How do I: Set up my layout?

Over the years I’ve cycled through many iterations of layouts, experimenting a lot with what I need or don’t need.  I get so excited about the endless ideas of what I could include in my planner that sometimes I’d be overloaded.  Despite this, over all the trials, there were a few things that I always went “home” to in my planner:

  • A weekly view, to have an overarching idea of what I am working toward in the week
  • A focus on to-do lists, to free up my mind to do bigger problem solving and innovating
  • Areas of requirement” to do things like track my habits and money (because you can’t change what you don’t know), or funny quotes, doodles, and stuff I should check out
  • Color and personality, but not necessarily a lot of decoration – because what’s pretty is more fun to look at and use
  • A place to keep my notes and lists where I can find them! I kept trying for years to get separate notebooks for everything and… I always went back to one.

So, what can I live without?

  • A daily spread – sometimes I use them for really busy days but I see my time as very connected from day to day, so it’s hard to see what I need to do when disconnected
  • Pre-drawn layouts – I actually enjoy the process of drawing my spread every week, because I can instantly adapt to the nature of the time period, making tweaks in real time without waiting until I get a new planner.
  • A written schedule for the day – I live on Google Calendar which is also accessible on my phone, so it is not necessary on paper. I just include after-work reminders to help me structure the day
  • Rings – I’ve tried the Russell + Hazel binder system and the rings got really frustrating to write with
  • “Notes” pages and other things like contact pages typically found in planners – they’re just never where I want them!

After many iterations and inspiration from Kim, my current layout looks like this

My current weekly layout

So you see I’ve designed my weekly to reflect the things I want in a planner – priority To Do’s for each day, a row of journaling or focus, tracking my eating, budget, things to check out, and other tasks for the week. It’s got just the right amount of structure and flexibility I need to be at my best. And, I’m open to this changing in two weeks!

What have you figured out you need or don’t need in your layout?


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