It can be overwhelming and sometimes disheartening to see all the crazy creative journals and planners plastered on the internet. It can also be easy to buy a new fancy planner that has the dates already in them combined with cute cartoons and feel reluctant to write on it especially if you have OCD. More often than not newly bought planners end up on my bedroom shelf never to be seen again.
However, this is my way of making a weekly planner that doesn’t trigger my OCD into wanting perfection and is genuinely useful in my day-to-day life.
1. First what you need is a lined notebook. I tend to go for A4 size notepads because I used one in my latter years of high school. At the start of the year, I used a pocket-sized notepad for a while but found it to be too small for recording my daily to-do list. I bought this Pukka Pad Jotta 200 from Amazon for a low price.
2. Skip to the third page if possible leaving the back of the first one (the second page) free for later. The next thing you need to do is by free hand or ruler; make two lines horizontal and two lines diagonal leaving six roughly even boxes using a pencil.
3. What you want to do now is write in the days of the week and the date on the centre of each of the individual boxes and underline them with squiggly lines. I usually use a black pen for the day for it to stand out against my to-do lists and daily tasks.
4. On the back of the first page make a heading for Notes. This is the area that I doodle on throughout the week and add any important information that I want to remember. Besides this, I add a French verb of the week. I did French at school and so this was a good way to help me learn the verbs whilst I looked at my planner. Even though I’ve graduated from high school, I still want to learn enough French to be able to go on holidays to Disneyland Paris and Normandy! On this page, I usually put a song of the week on the page too!
5. Fill in your important dates, tasks and jobs. I write in reminders to take my antidepressant medication as well as my vitamins. This stops me from forgetting to take the medication and ensures I stay consistent with my dosage. When I complete a task I scribble over it to cross it out and move on to my next task.
6. You want to repeat this process for the next three or four weeks adding in a different French verb and different dates. I usually only go a few weeks ahead for the same reason I write my dates in; because it causes me to process the information more efficiently. I don’t go too far ahead in the future for this very reason so that every three to four weeks or so I can plan out fresh.
7. Decorate! Write a title for the first page if you choose! I often use leftover stickers, coloured pens and zig-zag stickers for a border. The planner usually ends up with any leftover scrapbooking material that I’ve either double-printed or opted out of using.
My planner doesn’t always look as neat as this. More often than not it looks like a dog’s dinner after a few weeks of use but it keeps me grounded and organised. Don’t feel pressure to keep your planner in a state of perfection because it’s impossible. Instead use it for what it’s intended: a means of remembering.
I enjoy doing my planner and taking it with me as I potter about my house. For someone who is trying to stop comparing herself to other people, this simple and relaxing way of planning is vastly preferable for trying to organise and maintain a schedule during tough times.