If you’ve been involved in the planner community for a while, you may have observed that people incorporate various sections in their planners. In Facebook planner groups, it’s common for someone to ask, “What sections do you include in your planner?” at least once. This query arises from the desire to optimize our planners and make them work most efficiently for us. Given that, it’s important to note that everyone’s “most important sections” will vary. However, I’d like to share my top 6 sections with you.
1. Index or Landing Page
Whether I’m planning on paper or digitally, I always have a starting point. For my paper planner, I refer to this starting point as the “index,” and it’s situated on the very first page of my planner. Specifically, I use the first page divider as my index, and keep extra paper behind it.
2. Calendar Pages
The most crucial pages in a planner are often considered to be the daily, weekly, and monthly calendar pages. While some individuals may use all three, others may only use one. For myself, I usually use the monthly pages, but sometimes I also rely on the weekly pages, and on other occasions, I use both. If you use multiple pages, it’s essential to establish a planner routine, which is a specific set of tasks you perform every day in your planner, to remind you to check the pages you’re using.
3. Shopping List
Having a shopping list on the refrigerator has never worked for my family, especially since it seems like I’m the only one who knows how to use it! Instead, if someone yells out, “We need lightbulbs,” and if my planner is nearby, I quickly jot it down. I’ve designated a specific location on my landing page or index to record this information. When it’s time to make my grocery list, I immediately refer to this dedicated spot and add the item to the list. Keeping food stocked in our home is vital, particularly for my husband and two young adult sons, so it’s closely intertwined with my planning.
4. Menu & Grocery Planning
In addition to my shopping list, I also have a dedicated section in my planner for meal planning. This section usually consists of a menu planner and lined paper for creating the grocery list. In both my paper and digital planner, I list all the necessary items and utilize it when placing my grocery order.
Having a financial sheet in my planner gives me peace of mind. I have customized it to include all the necessary information to ensure that I pay all my bills on time and am aware of upcoming expenses, as well as how much money I will have left after everything is paid. This sheet includes a mini-calendar, a list of monthly bills with their due dates and amounts, and a section for listing the current week’s bills and amounts. Like most people, I subtract my bills from the money in my bank account and hope for a favorable outcome (wink!).
I don’t use the notes section everyday, but it is still an important part of my planner. In my digital planner, my link takes me to a page to write down misc. notes, and once there you find a link to my A-Z notes. The misc. page is a bit of a holding station where I write down pieces of informaiton I need temporarily which is then discarded.
Incorporating different sections in a planner is a personal preference and depends on individual needs and priorities. The sections mentioned above are just a few examples of what can be included in a planner to make it more efficient and productive. By keeping track of essential information such as bills, groceries, and schedules in one place, a planner can help reduce stress and increase organization. Ultimately, the key to a successful planner is to find a system that works best for you and your lifestyle.