2020 Planning

Even if I just used my 2019 planner for three months, for this year I decided to try a new planner. After fighitng the impulse of getting myself a Golden Coil planner (for now I can’t afford a $80 planner plus tax and shipping no matter how gorgeous and customizable it is), I decided to get an Appointed Co.’s Yearly Task Planner for $39 plus shipping. I don’t want to praise it this soon like I did with last year’s, but so far I love it. First, the paper quality (no bleeding seriously the best!)!!! Second, the minimalist layout. Third, the beautiful design.

When I decided to break down all my projects into small tasks I knew I needed a planner focused on to do lists. The Yearly Task planner covers that need and it is beautiful which is a plus. With this new planner I will follow a method I started in 2019 that consists in dividing my projects into very small tasks that can be completed in 5-10 minutes a week. I have adjusted the process as I have learned what worked better for me, but the idea is the same.

How I’m using the Yearly Task Planner

  • I use this planner mostly for my creative projects but I also write personal stuff such as appointments, important dates and things that come to my mind while I’m using it.
  • On the first page of the month, the planner has space both for 5 goals and five important dates. For me, the goals are most times the same: complete my memory keeping pages for that month, complete my “word of the year” challenges and prompts and practice drawing.

  • On the monthly calendar page I am currently writing the “photo a day” prompts, Just Write releases, birthdays, appointments, blog posts, due dates and any other things that has a specific date.

  • On the weekly calendar page I write the same things I write on the monthly calendar (but just for that week, obviously). In that same page there’s an empty column where I write the things I should do every day. That space has lots of potential and I might use it to write thoughts, quotes or to doodle in the futur.

  • On the right page there is a space for 4 priorities. Usually my priorities are the tasks that I couldn’t complete the previous week or any other project I need to focus more on that week.
  • Then on the “to do” list I write the small tasks in which I have divided the bigger tasks (more on that below).

  • On the “notes” space I write down ideas and reminders. I also write the blog post title for that week and stuff related to my “word of the year”.

The big tasks

For each project, my (obvious) goal is to complete said project in the timeframe I chose for each one. My “big” tasks are the main areas in which I have divided each project or goal. Those tasks are the ones that I need to do in order to complete a project.

For example, for my Life Book I have five “big” tasks:

1) Capture my stories with words.

2) Take photos every day.

3) Create templates to add my words photos.

4) Back up my project.

5) Create the album.

Those tasks are pretty general and some of them include different steps, or sub-tasks, which I call the “small tasks”.

The small tasks or weekly to-do’s

The small tasks are divided in tiny tasks that can be completed in 5-10 minutes per week. Some of them might require attention more than once a week, especially those that involve writing.

As I mentioned before, I write those tasks in the “task” space provided in the planner.

Following the Life Book example, here are the small tasks for each big task:

1) Capture my stories with words.

  • Write down life stories each day on the Day One journal app (daily- 5 minutes)

2) Capture my stories with photos.

  • Take photos (daily- 5 minutes).
  • Edit my photos (daily/once a week- 5 minutes).
  • Choose which photos will make it to the album (daily/once a week- 5 minutes).

3) Create templates to add my words photos.

  • Set up templates in Affinity Photo app (once a week- 5 to 10 minutes).
  • Add photos to the templates (once a week- 5 minutes).
  • Copy paste stories from Day One app to te Affinity Photo pages (once a week- 5 to 10 minutes).

4) Back up my project.

  • Review my Affinity Pages (once a week- 5 minutes).
  • Back up pages to Dropbox (once a week- 5 minutes).

5) Create the album.

  • Set up Blurb layouts (once a month- 5 minutes).
  • Import my project pages to the Mac (once a month- 5 minutes).
  • Add project pages to Blurb layouts (once a month- minutes).
  • Review (once a month- 5 minutes).
  • Upload to print (once a year- 10 minutes).

Seems pointless, not to me

I know that all this process makes my projects seem like a chore. But honestly, I needed to break them down like this to make it less overwhelming. I work full time and most times I need to choose wisely (or be intentional) how I divide my time if I want to be sure that I’m making time for everything (health appointments, errands, time with family, time with friends, time with husband, cleaning the house, my creative projects and any other thing that life might bring).

Breaking down my project like this, reminds me that, even when I just have 5 minutes, I can get something done and cross it off from the list. It also helps me to be clear when I can’t add more projects, which is super important because I love to jump in all the scrapbooking wagons on the Internet. If I don’t do this and then I see the upcoming “Week in The Life” I tell myself “why not?”. But if I am aware of how much is on my plate, its easier to decide that I have enough.

Back to the Yearly Task Planner

Ok. So far, I love my new planner and I see myself really motivated and committed into using it and reviewing it every morning. I bought a stamp set from Carpe Diem and a neutral washi tape I found on Ebay to add a little fun. But the goal is to keep it simple and minimal and actually focus on getting things done.

I would like to know if you plan for your hobbies. I haven’t met anyone who does and I’m curious so please feel free to leave a message if you do.

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