Anyone who knows me knows I love planners. I’m always thinking of ways to use planners beyond simple appointment scheduling. Here are some ideas I’ve come up with for using planners in unconventional ways. How many more ways can you come up with?
Your planner can help you get there. Something that I like to incorporate into my planner is goal-setting. I find it very useful to track my goals in my planner because I look at my planner several times per day, and seeing my goals often keeps them at the forefront of my mind. And beyond just writing my goals, my planner helps me see where I’m going to fit those goal tasks into my day. Whether it’s working out to achieve my fitness goals, writing a blog post to reach my personal goals, or cleaning out the storage room to fulfill my household goals, my planner gets me where I’m going.
Your planner can tell you where you’ve been. Rather than strictly for planning, planners can also be used to record your day as a logbook, or for tracking specific aspects of your life such as a food journal, exercise diary or expenditures record. Parents enjoy writing milestones and cute things their kids said and did in their planner as a wonderful record of their kids growing up. Many people use a planner as a gratitude journal to help them appreciate each day.
Your planner can help you make money. Freelancers and contractors have to keep track of billable hours on multiple projects at once. Writing this information into a planner provides a chronological, permanent record of billable time. I have a friend who is a professional dog walker and she uses a planner to keep track of which dogs she walks each day. At the end of each week she easily totals up billable hours for each client. This type of record can be very useful for budgeting time, and should be kept as a record of hours billed for tax purposes.
Scientific records in planners. Many scientists use planners to record information as field notes. Separate from the detailed notes written in their field journals, planners can record chronological events in the field. Anthropologists use daily planners to record events in their study villages, which becomes very valuable later to see cause and effect. Ornithologists (professional and amateur) can note in their planners the species of birds observed each day, which helps them notice when birds migrate for the winter and return in the spring. Comparing these dates over a period of years shows patterns such as whether birds are migrating earlier or later than usual. Using a planner for field notes creates a permanent record that is portable in any field bag and never needs batteries when you’re out in the field.
Uses for past-year planners. I had a fascinating conversation with Jeroen of Love Notebooks about some of his customers who buy past-year planners. Love Notebooks has past-year planners available for purchase (click here to see) and it was fascinating to hear what people use these for. He said he often gets authors of books and screenplays who want a planner of the year their story takes place, to write the timeline and to have accurate dates of when things take place within the story. People also use them as movie and stage props for the year the story takes place. (And you know with HD TV now, you don’t want anyone zooming in on the picture to find the planner prop is of the wrong year!) Also, lawyers working on a case could find it useful to use a planner from the year the events took place to recreate the chronological sequence of events. It’s so interesting to think of ways to use past-year planners! Of course one option is to keep it and use it later–dates recycle every 7 years so you can keep unused planners until the year when the dates match up with the days again!
As a notebook. I know some people who like to use planners as notebooks, ignoring the dates. Some people do this with past-year planners they didn’t use and don’t want to waste, or they particularly enjoy writing on the paper. Something else to consider is that planners typically have a different number of pages than notebooks. Day-per-page planners usually have more pages than notebooks, which is good for people who write a lot and go through notebooks quickly. A 12-month weekly planner usually has fewer pages than a typical notebook, which often results in a slimmer book than can easily slip into a pocket or bag.
Do you use your planner in an unconventional way? Can you think of more uses for a planner?
Post by guest blogger, and one of the Internets foremost experts on everything planners, Laurie, from plannerisms.com