Author Archives: Heather

Downsizing my work planner (continued!)


There’s light at the end of the tunnel! I am mostly moved into my smaller work planner now, and have some additional details and snaps to share.

To recap from last message:

  • I am still mostly following my old system (detailed in just under one million words, here).
  • The new size is the FranklinCovey Compact.
  • I’ve hand-drawn some pages for the remainder of this year.

Here’s some of my hand-drawn weekly pages in the vertical format on the Compact size (4.25″ x 6.75″ – which is slightly wider than Filofax Personal size).  Federal holidays impact our order shipping, so they are most definitely written into my planner.

weekly work planner format

my hand-drawn weekly work planner

As before:

  • top row is items with a specific time,
  • middle section is Do or Due Today, and
  • bottom row is lists for This Week, not tied to a specific day.

I still fill these weeklies out at the beginning of the week, with the objectives for the week.

Daily spiral 6″x9″-ish notepad still captures in the inbound messages, calls, things that pop up, etc.  Any of these type things that get turned into additional action items get transferred to wherever they belong. If they get handled on that day, they just get marked through on the pad and are not copied anywhere else. If there is an important item like phone number or email address, I do transfer that into the contact card or whatever before crossing through the note.

Aside from sizing down, the biggest change I’ve implemented is adding a 2-pages-per-day. This is in addition to my daily spiral notebook. You could say the daily setup is sorted by planned stuff, vs. inbound stuff.

The 2-pages-per-day is all new for me. I wanted this format to assist me in keeping focus and getting on task.

Let me assure you that when you go to an office, it’s better that you aren’t looking at your laundry basket near your desk. Likely you can’t do your laundry there, so you really have to reconsider doing laundry when you’re working out of your home.

So, I am using the 2-pages-per-day to schedule the work day, and also to time-log what I really did. The scheduling is most-essential items for the day and anything that has a real time. Each morning, stuff from the current weekly planner pages gets allocated into the daily plans. My current work has some routine, daily activities, so those are input into the hourly slots as part of my scheduled work day.

However, the time-logging is new to me. It’s just a simple input system where each time I start something new that isn’t already written into a time slot, I just scribble it into the appointment times. These are just simple entries – abbreviations even – and aren’t even down to the exact minute. But if I am updating invoices and decide it’s time to break for my sammich, I can jot down “lunch.” When I start researching and calling for pricing on a new service, I just scribble in “pricing” in the general time slot. It’s a new habit, but it is starting to stick. Oh, and when I would like to take a mental break and just make sparkly eyes at pretty planners online, yes, I have to jot “sparkly eyes” in the planner, too.

When spreadsheets and workbooks need updating, and it doesn’t happen today, or yesterday, or even all of last week, then there is nothing to disguise why I didn’t do it. It’s written right there on the pages.

So this way I am having better accountability about my objectives, goals, and slacking when applicable.  Part of my weekly review on Fridays is to look over these daily pages to help me stay on track.

Here is the simple format I am using for the rest of this year – times on the left; notes, lists, observations, tracking stuff on the right.



Here’s the monthly format. These are a reassuring visual overview and reference – no heavy planning.



If it’s late at night and you need something to help you sleep, you can read all of the detail on my work planner system here.

Thank you for reading! 🙂

Also related: Running a Work and a Personal Planner


September 2017 in my Mini Filofax planner


September is my favorite month. It’s my emotional equivalent of  Spring cleaning and always feels like a fresh start. Maybe in other places the weather is a little cooler with glimpses of Fall already, but it still feels very summery here to me.

This month we moved, did our first-ever storm running, and very nearly finished listening to the Ready Player One audio book (we’ve been listening to it when we are in the car together). I continued to focus on paring down stuff I don’t need, breaking the chains with my cell phone, and downsizing my work planner.

mini monthly - sept 2017

Screen Shot 2017-09-30 at 2.25.49 PM

Screen Shot 2017-09-30 at 2.26.05 PM


Thank you for reading, and have a wonderful rest of your weekend! 🙂

Previous months:

August 2017
July 2017

How small is a Mini Filofax planner?


I’m happy to say that I hear from folks who have just recently received their first-ever Mini planner. I also hear from people who are looking to get one and haven’t seen one in person.

I remember when I purchased my first one, the dimensions of course tell you the size, although when you receive the delightfully shrunken tiny mini planner and see it for yourself for the very first time, it’s quite irresistible. But I digress…

Here are some side-by-side examples of a few everyday items that might help give you a feel for the size of the Mini planner size.

First up, side by side with a US dollar bill:



Next, the ever-popular Sharpie marker:




Now with a gigantic iPhone 6 Plus:



For contrast, here’s the much smaller Blackberry Q10 phone:



And this is a 3″x5″ index card. Surprisingly, this photo seems to skew the scale. If you look closely at where the planner is resting on the surface, you can see slightly better that the index card is taller than the mini.



I hope this is useful and thank you for reading! 🙂





Hanging Up – new blog series


I’ve decided that the zombie plague that has been feared for decades is already upon us, and the virus is called Smartphone.

Earlier this year, I wrote about breaking up with my smartphone.

