How to Use Multiple Planners | December Boot Camp


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I’ve recently made a discovery: one planner isn’t going to cut it for me. Now, I know that men are like waffles and women are like spaghetti (it’s a book by Bill and Pam Ferrell, check it out¬†ūüėČ) but there’s something about me that is very un-spaghetti like. Some things just need to be compartmentalized in order for me to function. Which is why one planner isn’t going to work.

After coming to terms with this fact, (I literally thought there was something wrong with me when I couldn’t seem to function with my one DayTimer) I finally decided to join the land of multiple planner planning.

And then it happened.

Corie, The Reset Girl, did a scope on her master planner list in her main planner. You can watch the replay on My mind was blown and something inside my noggin clicked and I knew I’d found what I’d been looking for. So over the past few days, I’ve been developing a master planning system of my own.

Here’s how it works:

I’ve recently made a discovery: one planner isn’t going to cut it for me. Now, I know that men are like waffles and women are like spaghetti but there’s something about me that is very un-spaghetti like. Some things just need to be compartmentalized in order for me to function. I finally decided to join the land of multiple planner planning.


1. Determine how much time you have to invest in planning.

Be honest about your time. You may¬†want¬†to have time for multiple planners and notebooks but your reality doesn’t match up. Maybe you can count on a whole Sunday afternoon or just¬†a few minutes during your lunch break. An awareness of your time will keep you from setting yourself up for failure and unnecessary disappointment.

2. List all your planning needs.

This includes all the areas of life that requires you to make lists, schedules, and notes. Examples include:

  1. Daily planner
  2. Home management
  3. Work
  4. Prayer/Bible Study
  5. School
  6. Home business
  7. Food Journal
  8. Exercise tracker
  9. Homeschooling
  10. Church
  11. Goal tracker
  12. Brain dump
  13. Family schedules
  14. Reading
  15. Finances
  16. Recipes
  17. Projects
3. Decide whether or not you can group your needs together.

For example, if you’re keeping a home management binder, would that include your recipes and finances? Or do you want your recipes in a separate binder? Decide how far you want to compartmentalize everything and make sure that everything flows and functions well.

4. Determine what planning and note taking methods work best for you.

Going for something simple or do you like all the frills and furbelows? Do you need a planner with monthly and weekly spreads? Binders? Composition notebook? Spiral bound? Disc-bound? Erin Condren? Filofax? DayTimer? Midori Traveler’s Notebook? Kikki K? Moleskine?¬†Franklin Covey? Happy Planner? Bullet Journaling? The possibilities are endless! And It doesn’t have to cost a whole ton of money. If you have the desire¬†and the funds¬†to splurge, have at it! But there are a myriad of inexpensive options everywhere. If you really want to get creative, hop on Pinterest and YouTube and see what other planner girls are making and using!¬†¬†

5. Match method with need.

Maybe you keep track of health and fitness in a spiral bound notebook. Better make it a 3-subject because you’ve got some detailed notes to keep about health issues, routines, and supplements. Maybe you’ve got an old Franklin Covey binder lying around somewhere and you could use that to keep track of your home business.

Consider the functionality of the method you use. Maybe a bulky planner won’t fit in your backpack so you choose something more compact for keeping track of school assignments. Or you’ve got small kiddos who can get messy so don’t sink your money into an expensive homeschool binder.

6. Choose a dashboard.

This is the planner or notebook from which your planning system will operate. This is the fun part for me and why my mind blew when I saw Cori’s master list.

Now that you know your needs and methods, create a master list to keep track of each one and their functions. I find it best to choose the planner that goes with you everywhere. For me, it’s a 365 Happy Planner.

And here’s what my master list consisted of:

  1. Master Planner | Happy Planner
  2. Personal Notebook | Single Subject Spiralbound Notebook
  3. Prayer/Bible Study Journal | Mini Binder
  4. Writer’s Notebook | Steno pad
  5. The Student Life | 3 Subject Spiralbound Notebook
  6. The Reader’s Notebook | Mini Binder
  7. Health and Fitness | Composition Notebook
  8. Home Management Binder | Binder
  9. Blog/Business | Binder
  10. Church/Ministry | DayTimer
  11. Brain Dump | Fauxdori

Master Planner Key - create a master list to keep track of each of your planners and their functions. I find it best to choose the planner that goes with you everywhere. For me, it’s a 365 Happy Planner. Inspired by The Reset Girl

Whew! I know, it’s a lot!

