Planners Are So Not Working for Me!

2017_writers_notebook_plannerWell, it’s the second week of using my 2017 planners for work and life. I bought both planners this year to check them for any printing issues before placing them on Lulu for those who didn’t want to print them to buy.

Since I absolutely hate wasting stuff, I tried to figure out a way to use them both. By week one (December 25 to January 1), I already saw a problem with how I was going to use them. I tweaked the system and tried it for a second week (January 2 to today).

The system I devised looked something like this:

  • 2017 Project & Task Planner was to be used at the beginning of each day to show what I want to accomplish each week, to plan out my projects for the week and year, to record deadlines/events/appointments that will change how I plan my week, and to give me a good overview of what I wanted to get done.
  • 2017 Writer’s Notebook Planner was to be used at the end of the day to track how I used my time (using the time tracker), to show what I actually accomplished each day, to record my scheduled posts, to write down my day reflections (work journal and goal for 2017).

Both versions of this system ended up being too complicated, too time-consuming, and just plain old annoying. I really, really hated using both planner throughout the week. Also decided that I’m never going to be one of those writer’s who journal and dropped the work journal idea from this year’s goals.

2017_task_plannerThis morning I decided that it was time to return to the drawing board and figure out how I could utilize both planners. I even did some internet research and read article after article of how others used multiple planners.

After about an hour of reading I knew that the multiple planner idea wasn’t going to ever work for me. Having two different planners to keep track of things just isn’t feasible for the way my brain works or for how I work. Also I just don’t have that much stuff going on now that I’m not designing covers any more and I use a wall calendar to record my family’s schedules.

So I’m scrapping my planner system and trying something else.

I wish that I had someone I could give one of the planners to so as not to waste it, but everyone I know that wanted one bought one and I’ve already started writing in them and I doubt anyone would want either of them now. So instead I’m going to use one planner at a time, possible for a few months before switching to the other one. This way I can see which features I like better for when I design another one for 2018.

That said, I’m curious to know if anyone has any suggestions for how they use their planners? For those who bought one, how are you utilize your planners? Do you have any suggestions for next years planners?

NEW RELEASE! Two 2017 Planners Designed with Writer’s in Mind

Last year, I released the 2016 Task & Project Planner and now I’m really, really excited to announce the unveiling of the 2017 Task & Project Planner and the 2017 Writer’s Notebook Planner, but only because of a very dear friend of mine really loved last years planner made the request that I create a new one for this coming year. I didn’t just create one, I created two.

The 2017 Project & Task Planner is both a yearly and weekly planner that allows you to see what appointments you have for the week, keep track of those pesky tasks that you need to make sure you have done daily, and make a to-do list of projects and tasks you need to work on but have no specific time or day when they need to be done. (This Planner is perfect for the more task oriented writer who doesn’t have a lot of events or appointments to track.)

While the 2017 Writer’s Notebook Planner was specifically designed for writers to help you track your time, pursue your goals, plan your projects, record your ideas, and live your life! (This Planner is better for the writer who wants to track their projects, goals, and what they do daily.)

And here they are! Aren’t they lovely? 😀


Here’s the covers for 2017 Task & Project Planner (left) and 2017 Writer’s Notebook Planner (right) that I designed. Yes, they’re a little girly.

I know there is someone out there wondering why two planners?

Well the short version is: I wanted something different.

The longer version: I’m a planner addict who really, really wants to find a planner that fit my needs because my planning style has always been more task oriented without set deadlines then task oriented with set deadlines. I’m one of those people who wants to make a meal plans for the month or even a week but can’t stick with it because I don’t feel like eating or cooking the meal I thought I was going to make that day. I plan my days according to how I feel that day.

So in my quest to find a planner that doesn’t drive me crazy I’ve bought, printed off, and even created several different types of planners to no avail. Then I stumbled onto the Bullet Journal and it really worked for me. If you don’t know what I’m talking about when I say Bullet Journal, you can learn more about it at (a blog that I’ve never personally read but was created by the guy behind the system), or check out Tiny Ray of Sunshine to read her thorough guide to the Bullet Journal system (this one I have read and liked), or look at some images on Google or on my Bullet Journal & Planners Pinterest Board to get the idea (all outside links).

The 2016 Task & Project Planner was created because I wanted a printable planner using one of my favorite bullet journal layouts. When I told my really great friend and fellow writer (who I mentioned above) what I was doing, she really wanted one, so I had LULU print it and sold it for as cheap as LULU would allow me to because I wanted fellow writers to be able to afford something that could help them. I also gave it away as a free printable for anyone who wanted to try it and do the printing themselves.

