of March for vaccinations, but this isn’t a specific appointment at the vet because your vet has a “walk-in” policy.  So, you don’t HAVE to take the cat on the 10th of March, you just need to remember to do it sometime during that week.

In this case, I would put a note in my tickler file for March that I have to take the cat to the vet at some point around the 10th.  As soon as I move the 10th tab behind March (probably on the 10th of February), I will move the note behind the 10th of March tab.

When I get to the 10th of March, then I will decide whether I have the time to take the cat to the vet that day, or whether I will have to post-pone it a day or two.  I move on the reminder to the next day if I don’t have time for it, or I write into my daily planner as a “Must Do” item for the 10th of March.

This also works well for remember to buy birthday presents, wedding gifts etc.  You leave a reminder in your tickler file 2-3 weeks before the event and then move it on until you have an opening to do it.  Because you are consciously making a decision not to do it today, your mind is clear from the responsibility of trying to remember it.

The key to the tickler file is to remember to check it every day.  You can add this to your daily routine.

Routines

  • Daily:
    • Empty inbox
    • File reference material
    • Update Someday/Maybe lists
    • Check your tickler file for all of tomorrow’s notes
    • Update your daily planner according to your tickler file.
  • Monthly
    • Go through your Someday/Maybe lists
    • Decide on items you want to add to your projects
    • Decide on items you want to remove from your Someday/Maybe list

Conclusion

This is the final post on creating a planning journal.  If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you!  Feel free to write me a comment below.

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