Another Year, Another Malden Update

It still hasn't dawned on me that we are already in 2013. Granted, we are only three days in, but still. It just doesn't feel like a whole year could have passed already. Too fast, I say.

On a positive note, I think I've already got my 2013 planner system down pretty well. Before I go and toot my own horn on planner perfection, to be perfectly honest my system hasn't changed much from my 2012 system save for a few tweaks.

Speaking of 2012, those pages, along with 2011 and two months of 2010 (I started using Filofax in Nov. 2010) are now lovingly packed away in my new Franklin Covey storage binder. It was a squeeze, but I managed to fit it all in!

The biggest change this year is I finally decided after a long debate to go with the Franklin Covey Monticello two days per page inserts, up from the one page per day in 2012.

I had two main concerns before using these inserts that have already been tamed, even three days in. The first was the location of the timed appointment schedule- it just seemed so close to the rings I feared it might not be comfortable/possible to use. Although not ideal, I don't have tons of daily appointments, instead, I mainly use the tasks and notes sections. With the few timed meetings I put in each day, the rings aren't too much of a bother.

The other, even bigger concern was the terrifying blank page that I would have to fill every day. I know, there is no law that says I have to fill it, but I also am one of the types who loves the look of a full planner (my Malden is fairly well known as the chubby one at any meetup). So while I was excited to have more space for notes, I also feared not having enough to fill in to the point that I ended up with vast blank pages.

Although this will likely continue to be something I work with, I have managed to already see more and more ways to make it work. For example, I didn't have too much to add on New Years Day, so I ended up with this:

Whereas yesterday, I had a few more notes to jot down, plus the addition of a fortune from dinner- I always save them!

It seems that I'll mainly use the note pages to expand on tasks on my to-do list, which fixes another issue I have always had with FC inserts. While I love the task list, I mainly use the ABC 123 system because I know I'm supposed to- I never really follow it. But with the adjoining notes pages, I'm now labeling each expanded note with the correlating to-do, making it easier to match up and more effective to get the to-do, to-done!

Now that I'm way too far into an already rambling post, I suppose I should start at the beginning. This is just a quick run through, since not much has changed since last year.

Since I also use my Malden as a wallet, all essential information lives up front- ID, credit and debit cards, a train schedule and a gift card or two. I also finally got around to changing the photo on the front to one of our favorites from the wedding- I love opening my planner to something happy!

In the back side of the pocket that holds the wedding photo, I keep random mementos that make me smile. Namely a few fortunes, a four leaf clover I found forever ago, a photo strip from a friend's wedding, a photo of my parents, and money from Costa Rica, you know, just in case I ever go back (even though this bill would barely get me a Coke)... oh well.

My official "sections" start after that. All three of them. I used to have a mess of sections, but find that I operate best when my system is simple and concise. The first section is Me (I'm not narcissistic, but it is my planner and it seemed the most straight forward term to use). This section contains my personal info page, Filo registration page, insurance cards, a list of recent medical appointments, and a copy of my stepfather's medication list, since he has unexplained seizures and I am his emergency contact. To save me from photoshopping out nearly every detail of this section, all you get to see is my handmade quote divider. Moving on...

Up next is my Etc section. Again, not very creative, but it works. In here I keep a list of blog post ideas, stickers, and a credit card holder that keeps all of my store discount cards and additional gift cards. On the right I have another top opening envelope that is my coupon keeper- I keep a running list on the front of each coupon I have so I don't forget about them.

Then the rest of my binder is the diary section. Told you it's boring. One change I did make this year is eliminating the year planner- I found I barely ever glanced back at it after filling it out at the beginning of the year. So after my birthday/anniversary templates and a quick overview calendar of 2012-2015, it jumps right into the meat of my planning system. I'm keeping all 12 months of tabbed monthly pages in the binder, along with three months of 2PPD sheets. To help keep track of what has happened each month once I take the daily pages out, I'm really going to try and focus on using the monthly index pages which start each month of the FC monthly pages.

I plan on using these to track any important details I may need after the daily pages are archived, i.e. any symptoms of illness, important appointments or events, etc. That way, I don't have to dig through archived daily pages to get something as simple as when my sore throat started (it can go away any time now)!

A flip of the page leads to the monthly spread, which will provide more detail of the index page before jumping into the daily records. I'm also going to start using the notes column to the right of the daily boxes to write in goals/tasks that need to be done that week. Forward planning (instead of daily tracking) has always been my biggest struggle- 2013 is my year to change that! After the monthly page, I've tabbed in each of the daily sections for the accompanying month, so far January, February and March. Sometime in mid-February, I'll pull January and add April, and so on and so forth.

The final big change has been the removal of a note pad in the back pocket- I figure that between a full note page for each day plus a few blank sheets in the Etc section, I don't really have a need for an additional note pad. The extra space allowed me to fit in three months of 2PPD sheets, as well as keeping my stickers in the back (they used to be smooshed behind the notepad). Plus, I realized that I can also keep a few Coleto cartridges back here, which should work perfectly since I've noticed a few colors are low- now I won't have to worry about them running out when I'm not at home.

That's about it! Nothing too exciting, but I'm finally realizing that over-complicating things just doesn't work for me. Much like taking my color coding system from nine colors to four, cutting down my sections and focusing more on daily planning/recording seems to be the way I need to go.

Of course, only time will tell if it works out. How about you? I'm seeing 2013 set up posts popping up all over- have you changed your systems? Complicated or uncomplicated them? Moved to a new set up entirely? Come on, planner nerds- share. Ready, set, go!

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