‘Planner Process’ – My Setup by Joshua LaPorte (picture heavy post)

Some Filofax users seem to be naturally organized, highly efficient individuals.  I am sadly not one of them.  Left to my natural tendencies I forget appointments, names, dates, and to do things as simple as sweep the kitchen.  Before Filofax (B.F.) I relied heavily on other people to keep up with things, and really lots of things went forgotten and eventually fell through the cracks.  Like many non-planner users, I thought that I had a very good memory and that I got along just fine without planning.

My current setup is devised to balance many competing desires; I want weekly perspective with plenty of space to write every day.  I want portability but also want to have everything at my fingertips.  I want to use a binder that makes me smile every day, but that binder also needs to be robust enough to handle the bumps and bruises of daily, heavy use with aplomb.  Janet’s comment about her filofax needing to work as hard as she does really resonates!

After playing around with various inserts, sizes, brands, and binders over the past few years, I’ve landed on a setup which meets my current needs beautifully and works extremely well.

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First things first, I am using my red Winchester.

 The lovely Natalie sold me her 5/4 Winchester which is what I’d planned to use, but when I actually got the setup all thought out and put together I did not need the extra capacity so I stuck with the vivid red ⅞ model.  This binder is fabulous and absolutely makes me smile every day.  It is just right in every way, just the right size, just the right color, just the right amount of flexibility to the covers…

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The only thing I can think of which would improve it would be a second small pen loop so I can carry my pencil and pen, a need I resolved with this handy adhesive pen loop.
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Inside, I have stamps and bank deposit slips in the front pocket, business cards in the business card pocket.
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Inside, I have stamps and bank deposit slips in the front pocket, business cards in the business card pocket. There is the stamp which came on a holiday card from Kate, The Perpetual Student.

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I keep a transparent envelope and a card holder in the front of the rings, which give space to tuck things like tickets and cards and also protect the paper at the front from getting damaged.
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Behind a Filofax registration page I have a few pieces of Clairefontaine quadrille ruled paper punched and inserted. I jot quick notes on these and, usually, just tear them out.
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Behind this I have a slimline address book insert, with phone numbers, account numbers, prescription numbers, and the like written in. I also have a few regularly-accessed addresses here; my full address book is kept at home now. On the AB tab I have several vintage paperclips which Tracy, the Crazy Suburban Mom sent to me.
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I use the tabbed address book as a set of dividers to file my notes; I keep this pretty minimalistic these days, only projects or documents regularly needed are kept in the binder. So my list of books I want to read, movies to see, places to visit, etc. are kept in a reference binder at home. When I have an idea for one of these lists I write it on my day page and transfer it when I get home. In here, behind I, I have a list of Italian vocabulary words I’ve looked up;
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Behind S, I have a staff roster and some training checklists; behind T, I keep a timemap.
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After the XYZ tab I have a stash of notepaper, cut from a Clairefontaine notebook. I use this for meeting notes, creating agendas for meetings or discussions, brainstorming… Stuff like that. Much of these gets transferred into my lists or diary and then discarded

Immediately following the notepaper is my DayTimer two-page-per-day diary insert.  This is the real meat of my planner and where I have the planner open to throughout the day.  There are eleven lines for tasks, 8am-8pm scheduling (which is my biggest complaint about these pages, my day frequently ends much later than 8pm!), and an open page with 40 lines for notes.  As you can see, I stamp the top of the notes page with my daily home routines stamp; the left hand column is generally done in the morning before work, and the right hand column in the evening after work.  I check these items off as I do them.  Most of these are really 5 minute tasks which, when done daily, help enormously to keep up with the housework and prevent things from going all out of control.  The rest of the notes page I use for free-form note taking throughout the day.  I jot figures when I am working with budgets, I write down checks written, phone numbers, anything I want to transfer into my reference binder at home.  At the end of the day I usually jot down some a list of good things that happened that day, a “gratitude list.”  I mark the current day with a frosted today marker.

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I only keep one week’s worth of the daily diary in my Filofax;

All other scheduling goes onto the weekly diary, which is slotted in just after the daily pages.  I’m using a week on two pages with lines from Filofax.  I write in meetings, appointments, and ticklers here.  If I send an email today and want to make sure I have a response, I will jot in a “F/U w/ABC” next week (meaning “follow up with ‘initials of person’).

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I also used the month on one page tabbed from DayTimer (which comes with the daily diary) to help me flip easily from month to month.  These have a month view on the front and a list of tasks to complete that month on the back.  I use them just for very basic overview and to jot out tasks I plan to accomplish during that month.

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 To make this system work, I need to do a weekly changeover, which is normally done on Sunday evening.  I start by flipping through the coming week’s pages and copying all appointments and tasks onto their appropriate day pages.  I then go day by day through the prior week’s daily pages and insure that everything was done or logged, and transfer any unfinished items to the coming week’s daily pages.  I review my “waiting for” list and my monthly task list and add anything in.  I then remove last week’s daily pages and insert the newly prepared coming week’s pages.  The whole process takes about 15 or 20 minutes, and in the process I get a thorough review of the past week and a good look at the coming week, preparing me for what comes ahead.

 I keep the archived pages and the coming weeks’ pages in a storage binder; this one happens to come from Franklin Covey but I prefer the DayTimer version.

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So that’s my system in a nutshell.  It takes some maintenance to run but that maintenance serves as a useful reminder of things that have happened, things coming up, and things I need to plan for or around.

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

25 thoughts

  1. I am so pleased to read a post from Josh! Thank you Janet for that idea and than you Josh for your detailed post.

    I have watched all your YT videos over and over again and they have been such a source of inspiration for me.
    Though I have been in Filofax planners since the 80s I still enjoy seeing how other users organize their planners and I sometimes steal their ideas.
    I stole many of yours, Josh!
    Please post more videos about your planners and set up. We miss them!

    Happy New Year to you and long life to your beautiful red Winchester!

  2. Great! I also have a planner that file weekly pages that passed. I like to do my weekly review on Sunday

  3. That was a great post. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been struggling with the daily versus weekly issue and love your solution. Also, I’m going to work on what I want for my stamp!!! Thank you!!!!

  4. It makes me smile too whenever I see that red Winchester. Glad to see it back in use. Brilliant idea on the stamp. Also like the idea of how you incorporate monthly, daily and weekly planning. I always think of monthly/daily OR monthly/weekly. Slaps forehead…now why didn’t I think of that. Great post, Josh and thank you Janet for providing the platform. This would be handy for all newbie planner people.

    1. I think to make this work I needed to decide what each one is for. The monthly views are really only for all-day events, vacations, pay dates, and unusual work scheduling. The weeklies are for all future appointments and tasks beyond this week. The dailies are for all time and task management for the current week. In this way, I do not feel that I need to maniacally copy ever single thing from one to the other throughout the week.

      1. And therein lies my problem with using monthly/weekly/daily formats concurrently but you’ve seemed to come up with a workable solution. I’m going to give it a try.

    1. The stamp came from Vistaprint. You can do a custom self-inking stamp with whatever you want. Takes about a week and this one cost about $15 plus $5 shipping. It is perfect!

      1. I have been racking my brains to think how I can get my daily tasks easily onto my daily pages, thanks for this genius idea 💡

  5. Thank you – this is really interesting! I love Clairefontaine notebooks, so really liked your idea of the scraps of paper that can be scribbled on and taken out quickly.

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