I’ve carried on with this endeavor (it’s much harder than it sounds), and although the smartphone is still in use, I am significantly more intentional about how and why I use it.  I’m actually working toward transitioning to a phone-only phone, and will offload the smartphone features to my iPad. More on that another time.

Part of unplugging from the gravitational pull of smartphones, laptops, etc. is reconnecting with other tactile platforms like paper books or paper planners. We can appreciate both digital stuff and paper stuff. Sometimes it’s a nice comfort to enjoy the paper stuff when you shut off the digital stuff, for example.

The name Hanging Up chosen for this series is not solely for its connotation with the telephone, but is also a nod to the movie of the same name. The movie stars Meg Ryan, Lisa Kudrow, and Diane Keaton. Diane Keaton is a real-life user of Filofaxes (various articles have stated she uses multiples). Also, in this movie, Meg Ryan can be seen several times with her character’s planner (my memory is that is a black, personal-size and that it’s quite stuffed). So this all ties in nicely to this blog which is primarily about planners and planning.

Anyway,  since it turns out I am not the only person feeling the zombie smartphone plague, there are many people sharing their experiences and really good info about it.  In this new Hanging Up series, I would like to share some of these finds and especially to hear from others as well.

Today’s share is a TED Talk (did you know these started in 1984? I did not!).  This is Anastasia Dedyukhina presenting “Could you live without a smartphone?


I hope you enjoy, and thank you for reading. 🙂


Downsizing my work planner!


I had been thinking about this for a while, and didn’t want to rush into anything since I rely on my planners so much. The last thing I needed was to choose to hastily and possibly make a planner size swap even more chaotic than usual! I suspect once you cross the brink of chaos, there is no further differentiation between a little chaos and maximum chaos.

But it’s official now, and so the binder migration and downsizing chaos process has begun. At this stage, it feels a lot like living out of two suitcases. Sometimes I need to get my hands on something, so first thought is “which one is it in right now” followed by “I know it’s in there somewhere!”

It’s actually rather fun and all worth it because I really like the new smaller setup – it’s the Franklin (Covey) Planner Compact size. I must say it’s a magical size. The sheets are 4.25″ x 6.75″ which is very similar to the Personal Filofax size, although are each wider by half an inch. I really like the extra page space this gives you when your binder is open.

Since the pockets and compartments inside the Compact are smaller, several of the things I had previously stuffed inside last work binder don’t fit as nicely.  There’s some folding, yamming, and stuffing going on. As well as questioning if it’s really necessary for that thing to be yammed and crammed there. The Magic 8-Ball shaker-thingie keeps coming up with the answer YES MOST DEFINITELY and I can’t fight that because I didn’t know what to do with said item in the first place and that is exactly how it ended up in that pocket. But I am not ready to deal with that yet and so the hoarding continues. The great “in theory” advice you always hear about getting rid of things before you move was clearly made up by someone who has never moved.

The system should remain much the same as my faithful work system.

I do intend to do another update post and a few snaps when the process is further along.

For the remainder of this year, I have hand-drawn some weekly pages in the vertical format, much like my hacked format in the last work binder. I like to do this before making or buying new sheets because it gives me time to sort out what really works for me – format, placement, spacing, etc.

I am also using two sheets per day (also handwritten for now) for prioritizing my work day instead of just the spiral notebook because I am currently working from home and not zipping all over an office throughout the day. Since it’s up to me right now to manage my own priorities and tasks, the daily sheets with appointment times is helping me focus on how I am spending my time all day long. I’ve purchased a 2-pages-per-day from Franklin Planner for 2018. The spiral is still in use much like before for voice-mails and the other things that come up during a day. I still prefer using the spiral for certain things like that – it works well with my memory.

Thank you for reading! 🙂


Rolling out in prep for Hurricane Irma


We are leaving early tomorrow morning due to Irma. The storm is just too vast and strong with too much uncertainty. We feel more comfortable to just go a bit further away.

It is likely we might be without Internet access so if anyone sends a message or a comment, please know that is the reason for any delayed reply. We have also put both of our online shops on Hold/Away mode for now.

Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone.

Heather & Kelly

August 2017 in my Mini Filofax tiny planner


It’s a busy week for us – we are moving.  Downsizing again into very tiny living space so it has taken some prep work and lots of careful consideration of which items to keep. We like living small and are continually evaluating items in our home.

The stickies on the monthly pages are my monthly focus items. Separate stickies for separate topics or areas.

mini monthly august 2017

mini monthly – august 2017


The sheets peeking out behind the weeks in these shots, below, are my current weekly focus lists. Separate sheets for separate projects or subjects. These stay in the middle of my week each week but I pushed them aside for this photo shoot. The tiny sticky note is my weekly dinner menu plan.

mini weekly july 31 to aug 6 2017

mini weekly july 31-aug 6

mini weekly aug 7-13

mini weekly aug 7-13

mini weekly aug 21-27 2017

mini weekly aug 21-27

Thank you for reading. Wishing everyone a wonderful Labor Day Holiday Weekend (in every corner of the world!). 🙂