Of course, I’m not going to be using all of these every single day, but I wanted to have designated spaces to keep track of the various things in my life that are important to me. Like I said in yesterday’s post, this is the way I engage best with tasks and goals. My eye is drawn to color coordination, my brain is alert and excited when pages turn or when ink glides across paper, and my interest and creativity are peaked when I see the row of notebooks and binders ready to be used and filled. It’s nerdy, I’m totally aware, but it works!

As part of my boot camp, I’m going to go through some¬†of my notebooks and planners and show how I use them. Maybe that’ll give you some ideas and inspiration! Stay tuned!

Happy planning!

18. Childhood Speaks | 31 Days

This is post 18/31 of Write 31 Days. See full list HERE.

My bedroom in my childhood home faced the West. That meant that the sun set right outside my window. God painted the sky in brilliant reds, purples, pinks, and oranges. Like snowflakes and finger prints, no two evening skies were the same. It was most glorious in the fall because the painting would backdrop the flaming autumn trees. Couple that with a crisp October breeze and the effect was absolutely breathtaking.

I wish I had a picture to show you.

I don’t have the best recall which kills me because I have so many great memories. When I do have a random mental snapshot, they often give me great insight about myself. I remember the games I used to play or the things I used to spend hours and hours doing. And while I don’t aspire to play with Barbie dolls, there are things that I wish I hadn’t let go of just because I grew up.¬†

I get that not every kid who says he wants to be a firefighter when he grows up actually becomes a firefighter. But some of them do. When I look back at the things that make up my childhood, I see connections to several¬†of the things I’ve done over the past decade. And I also see connections to what I always seem to want to do as an adult. My interests haven’t changed with time, they’ve just matured with age.

It seems the older I get, the more my childhood speaks to me. The more I think about autumn sunsets. The more I think about who I really am inside and how I want to live my life. I think that when we look back at the pure, innocent places of our childhood, the places of creativity, honesty, and discovery, we see some of our best moments. The older I get, the more I want to reconnect with those things that make me who I am today. The more I want to listen when my childhood speaks.   


2. Good Mornings | 31 Days

This is post 2/31 of Write 31 Days. See full list HERE.

Hi, my name is Elyssa and I’m a chronic snoozer.

[I’m pretty sure this is the part when you say ‘Hi, Elyssa’ back]

I literally set my alarm 15 minutes early so that I can snooze for three 5 minute intervals. And then¬†I set a timer for another 15 while justifying why I can’t possibly face the day yet.¬†Yes, I know, it’s rather pathetic.

All my years as a homeschooled high schooler and an independent college student, and I never got a grip on my mornings. I wish a million times over that I had because it is an area of life that requires cultivating and intentionality.

Seriously, good mornings are one of the best weapons in your arsenal to battle the junk that comes flying in on a daily basis. Have a stressful job? Get a grip on your morning. Too many classes this semester? Get a grip on your morning. Kids driving you crazy? Get a grip on your morning. Too many problems, don’t know where to start? Get a grip on your morning. New projects to work on? Get a grip on your morning? Just want to feel better about life? Honey, get a grip on your morning.

What do I mean by get a grip? I mean taking some time and deciding what you need your morning to consist of and then committing to it. Before anyone else has say in your life, get your grip.

The Happiness Project¬†author,¬†Gretchin Rubin, considers September to be a kind of new year, a concept she talks about in her book Happier at Home. It makes sense because it’s the beginning of a new school year, the end of the summer adventures, and the start of a brand new season. So when this past September rolled around, I decided to do the same thing. New season. New challenges. Top of the list–mornings.

September was good. I was more consistent with my morning routine than I have been in a long time. It wasn’t perfect–I still snoozed, but it was a start in the right direction. But I need to do even better. It’s October now, and there’s one more piece to my morning puzzle that I need: early rising.