When my friend asked me last month if I would have another planner for this year, I jumped at the chance to improve the 2016 Task & Project Planner. The 2017 Task & Project Planner is done in the same style as last year with a few added bonuses. The 2017 Writer’s Notebook Planner is a whole new design I created with another bullet journal layout that I love. I really want to see which one works best with my planning style or if I’ll be going back to the bullet journal system in 2018.

Now that you have the background story behind these planners, let me tell you a bit about them. I’ve taken some pictures to help you see what these planners are offering you too!

Inside the 2017 Task & Project Planner

This planner is coil bound and printed on white, letter size paper. The format is a one page weekly spread that covers January – December 2017. At the behest of my friend, I added a few things in this planner from last year and then a few more things she didn’t ask for because I thought it would make it more useful. So let’s have a look inside, shall we?


Purchase at LULU

The Plan Ahead Section has:

  • Birthday & Anniversaries calendar is a basic month by month spread for you to write down all those Birthdays and Anniversaries of friends and family all in one place.
  • Gift Lists is basically a notes page to write down gift ideas for yourself or the other people in you life.
  • Things I Need To Do This Year is another lined page where you can list all the things you want to do in the year that don’t really have a place on your calendar yet.
  • 2017-at-a-Glance is a yearly overview where you can pre-plan your projects, write down events and appointments, list your set deadlines and plan your projects backward, or track your work flow in a Gantt-like styled Chart (for an idea of what I’m talking about you can check out the Work Flow Chart section of Jessica Chung’s article).
  • Things I Need to Do Next Year is where you can write down anything you need to remember to do next year.


The 2017-at-a-Glance page gives you a full view of your year at-a-glance! I once used these to track book cover designs I needed to do for clients, my writing deadlines, and even days I wrote.

The 2017 Calendar Section has:

  • Monthly Goals & Projects is a divided line page for each month where you can list out all the things you want to do during the month.
  • The Weekly Spread is divided into three sections. At the top you have a place for Appointments. The next area is a Daily Project & Task Tracker for you to track things you do everyday but don’t really want to have to write them out each day. The bottom section is where you list all your Weekly Projects & Tasks for the week that don’t have any specific day that they need to be done on. If I need to get it done at a certain time I might write the due date beside the task.


Here’s what the weekly spread looks like.

My Writing Projects

  • My Projects for this Year is a place to write down all the projects you want to do in the year.
  • My 2017 Writing Tracker was something I added this year. I use it to keep track of the days I write or meet my word count.
  • Project Planner is where you can plan your projects. There is even an extra page for notes.
  • Project Plans is several blank sheets of paper where you can brainstorm your projects.
  • My Projects for Next Year is where you can list out project ideas for next year as they come to you. I use sticky notes in this section too.


Both the Projects for This Year and the Projects for Next Year have the same layout with a different title.  I use sticky notes in both of these calendars because my plans frequently change.


The Writing Tracker (left) and the first page of the Project Planning sheets (right).

Lists, Notes, & Inspiration Section

  • Online Tools is a table where you can write down the website, username, and passwords for all you online stuff. I use abbreviations and hints for most of mine. Just enough to remind me and not enough to give someone free access if I ever lost my planner.
  • Waiting On is another new page for this year. These pages give you a place to track what has been ordered but is pending fulfillment and delivery, that email you sent and are waiting for a response from, support from services, letters from pen pals, giveaways, blog comments, or anything else you can think of.
  • Notes & Ideas is lined paper for writing notes.
  • Mind Mapping & Sketches is blank paper for sketching and mind-mapping.


Contacts Section

  • Contacts is the place for names, addresses, phone numbers, email address, and notes about the person.

The 196 page, 2017 Task and Project Planner can be Purchase at Lulu for $13.99

(I won’t be offering the 2017 Task & Project Planner as a FREE printable on this site this year; however, if you want to make a request for a PDF to do your own printing, please email me and I’ll send you a FREE copy.)

Inside the 2017 Writer’s Notebook Planner

New this year, the 2017 Writer’s Notebook Planner was my attempt to try something different with some of the layouts. This planner is coil bound and printed on white, letter size paper. The format is a two page weekly spread that covers January – December 2017. Inside you will find…


Purchase at Lulu

Trackers Section

The tracker section is a way to eliminate having repetitive tasks filling up your weekly pages and give you an overview of the year. However, the goal is not to accomplish all the tasks every day, but rather to track your activity throughout the month or year for the things that matter most to you. It’s a great tool for self-assessment and reflection.

