{Planner Maniac} My integrated 2016 planning system

by Julia

I’m definitely a planner person. I think I said this before. And I think I’m even more so since I’ve discovered the amazing planner community existing on the Internet from which I’ve drawn so much inspiration and so many brilliant ideas in order to make the most out of my agenda. I will never be grateful enough for all the marvellous insights!

I’ll probably write some more in-depth posts on how I use my planner to enhance my daily life – for now I’m just going to show all the tools that I’m going to use this year to keep my life [personal and professional] on track!

Filofax Original Fuchsia [size: A5]

This is my Planner with capital P. Everything related to appointments, to dos, events, reminders and time management goes in here. I don’t believe in multi-planner systems [for me at least] because in my eyes they lead to two possible failures: wasting time rewriting things endless times or forgetting something that wasn’t rewrote in the dedicated section. Plus the A5 format gives you A LOT of space to jot down things so I don’t fell the need to use other planners at all. This goes in my bag everyday everywhere – there’s no point in having a planner if you don’t carry it around all the time for updates/reference.

♠ FocusNow


I’ve been looking for a way to keep track of my daily routines for a good while. When I started using my planner at the beginning of the month I tried to write them down everyday in my BuJo pages, but it didn’t work out. I grew sick of having to draw check boxes pretty quickly, it was really bothersome to have to do that *everyday* for multiple tasks – and I didn’t like it aesthetically either. I’ve been using FocusNow for a while in order not to be distracted by my iPhone constantly ringing and beeping during my study sessions, but I discovered only recently that I also has a very convenient habit-tracker system. Exactly what I was looking for! Now I use it as reminder for multiple daily activities (water intake, teethbrushing, Chinese and Japanese flashcards, go to bed early, etc.), and I can say with a certain satisfaction that I always have a fairly good place in the weekly ranking list (•́⌄•́๑)૭✧

Filofax Flex [with 2 Ikea Notebooks + 2 Moleskine Volant XS inside]

This is the second [and last] item that goes in my bag all the time. I use it as my brain dump and it’s an essential life-savior/mental soothing tool for me. Every idea, inspiration, prompt and what not that pops up in my head goes in here. They’re not necessarily all projects that I will actually carry on, but just the fact of jotting them down releases a lot of stress and clutter from my brain. All my notebooks here have blank pages, which allows me to write more freely and even to draw some scheme if I want to [I have no drawing talet at all. None.]. Usually I’m not a blank page person because I cannot write properly without lines or squares but the format of these notebooks is small enough to let me handle it. And the Ikea notebooks are like 1€ each (๑>ᴗ<๑)

Reminders + Notes

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I received my MacBook Pro and my iPhone back in 2011 and at that time I wasn’t the least aware of the potential of having apps syncing automatically among different devices. I started using both Notes and Reminders in a very casual and basically senseless manner, so that after a short while I stopped using them altogether. After being gifted an iPad last year I decided I was time to restyle my organizationa system, I got sorted all the old useless notes and started with new ones. I love the fact that with Apple products I have all my essential datas synced all the time, everywhere. Now I use Notes for my beauty journal, my food journal and language learning log, while I have a Reminders category for each one of the stores I go to more frequently [so that when I happen to be there I already know what I have to pick up] + some ssential items I don’t want to forget taking with me when I travel somewhere.

Midori Traveler’s Notebook Regular Size [Blue Special Edition]

I’ve subscribed to The Journal Shop newsletter, so when last March I received an email advertising the release of the new special edition of the most famous among the Japanese leather notebooks I thought I couldn’t really miss the chance. I still feel like this beautifully crafted notebooks is somewhat underused and I plan to get it more into my daily planning practice in the future, but for now it holds my Chinese grammar notes, together with other spare room-organization notes.

Handcrafted Ruled Notebook [Paolo Olbi Workshop in Venice]

This is my journal/diary, gifted to me by my auntie during our last trip in Venice together. I used to be a regular journaler back in elementary and middle school, then dropped during high school and university – I’ve started back in March 2014 and I’m keeping it up as much as I can. I don’t get to journal everyday and I’ve been off for a few months while I was insanely studying for my board exam, but I’ve been journaling quite regularly in the last few weeks. I’ve also been thinking about turning my journal into a sort of morning pages, but I’m still working on that.

♠ Todoist

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Yes, I’m a pen-and-paper lover – but also a big consumer of digital products. I use Todoist mainly as my running to do lists for my two jobs. I prefer to use a separate system and not to mingle all my working tasks into my paper planner because they would fill my pages too much and clutter doeasn’t really help me accomplish things. Besides, my deadlines at work often change so it’s way more practical for me to move the dates on a digital tool rather than on paper. I also have some recurring tasks that I can just copy and paste in my calendar. Finally, I have this app on my mac, ipad and iphone + at work I have access to the online version so I have everything at hand everytime. Isn’t this what the whole sync and go stuff should be about?

♠ Wunderlist

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Yes, another digital app. I have to admit, I was curious to try this because, together with Todoist, is one of the most used time management apps out there. I didn’t really know what to do with it because I already have quite a lot under my belt. Then I realised that paper lists for stuff like dramas and movies to watch, books to read etc aren’t really working for me. I bought a Filofax because I really really wanted to have all my lists with me all the time – just to realise that they take a lot of space in my planner and I seriously don’t need to have them all the time -.- but of course, it also happened that I needed them and they were at home, so yes, long story short, I reckoned that digital format was the best. I’ve expanded this concept and started using Wunderlist for all my leaisure activities, this blog included.

I know that this seems a lot, but it’s actually the system that has streamlined my planning process the most since I started thinking about ways of being better organized with my time. I believe in the future I’ll simplify this but at the moment I’m curious to try and evaluate all the options I have =)