Planning for 2024
It's that time of year again. Time to work out a planning system for the new year.
This is always an exciting time but it can also be stressful.
Some people can run to Walmart or Office Depot and grab any old planner off the shelf with no fuss. But I'm guessing that most people reading this post are a little more invested in their choice of planners.
The planner community is full of people searching for "planner peace". Most never find it... and that includes me. I'm one of those people!
I know which systems work best for me but I still tend to get caught up in planner fever or the newest planning fad.
How do I deal with this? Well, I give myself permission to jump around in planners as long as I make sure all important information gets migrated into a central place such as OneNote.
How I plan (Currently)
For day to day planning, I know I do best with a bullet journal system. Usually this has to be on paper but it can also be digital. Daily logs are really important to me and this system allows for unlimited options for keeping these notes. I put just about everything in my daily log.
I also enjoy time tracking. For me, this is best done in a digital planner. If I have a bullet journal set up, I will also have some type of vertical weekly spread that allows me to track time. I have no pressing need to track my time.... I just enjoy being able look back and see that last year, on this day I was taking a shower from 7-7:30, etc. Call me a weirdo but it makes me happy.
Monthly planning is also a big part of my system. Google calendar is my source for this but I also jot everything down in my planner (digital and paper).
Devices I Use
I use a variety of devices to plan digitally.
My #1 device right now is my iPad Mini with the Apple Pencil. The Mini has been my go-to for almost a year. I also have a larger iPad Pro that I still pull out for other tasks when needed. I'm not really an Apple person... I know... but the iPad just works so well with the pencil. The Mini is also more portable.
My newest device is a Samsung Z Fold 5. I just upgraded my phone (which was a Note 10+) and got this bad boy! I'm still getting used to it but I can tell you I'm in love. I purchased the S Pen Pro for this baby because it's similar in size to the Apple Pencil. I'm planning to stop carrying around my iPad because I can literally keep this phone in my pocket and hit the road. - I'm actually writing this blog post on the Z Fold right now. I have big plans for this device and I'll do a more in-depth review of the Z Fold in a future post or video.
The last device that is a part of my planning system would be my Samsung tablet/laptop. I mainly use it as a laptop but it easily folds into a tablet. I usually only reference information in my planners, OneNote, Notion, Google Calendar, etc. I don't actually use it for planning.
Apps I Use
There are so many apps available for planning and productivity. It can be hard to choose... and overwhelming.
Last year I really tried to get my planning system converted and into Notion. This just didn't work for me. Notion is fantastic and so many people set up databases to manage their tasks, projects, etc. Maybe I'll be able to do this in the future but it doesn't work for me now. I did, however, discover that keeping track of the custom orders I need to make in Notion works especially well for me. It has become my order database and will make filing taxes much easier next year.
For me, OneNote is tried and true for my planners and all types of notes. I also use it to store scanned documents, receipts, school paperwork, etc. It's a great asset when you want to go paperless and everything is searchable. OneNote is free and works across platforms... that's just the icing on the cake.
When I purchased my iPad Mini 5, I went in search of a new note taking app. I used GoodNotes in the past but I was a little intrigued with Zinnia. Turns out I really love it. This app is NOT free. It runs on a yearly subscription model but I don't mind the fee because they provide monthly updates with planner pages/full planners, stickers, and more. It's also very user friendly. This is my go-to app when I want to decorate my digital planner with "all the things". Zinnia will also let you create events in Google Calendar directly in the app.
This is a new task management app for me... You can set TickTick up to be an elaborate task and project management system or keep it simple. I have it installed on my iPad, Z Fold, and I have a chrome extension for my laptop.
This is a journaling app that I mostly use as a daily log. Sometimes I like to keep my log this way instead of on paper. When doing this, I use a split screen with DayOne on one side and TickTick on the other. This way I can see all of my tasks for the day and keep notes as I go... Now that I have the Z Fold, I can do this on both iOS and Android... awesome!
Paper Planning and Products
This is where my planner anxiety really comes out to play!
Right this moment, I'm using a Hobonichi Weeks with a B6 Stalogy bullet journal as a backup. I've also purchased a 2024 Weeks Mega to prepare for next year. I will say that I could live without this but my life would not be complete. That's a little dramatic... I know... but true! I need to feel the book in my hand. I also want to know I'll have something to put away on the shelf at the end of the year. My fellow planner people understand what I'm talking about. Both of these books are in matching SmartFee covers (I have the fabulous pink ostrich).
I've tried various other systems in 2023 that didn't work. I even tried to move into my gorgeous Moterm personal rings (croco cream).... That only lasted about 3 weeks. I still have it set up and sitting on my stack. I think it would make a great reference binder.
My Final Thoughts
I know that paper planning will always give me the blues and I'm now okay with that. It just is what it is.... The most important thing is knowing where I need to be and being able to access important information when needed. This isn't a problem when I use Google Calendar and save everything else into OneNote.
Much love - Michele