2018 planner system review

by Julia


With only 13 days left of 2018, it is only natural to start thinking about planners, goals, yearly reviews and everything of the sort. I will write a separate post on my 2019 planning system – in this one, I would like to trace back how 2018 has been organisation&planner-wise.

In September 2017, while browsing a book and stationery store in Florence I found this 14 months day-per-page planner from Legami (a brand that I’ve been loving for years now) and absolutely fell in love with the dreamcatcher cover, so I bought it on a whim and just went for it. I knew it was a risky choice for a number of reasons, but that cover was so me I just couldn’t leave it there.

I have to say, this has been probably my most successful planner in years. It is also one that I won’t rebuy for the upcoming year (I’ll explain why in a sec), but using it continuously for 14 consecutive months has taught me in terms of planning systems and strategies more than any other planner I may have used in the past.

This year I’ve also made drastic changes in the complexity of my planning system, cutting down on a lot of unused or mostly-unused apps and notebooks. I’ve also made a conscious effort in reducing the amount of different pen and highlighters I was using in my system.

My 2018 planning system has worked pretty much like this:

  • Legami 14 months day-per-page planner for daily to dos and appointments; I’ve also used its monthly calendars to keep track of my household management, but I’ve had a hard time trying to make them work since they’re printed on a single page (hence, little boxes) and I have a not so small handwriting;
  • Filofax Compact Boston (since mid-July) for projects pages and context-related lists + brain dump pages; this is the tool I’ve used to organise my HSK 3 study program as well;
  • Agenzio A6 notebook for notes, lists and ideas;
  • Google Keep for quick captures and notes + things to do while I’m out and about (but with caution);
  • Trello for general project management (though I’ll need to work more on it this upcoming year)
  • Apple reminders for, well, reminders (and deadlines)
  • Apple Notes for beauty products lists, Simple Life project notes and shared notes with the significant other
  • Evernote for storage and archiving

I was using Wunderlist at the beginning of the year but decided to switch to Google Keep (though it’s not crafted to be a proper task manager), since Wunderlist will sadly be shut down at some point and I have yet to find a better or equal digital system for my tasks. Too bad gKeep is so unreliable with this reminder thing, it would have made my life so much easier.

The most important thing that I’ve learnt this year is that I can’t work without thematic lists. As much as I like having a daily page/to do list, my brain is not organised by day but by context. I also have a fairly low amount of appointments and deadlines, so for me it’s mostly organising tasks that have to be completed someday. It’s clear then that a day per page planner is not the best way for me to organise my to do lists.

I also need a bit more flexibility in my system. As a consequence of my way of organising things, I often need a different kind of calendar or insert to see at a glance what I need to do or where I need to be, and in this a ring planner is obviously the best option. I love bound planners (I’ve used a weekly Moleskine for many years) and the way they feel, but since discovering the Filofax brand I have to admit I’ve struggled to adjust to a more fixed system.

Furthermore, the amount of space that I need everyday for my tasks varies greatly according to different circumstances. Most of the time I have a very long list of things to accomplish every day, but that is not always the case – for example when I’m visiting my family in Italy, or when I decide to take a weekend completely off duty. I don’t like the idea of leaving many blank pages (or even only half-used pages) since I’m very sensible to paper waste and recycling.

Lastly, since I have quite a few daily repeating tasks (Chinese Duolingo, Japanese Duolingo, prepare bag for tomorrow, pack breakfast/lunch, wash the dishes etc) I find it quite tedious to rewrite them every day by hand, so in this regard I know that I need to integrate my system with a kind of digital tool as well. This is linked to what I was saying above – if I write some of my tasks digitally, I really don’t need and entire page in my planner for me to write in every day.

So, all in all I can say that 2018 has been a good planning year. I’ve been been much on pretty planning, but this year I’ve focus even more on function and efficiency. Growing up I’ve encountered an increasing number of important things that I have to manage and I need my planning system to make my life easier and more streamlined, helping me saving time and mental energy.

So this are the basis I’ve crafted my 2019 planning system on 🙂 [to be continued!]