The New Planner and Strategy for 02013

The year 02012 was chock full of lessons, and I’d like to share one of them with you here, in describing my strategy for using my calendar in 02013.

Long-time readers will know that I am a paper-and-pencil kind of guy when it comes to organization. I have just never been able to make use of any digital tools for planning and organizing my tasks and projects. Several years ago I designed my own planner pages and used them for a few years before my “job” changed and I went back into the hospitality biz. When that happened my needs changed drastically and I switched from my Circa-based system to a pre-printed Moleskine calendar. I have been using that tool for my planning and organizing for the past three years.

During my Annual Review I learned a few things about how I had been using the pre-printed planner and some of the limitations it has, now that I am freelance again.

  • The two page per week format was not that good for determining my schedule at a glance, and it started on Monday, rather than Sunday.
  • There was no place to capture emergent tasks that came up. Yes, I usually capture them on an index card, but sometimes there is a need to block out time or set a reminder for a time-sensitive activity.
  • No blank pages. Well, there were a couple in the back, but not sufficient for what I wanted to do, which is keep track of my longer-term goals and projects. This caused me to track these in a separate notebook, which led to these goals being overlooked occasionally.
  • This same weakness applied to note-taking during meetings, phone calls, etc. These notes came to be scattered across different notebooks, loose papers and note cards – not conducive to good organization.

To that end I used a set of large Circa rings, lined paper, quad-ruled paper and some dividers to create the planner that overcomes the limitations of the pre-printed organizer.

front page of circa-levenger-planner-calendar-gtd-diy

Front page

Here you can see the layout, the next three months have their own tabs, as this is the time period that gets the most activity. The fourth tab is for the next three months in summary, while the fifth tab is for the next six months in note-page format.


tab format for circa-levenger-planner-calendar-gtd-diy (3)


Each tab has a note-page for the “Big Rocks” – important or time-intensive tasks or projects – and a one-page-per-month calendar for scheduling:


Big rocks

diy circa planner levenger calendar scheduler pages


In the back of the planner are the longer-term goals and blank pages for note-taking.

goals notes circa-levenger-planner-calendar-gtd-diyThis way everything I need for working toward completing my Goals, everyday activities, meeting notes, etc is all together in one place.

I will be keeping some notes on how the process works, successes and obstacles, difficulties and solutions for a review post in February.

If you have any questions, please leave a Comment!

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