So yesterday, was the first day of the month and I didn’t hit the snooze button or set a timer. I actually got up, grabbed my water bottle, and headed for the treadmill before I could talk myself out of it.¬†

[I think there are supposed to be some sort of congratulatory remarks or maybe a hand clap or two here. I don’t really know how Snoozers Anonymous works, but it seems appropriate]

Yeah, because writing for 31 days straight and launching a podcast isn’t enough challenge in one month, I have to tackle something else too. And this thing, so¬†seemingly mundane, is huge because waking up at a decent time so I can have time to do my life is important.

But that’s how it goes right? You have to stop and commit to the little things while in the thick of everything else otherwise you lose yourself. I didn’t manage this very well when I was in school. This is one of those things I wish I could go back and tweak but I’m committing now. And now is better than never, yeah?

So what does my good morning routine consist of?

  • Wake up between 530 & 600. I’m shooting for¬†530 but I’m giving myself a grace period to get used to it.
  • Treadmill for 1/2 hour
  • Bible reading & journaling¬†for 1/2 hour to 45 min
  • Write for 1 hour
  • Breakfast
  • Shower

That’s it. There are other things that I need to schedule during the rest of my day but I can’t get that under control until I get a grip on my mornings first.

Good morning means my body is awake (treadmill), my soul is awake (Bible reading & journaling), and my creativity is awake (writing). I¬†add breakfast and a shower to that combo and I’m ready for the races! My attitude is better, I think more clearly, I’m more apt to respond rather than react, and I’m much more patient.

Good mornings are something I wish I got a grip on earlier in life but am determined to master now. They¬†will fluctuate and change with the seasons but the grip remains. Maintaining that control, preparing your body, and letting God speak to you before anyone else does is so important. So when all the junk comes flying in, you’re ready. It’s not easy but you’ve made ready and no one can take that from you.

Have you got a grip on your mornings? What does your routine look like and how does it help you deal with the crazy life brings? Do you need to get a grip and have good mornings? What kinds of change do you need to make to get your routine going?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!¬†


31 Days of The Student Life

1 Big Idea + 31 Days of Blogging = one giant leap into the great unknown. 

Okay, maybe it’s not so dramatic as all that.¬†

Okay just kidding, yes it is. For me, anyway.¬†I’ll give you the short version of the story.

I’ve been working on this really big project – a podcast called The Student Life. It’s set to launch on October 13th. While swimming through the quagmire that is the life of a newbie producer, I got this email reminding me that the 31 Days of Writing challenge¬†is about to start.¬†

Whaaaa?? …Oh yeah! I remember signing up for that!

When I tell you I serve a God of impeccable timing, I so mean it.

This is THE perfect challenge to couple with my podcast launch. A good, strong, terrifying dose of accountability is just what I need to make this idea of mine actually see the light of day.

So I’m going to commit to 31 days of writing about this thing I call The Student Life. Yes me, the girl who has never finished a photo-a-day challenge on Instagram or stuck to a blog series of her own ever. I’m committing to 31 days of exploring the unconventional education I pursued in college and continue to pursue post-degree.

Here’s to one giant leap!


Here we go,¬†October readers ūüôā

31 Days of The Student Life



Day 1 | Speed Limits


Day 2 | Good Mornings


Day 3 | The Truth About Wisdom


Day 4 | Snapshots

You're Not Good At Everything

Day 5 | You’re Not Good at Everything


Day 6 | Practice Not Included


Day 7 | The Next Step


Day 8 | My Writer’s Heart

drawing boards

Day 9 | Drawing Boards


Day 10 | Forever in His Care


Day 11 | The Dip

WRITE 31 DAYS (10)

Day 12 | Happiness

WRITE 31 DAYS (11)

Day 13 | Comparison Kills

WRITE 31 DAYS (12)

Day 14 | Do Not Hand Over the Mic

WRITE 31 DAYS (13)

Day 15 | Know Your MO

WRITE 31 DAYS (14)

Day 16 | Show Up


Day 17 | Space

Childhood Speaks

Day 18 | Childhood Speaks

WRITE 31 DAYS (17)

Day 19 | Morning Song

The Slump

Day 20 | The Slump

WRITE 31 DAYS (19)

Day 21 | Dreamers

WRITE 31 DAYS (21)

Day 22 | If It Makes You Happy

Day 23

Day 24

Day 25


Day 26 | Happens Every Time

self discovery

Day 27 | Self Discovery

Day 28 | Sometimes

Day 29

Day 30

Day 31