2020 Planner Setup & Planning Tips

My Filofax is all set up for 2020 and I'm sharing my advice for successful planning.

For the past few years I've been using a Filofax to plan my schedule and my goals. My Filofax is 'The Original' style in the colour patent nude and is 'personal' sized. I find that the personal size is most practical for day to day planning, it's small enough to fit in a handbag but large enough to comfortably write in. I do also have an A5 Finsbury Filofax, which probably deserves a revamp and it's own post, I use this for planning projects rather than my day to day planning.

This year I purchased my inserts from Crossbow Printables, I opted to get the same inserts as I had used for 2019, as I found that they had worked well for me.

Filofax Original and Crossbow Printables inserts

The pack of inserts includes a transparent quote page, I had one of these with a different quote from last year's inserts so I included both in my setup. There is a year at a glance page, which is a calendar for the full year, there isn't really room to write things on this page so I generally just highlight any important dates.

Semi transparent quote page
Year overview page

There are also year at a glance pages which have a small box for each month, I use this to keep track of birthdays, holidays and other important dates. One thing I particularly like about this set of inserts is that they include goal pages, the first of which is the yearly goals pages, there's room here to write 16 goals and it's where I write all of my larger goals for the year.

Year at a glance 2020

Following this there are quarterly goals pages, where I break down my larger yearly goals into more manageable steps and also add any small short-term goals. With each quarterly goals page there is a quarterly review page, at the end of each quarter it's a place to review what you've achieved and what needs more work. Being totally honest I didn't use these quarterly review pages at all last year, I just ticked off any goals I had completed. However, this year I am planning to utilise these pages more.

Quarterly goals and reviews pages

Now we're onto the main weekly and monthly pages. Each month has a cover page with areas for birthdays, important dates and a few main goals and tasks. I tend to just use this page to keep track of anything I need to ensure I don't forget about. Following this is the month on two pages, these show an overview for the full month with a column for goals and to dos. I think I could realistically do all of my planning with just these month pages if I had to, they're probably my most used pages. I use them to keep track of all important dates and events, I find it handy to use washi tape to mark periods of time when people are on holiday. I also use the goals and to-do area to keep track of my main tasks for the month.

Month on two pages 2020

Next is the week on two pages inserts, these have an area for each day, a goals and notes area and a calendar for the month. I use these pages to plan out what's happening each day and use the goals area to keep track of things I need to get done that week but not necessarily on a specific day. At the end of each month there is a monthly review page, this is similar to the quarterly review pages, where it's basically an area to reflect on the past month and make note of what went well and what could be improved upon in following months. Much like the quarterly review pages, I didn't actually use them at all last year but plan to in 2020.

Week on two pages 2020

At the end of the set of inserts there are also some additional pages for 2021 diary dates, these have a line for each day of next year to keep track of anything to remember for the following year's planner setup. There are also some basic notes pages.

Overall my planner setup is pretty basic, I made myself a dashboard for the front of my planner by laminating some nicely patterned paper, but aside from this I just use the inserts I discussed above and some inserts and dividers which were included when I initially purchased the Filofax. I do plan to customise my planner a bit more, I already have all of the materials to make some replacement dividers which will match the dashboard I made, I just haven't got round to actually making them (there'll be a blog post when I do!). In previous years I have used stickers and stamping to decorate each week on two pages, but I was finding it impractical to need to spend time at the start of each week getting this set up. I do still use stamping and stickers but much more sparingly, to allow me to quickly jot down my plans for each week.

Custom dashboard
Zoomed in view of custom dashboard

Planning Tips

Over the past few years of using my planner I think I've learnt a lot about what works and what doesn't. As I already mentioned above I've cut back on my use of stamping and stickers. Inspired by a lot of planning videos I'd seen on YouTube I would quite heavily decorate each week in my planner and while it did make it look prettier, I've learnt my planner needs to be used as more of a tool than a creative outlet and I now can plan out each week in less than five minutes.

I've definitely learnt a lot about how to goal plan successfully over the past year. When setting out goals for the year, it can be really tempting to fill up those pages with all of your goals and dreams, but you really need to take a step back and decide what's realistic. At the start of the year I now only fill out about half of the goals, so that I can add more as the year progresses and I stick to what's achievable within the year rather than including larger dreams that I don't yet know how to achieve. Looking back at goals I'd set in previous years many of them I didn't achieve as they really weren't realistic. Often by the end of the year there would be several goals I had set which I no longer had any interest in completing, I think they were things I had quickly thought of and added in to fill up those pages, rather than leaving some spaces blank for later in the year. Having achievable goals can really help to keep you motivated and stops you from giving up, which can easily happen when goals seem impossible.

Yearly goals 2020

A final major change I've made to my planner setup this year is that I've managed to fit all of my yearly inserts in my planner. In previous years I would only keep a few months of pages in my planner at once, as I didn't have the space. This obviously isn't great for planning ahead as often I would go to write something down and find I hadn't added that month's pages yet. I spent some time looking at which pages I actually use and need to keep in my planner every day. I largely removed a lot of note paper and some address book pages, leaving just a few of each of these. I know that I'm not going to take down that many notes in a single day and really it makes sense to keep what I would realistically use in a single day and store the rest at home to be added as needed. I also removed some old notes which I no longer need to refer to. I think it can be really useful to regularly take a look through your planner and remove what you aren't using.

If you have any additional tips of your own, feel free to share them in the comments below.

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