  • The Writing Tracker is a yearly overview of your writing progress. Over the years I’ve given myself a lot of grief for not writing more, but it wasn’t until I used the writing tracker that I realized how many days I wrote. It was awesome to see a visual of my writing year!
  • There are three Extra Trackers for you to track other things such as exercise, blogging, or business. It’s up to you on how you want to use them.

2017 Calendar Section:

This section gives you tools to plan and track your year, month, and days in advance (I think that is my only real complaint about the bullet journal system, planning days and months in advanced.):

  • The Birthday and Anniversaries gives you a place to record birthdays and anniversaries you wish to remember.
  • The Gift Lists is where you can write down those great gifts you run into for yourself, friends, and family, plus any information related to them.
  • 2017-At-A-Glance is a yearly overview calendar where you can write down birthdays and anniversaries you need to remember, record deadlines, schedule a book launch, or set aside a week to work on your big writing project’s tasks. By knowing what is coming up and when, you can more easily schedule your days to meet your obligations. When you track your deadlines, you will be better able to avoid scheduling tasks that aren’t so urgent in the same time-frame.
  • The Monthly Planner has a place for morning, afternoon, and all day commitments and appointments. For example, since I use my planner for both business and personal, I will write down the days my kids are out of school in the all day section. There is also a column for monthly goals & projects where you can list out all the things you want to accomplish that month.
  • The Weekly Planner is a two page spread that is broken down into four sections:
    • This Week’s Projects & Goals is where you can write down the projects, goals, and weekly to-do list for things you need to do that have no specific time or day when it needs to get it done but that needs to be done that week.
    • This Week’s Task Tracker can be used to track specifics task that you want to do daily for the week.
    • The Day Planner works in two ways. First, there is a horizontal Time Tracker to help you track what you’ve done that day or to help you plan the day. I like using symbols from my key on my time tracker such as an email icon when I check email, or color codes such as green for business work, red for writing, orange for family, or blank for unscheduled time. Second, it has a place to add specific tasks and to-dos for that day.
    • The Notes section for you to write down any reminders or ideas for that week or to improve next week’s plans.
  • Schedule for Next Year is where you can record any reminders, events, tasks, and anything else you want to do next year. I use small sticky notes in this area so I can move them around as my plans solidify.


Use the 2017-at-a-Glance calendar to plan your year, set your deadlines, or track your work flow.


Not your usual monthly spread with boxes, this monthly calendar is based on the bullet journal style with space to record all day, AM, and PM appointments and events.


This weekly spread has a way for you to track your time and create a daily to-do list.

Project Planner Section

  • My Projects for this Year gives you a place to list all the projects you want to work on during the year and so that you can see what you want to accomplish and decide on the best time and date for those projects before imputing them into your planner.
  • The Project Planner & Notes is provided for you to plan out the project you wish to work on this year. There are six Project planner areas provided. They can be used for writing projects, website redesigns, blogging, or home improvement.
  • My Projects To-Do Next Year is where you can write down anything you want to remember to do next year.


Both My Projects for This Year and My Projects To-Do Next Year are a two page spread where you can plan out your projects in advanced. I use sticky notes until my plans are solidified.

Lists, Notes, & Inspiration

  • Online Tools can help you keep track of websites, usernames, and passwords for all you online stuff. Although, I feel safer using abbreviations and hints to jog my memory for much of this.
  • Waiting On sheets gives you a place to track what has been ordered but is pending fulfillment and delivery, that email you sent and are waiting for a response from, support from services, letters from pen pals, contests, blog comments, or anything else you can think of.
  • Notes & Ideas is lined paper for brainstorming and writing down reminders about ideas you might have.
  • Mindmapping & Sketches is a blank paper for sketching pictures or brainstorming ideas.


  • Contacts is for the names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and notes about the people you contact.

The 228 page, 2017 Writer’s Notebook Planner can be Purchase at Lulu for $14.99

(I won’t be offering the 2017 Writer’s Notebook Planner as a FREE printable on this site this year; however, if you want to make a request for a PDF to do your own printing, please email me and I’ll send you a FREE copy.)

Wishing y’all the very best today!


{Question} Planners and Organizers for Writers: Yes or No?

I’ve been looking into buying a new planner, since my old one died at the first of August and it’s something I need. However, I’ve been having a hard time finding one I like and I’m curious to know:

How many of you are using day planners?

What are your favorite formats? Monthly? Weekly? Daily? Horizontal or vertical?

What do you look for when you choose a day planner?