want to forward plan even though you aren’t ready to write, place stickers, or decorate?
here’s how i forward plan to make sure i don’t forget upcoming dates. yes, even when i’m not ready to make my planner look pretty yet.
i approach my forward planning–and setting up a new planner–like a funnel.
i start with a bird’s eye view of my year using the yearly pages at the planner’s beginning.
for more on how i set up my yearly pages in this happy planner, and how you can get a better idea of how to make these pages work for you, check out my prior post or even my latest plan with me video.
once you have the rough landscape of your year mapped out, go deeper into the funnel to the monthly view.
even deeper into the funnel takes you to your weekly pages, and then onto daily pages if you have them.
you get the picture.
so, here’s my step-by-step guide to forward planning.
step 1: transfer major dates from your yearly spread to your monthly dashboard.
having already set up my yearly pages, the first thing i do is glance at that spread to see what i have highlighted for the month in question.
let’s take july for starters.
besides independence day, i have two dates circled for that month: the last day of summer school and my uncle’s birthday.
i’m ready to write those dates into my july dashboard page, so i go ahead and do that.
i write the last day of summer school under “important dates” and my uncle’s birthday in the birthday box with a cute gold foil heart sticker.
now, let’s forward plan for august.
i have two dates circled for that month on my yearly pages: my parents’ wedding anniversary and the first day of fall semester.
i’m not ready to actually write on the august dashboard because it’s still a month out and i get nervous.
I DON’T KNOW WHY BUT I’M SURE YOU FEEL ME ON THIS. the anxiety that comes with writing in a gorgeous new planner can be annoyingly debilitating at times.
but my solution is sticky notes!
i use sticky notes or page flags to make sure the dates are recorded on my monthly dashboard because i don’t want to forget them.
just because i’m feeling anal or indecisive about aesthetics does not mean my planner can’t still be fully functional for me.
i write down the event as well as the day of the month on the sticky note and put it where it belongs on the monthly dashboard page.
as you can see in the photo above, my parents’ wedding anniversary goes in the birthdays box since i group anniversaries with birthdays in my planner.
the fall semester start date goes in the important dates section above that.
step 2: transfer any other important dates you have written down elsewhere to your monthly dashboard.
beyond my year at a glance pages at the front of this planner, i check the google calendar i share with my husband, my work planner, and my on the go filofax in case i have scratched down any upcoming appointments or deadlines in there.
each of these important dates get a page flag so i can mark it on my monthly dashboard page. again, i write down the event as well as the date of the month.
turns out august is a bit crazy! which is exactly why i wanted to forward plan.
just because i’m not feeling crafty and cute at the moment doesn’t mean i can afford to not write things down and get organized. i can worry about stickers and colored pens later. i need my planner to be functional above all.
step 3: after you’ve written on your dashboard, move the sticky notes onto your monthly view.
the beauty of the sticky notes is that eventually, when you have your favorite pens or a quiet, creative moment when you are finally ready to write on your monthly dashboard page, you transfer the sticky notes onto your monthly view.
don’t throw them out! just move them to the next page, which is the month at a glance.
i love this method of forward planning because i can work on my planner in small, stress-free bursts without worrying about setting up the whole entire thing in one sitting. it’s also much more fun that way. you always have a fun creative project waiting for you every time you open your planner.
you also save sticky notes when you forward plan this way! because you don’t have to put sticky notes on your dashboard, your monthly pages, AND your weekly pages. you write down an important date ONE time on ONE page flag, and that page flag moves around your planner accordingly.
step 4: after you’ve written in your monthly view, move the sticky notes onto your weekly view.
take july for instance. although i’ve set up the monthly dashboard and monthly pages for july, i haven’t set up the weekly spread for the 23rd.
so, the two sticky notes that started out on my monthly dashboard and then moved to my monthly view are now patiently waiting in my weekly view for when it’s time to complete that weekly spread.
bonus step 5: create a personal events calendar right in your planner.
i live in los angeles so there is A LOT to do! if you live in a big city too, this is a great way to keep track of all the interesting things happening around town.
as party of my forward planning, i research museum exhibits, concerts, outdoor movie showings, and other local events that sound fun. i write them down on sticky notes and stick them in the weekly pages where i may want to do that activity.
that way, i’m reminded of fun date nights or family outings as that week approaches.
for example, i really want to see the getty museum’s icons of style exhibit because i LOVE fashion. i wrote down the name of the exhibit, the location, and the closing date on a sticky note. then, i put that sticky note on the week i think it might be fun and feasible to do that activity. you can see the pink sticky note at the bottom of the photo above.
of course, if we don’t make it to the getty that weekend, i’ll just “reschedule” (move) the post-it. i know i have until october to see that exhibit because that crucial information is right on the post-it.