Wicked Wednesday – Planners

Welcome to our first Wicked Wednesday of the new year! Today, we’re talking planners – a topic near and dear to a lot of our hearts (yes, Julie, I’m talking to you).

So tell us, Wickeds – do you use a planner? If you do, what planner out of the million options did you choose this year? If not, why? And how do you keep your life straight if the answer is no?


2019calendarEdith: No planner for me! But I do rely heavily on my Google calendar (personal and Book Stuff versions) and my upstairs and downstairs paper calendars. For years I’ve been buying a wonderfully compact (6″ x 13″) Tibetan Nuns calendar for my office. It hangs right above my laptop so I have a visual of my month. Look how tidy January still is! Above it is my homemade three-year calendar, with nothing but book due and release dates, so I have a visual of that, too.

Liz: Under Julie’s influence, I’ve tried so many planners over the past two years and really liked all of them! Unfortunately, I haven’t really stuck with any of the them. And they started feeling like another job and if I missed a day I had to go back and fill it in….anyway, it was stressing me out. So I’m going into the new year planner-less, but I’ve sketched out a new schedule to fit everything in that I’m going to put on my phone calendar and see what happens.

Julie: I confess, I am a planneraholic. This year I am starting the new year with my Google calendar, of course. I am also using (and have been using, so hopefully it will stick) an Erin Condren vertical planner for every day, an Erin Condren deluxe monthly to keep track of the social media, webinars, etc. for my two businesses, and an Hobinichi Weeks for my gratitude journal, and to keep track of books, theater, movies, and inspiration. On January 7 I am doing a free webinar about Making Time for Your Artistic Life, and yes, I’ll be talking about what I’ve learned from my planner obsession.

Jessie: I love planners too and use two every day. I have one for my personal life and the broad strokes of my business. This is the third year in a row that I am using a planner for that by Ink and Volt. I love the way it sets each day up as morning, noon and night rather than in hourly increments. For the business side of life I use Your Best Year by Lisa Jacobs. It is really great for getting clear on what I need to do and why I don’t always make a priority of the most important things.

Barb: I’m in the two planner world, too, both paper. My Levenger Circa junior notebook with the monthly calendar tabs runs my life. Behind each monthly tab are my “chrono notes” from that month–to-do lists, notes from meetings and conference calls, grocery lists, party plans, etc. I have the filled out calendar pages and the notes going back literally decades. About ten months ago, I also started using the Plot Your Work planner. I find it very useful for getting an overview of the year. It was illuminating seeing how much time is taken up by conferences, appearances, teaching classes (and prep for such), support for book releases, copy-edits, page proofs, vacations, and so on–i.e. how much time I really have to write. (Always less than I think.)

Sherry: I’m the least organized of all the planners in this group. Life however is forcing me to be more organized. I keep notes and reminders on my phone. So far it’s working. I’ve bought a couple of planners but they just sit on the nightstand gathering dust. My daughter gave me the notebook in the photo. It’s empty too. And in case it’s hard to read it says: There are seven days in a week. Someday isn’t one of them…do you think there’s a message there for me?

Readers: Planners, calendars – paper or online or both – or none of the above? How do you keep track of what you need and want to do?


30 Thoughts

  1. Being organized, even for my very small life, is just something I must do for my sanity! Even writing down a simple daily chore list is helpful. I have two paper calendars: one is a wall type and the other is what I call a pocket type. The wall calendar is in my kitchen and I look at it daily and keep doctor appointments on it. I also pick out a calendar that has a theme I will love looking at all year! My pocket calendar is where I write down all of the birthdays and anniversaries. I do this on New Year’s day.
    I have been reading the Meg Langslow series by Donna Andrews. Meg has a book she calls her notebook-to-tell-me-when-to-breath. I have always loved that! I want to seriously start writing this year and do need something like that to plan my time out.

    1. Scheduling some creative time for writing is essential, no matter how you do it. I love paper planners because there’s something about pen to paper. Wall calendars are great–we’ve taken to making a family one every year which is a lot of fun.

  2. Planner addict. I try a bunch every year, but I keep coming back to the Quo Vadis Minister. I write my weekly goals and deadlines in the right blocks and use the daily vertical space to keep track of word count and appointments. I’m using the Bullet Journal as a to-do list. Jessie, I’d not heard of the Lisa Jacobs books. I checked them out reading this blog and ordered both the First Draft and the workbook. She doesn’t have a 2019 workbook that I could find, but the workbook doesn’t look like it had dated pages, either. I’m eager to dig in! Thank you for the recommendation.

    1. I’d never heard of the Quo Vadis Minister planner, which looks really interesting. This planner obsession is quite an addiction. I also hack a Bullet Journal, but have started using a traveler’s journal with all of my lives in one place.

  3. Google calendar, definitely. It’s so easy to edit! I print it out (every time I change something) and tack it up at eye level on the corkboard in front of my desk. I need to see a month at a time (to remind me what day it is!).

  4. I use the 2Do app—both on my iPhone and on my computer, synced between both—and I love it! It has options for tasks (simple to-do list) in various categories (color coded) and preferences (top priority first on the list), plus you can plan larger projects with various associated tasks so you can pace out a larger project, setting smaller deadlines along the way. (I’ve done tasks as simple as “revise opening” or “draft final scene” for story projects, for example). And if you miss something it carries over to the next day’s list…. unfortunately with a running tally about how many days behind you are…. Still, it helps to organize my life and give me direction. I love it!

  5. Oh, and I have a calendar too—synced as well and shared between my wife and me so we’ll have some idea about what events are on the schedule too!

    1. I use ToDoIst, which is similar, but I don’t love the piling on of tasks, LOL. I love and use online tools, but find writing things down to be REALLY helpful.

  6. I use a Brownline daily planner from Staples.because it runs 7AM to 7PM seven days a week. It isn’t so much to record appointments and other commitments as it is to tally my daily progress. I write down what I’m working on, keep track of how long I spend on it, and if it’s the WIP, I record the current word count for the ms. when I stop for the day. I also write it down when I exercise, when I do the grocery shopping (because all that walking counts as exercise) and when I work on a blog, update promotional materials—anything to do with writing books. I also note when I sent emails to my agent, my editor and others, and when I send in a ms. or return page proofs or whatever. And I write down title and author when I finish reading a book, and number those. For me, this is easier than keeping records electronically. The planner lives in my desk drawer, next to the ledger where I record income and expenses.

    1. And since I’m already coming across as obsessive, I’ll add that I also have a month-at-glance five year calendar and a to-do list on a 5×7 pad next to my keyboard.

    2. Such a smart idea to track all of this! One thing I love about January is that I can learn from all of these ideas and try them out!

  7. Just a plan self made calendar on line that I use to keep up with appointments or times that making appointments isn’t possible like vacation times for me. 🙂
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  8. My excellent daughter-in-law Mary gives me a planner every Christmas. That one is at the end of the kitchen counter for convenience and I try to put everything in it! There’s a paper calendar on the kitchen wall for back-up and for birthdays. Another is over my office desk–used exclusively for daily word count.

  9. A few years ago I had the pleasure of spending a week at the home of the lovely Jessie Crockett. It was there she and Julie Hennrikus led me down the garden path to a pen and planner obsession. I currently have four planners which I dutifully fill out each morning. The newest to my collection this year is My Brilliant Writing Planner. It really is quite helpful. I think I’m in need of some sort of twelve step program to cure me!

    1. Oh my, the My Brilliant Writing Calendar–need to check it out. Sorry, not sorry about the addiction. It really is helpful, isn’t it?

  10. We have a dry-erase calendar on the fridge for family stuff, like school holidays. I have my Personal calendar on my phone – and I learned over the holidays that it needs to include stuff I don’t necessarily have to do, but things I should be aware of. And I have recurring reminders on my phone of tasks, like pay The Boy’s lunch card every week. The phone calendar and tasks sync to my laptop.

    Eventually, I’ll get a production calendar from my publisher and those dates will go as tasks in Outlook 365 and milestones in my Work phone calendar.

    1. When you have a family there’s so much to juggle. The “I need to be aware” of items are one reason I love paper planners.

  11. I’m not a planner or calendar person. I don’t even use the calendar on my phone.

    As soon as I agree to review a book, I put it on a side bar on my blog. I refer to it often, and I figure it is advertising as well.

    And I do have a spreadsheet of upcoming books I can refer to as needed.

    But that is as organized as I get. And you’ll notice both are for books. I’ve got nothing for my personal life.

  12. I have a Letts of London datebook that I love because it’s got the week laid out, plus a yearly calendar runner underneath. I don’t buy planners because I don’t have the time to fill them in! I keep a lot of my sched in my head or in my Letts datebook. I also make lists. Every day. all the time. Sometimes multiple lists in a day. The girl who moved into my apartment bedroom after I graduated college said she was finding lists I made six months after I left.

    1. I’m a list person as well. My life planner helps me keep them in one place, otherwise I just can’t. I’m impressed with the “keep it in my head” ability. Can’t even try.

  13. I’m staying low tech ( big surprise!) using the calendar I was given when I first went to work in the corporate world, a long time ago:At A Glance Weekly with a nice phone -address directory in the back. All my appts, deadlines and social dates go into it. It’s easy to carry around,too. I had a boss at some point who wanted us to use Blackberries (also a long time ago)- it seemed just one more chore to me. I still keep a big paper calendar in the kitchen, a hold over from when I had to be organized for a whole household but I don’t rely on it that much anymore. What I also have is lists! Shopping lists, errand lists, leftover lists, and an Excel spread sheet when I am ( as now) on an award committee – yes, my adult children mock me and techy-inclined husband keeps offering my new phone apps, but this works just fine for me. Why fix what isn’t broken?

    1. Of course – in case it’s not clear- Week At a Glance is paper, spiral-bound, sturdy water proof cover, and gets replaced every Jan 1. Old school. Works fine.

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