The perfect planner productivity template for this former perfectionist

Hello lovely readers,

I’ve been searching for years for a planning template or system that works for me and I think I’ve finally stumbled upon something good so I wanted to share.

For a couple years, I tried Bullet Journaling, and while there are some things I really liked about that system (simple, clear, solid organization), I just couldn’t get the habit of keeping up with it to stick. I tried adapting it to my own templates in Evernote, a web and mobile note taking application, and it was better (because it was on my phone and so I always had it with me) but I kept rescheduling the same tasks over and over and over again because I’d write them down but I just wasn’t getting them done.

Then, one of the social media influencers I follow recommended the Day Designer, and the format was really nice but again it’s a physical notebook and I’ve simply decided those do not work for me. But I looked at their free printables and the structure they lay out there and one of the things that stood out was they have a section that specifically calls out “today’s top three”. As a recovering perfectionist practicing imperfectionist, I’m quite skilled at making a to-do list for days and it’s so daunting and overwhelming that I often don’t do any of it. Prioritizing just a few tasks is KEY for me.

Feeling inspired, I set to work on a new template in my Evernote notebook that was a modified Day Designer + Bullet Journal system and here’s what I ended up with..

Word/Phrase of the Year

I took this straight from the Day Designer, which recommended choosing a word that represents the focus for the word. For me, I expanded it from just a word to a phrase and my selected phrase for the year is Let go. Let go of what I can’t control, of the past, of judgment, of things I do not need.

Setting Yearly Goals

I also borrowed from Day Designer for the yearly goal categories and just tweaked it slightly. Originally, I was only going to have two focus goals this year (starting this blog, and completing the self wellness project) but I allowed myself to fill out the other categories with some very light goals. I’ve included examples for three of my goal topics. My self care goals at 6, 9, and 12 months into the year are not currently defined. I’ll flesh those out at the beginning of each quarter, as I reflect on how how the previous quarters’ goals have gone.

My mental + physical wellness
Family, friendship, human connection
Learning + growing
Time + money
Contributing to society
GOALSet a baseline for physical healthLearn/practice water coloringStart a blog
3 monthsClean floors 8x
Brush dog’s fur 8x
Brush cat’s fur 8x
Exercise/stretching/breathing 900 min
Complete 1 water color artPublish 10 blog posts
6 monthsAbove + sleep goalsComplete 3 water color artsPublish 22 blog posts
9 monthsAbove + hydration goalsComplete 6 water color artsPublish 34 blog posts
12 monthsAbove + nutrition goalsComplete 9 water color artsPublish 45 blog posts

Yearly Log

This is my yearly overview where I list important dates to remember (holidays, birthdays, major scheduled events like weddings) and tasks or reminders related to a month (like doctor appointments that need to be made or health insurance open enrollment).

01 New Year’s Day
18 MLK Jr. Day (Work Holiday)
07 Super Bowl
14 Valentine’s Day
15 President’s Day (Daycare closed)

Schedule cat vet appointment
Schedule dentist appointment
17 St. Patrick’s Day

File taxes
04 Easter
15 Taxes due
02 Greek Orthodox Easter
09 Mother’s Day
31 Memorial Day
13 Father’s Day
17 Cat’s adoptaversary

Schedule doctor appointment
04 Independence Day28 Dog’s adoptaversary07 Labor Day

Schedule eye doctor appointment
31 Halloween

Schedule dog vet appointment
14 DST ends
25 Thanksgiving
26 Thanksgiving observed

At in-laws’ for Thanksgiving
24 Christmas Eve
25 Christmas
31 New Year’s Eve

At parents’ for Christmas

Weekly/Daily Log

This is where I’m most excited for how well my format is working for me. It helps me prioritize and focus my tasks. At the top, I repeat my goals (but only for the current quarter) and record what my progress looks like at the beginning of this week.

GOALSet a baseline for physical healthLearn/practice water coloringStart a blog
2/3 monthsClean floors 2/8x
Brush dog’s fur 1/8x
Brush cat’s fur 1/8x
Exercise/stretch/breathe 520/900 min
Complete 0/1 water color artPublish 4/10 blog posts

Next, I set three and only three priorities for the week based on a combination of my goals and what’s going on that week. This means that at most I will only be prioritizing three of my above goals in one week. If there’s a special event or holiday that week, one or more of those goals might be bumped so I can prioritize celebrating that event and completing whatever tasks I need to for that event. For example, my priorities this week look like…

Celebrate son’s birthdayPhysical health goalsWrite blog posts

Once I’ve established what my three priorities are for the week, I can break those out into tasks for each day of the week. I like the below structure for each day…

Monday, February 15, 2021
TODAY Things to remember about today that I don’t necessarily have to take action on (like “Daycare closed”)DUE Task (if any) that are DUE today.
Inspirational quote, mantras, affirmations, etc
[ ] Task from “Due” if there is one
[ ] Task related to weekly priority
[ ] Task related to weekly priority
Appointments, events, or tasks that need to happen during a particular time frame. Seeing this helps me scale back my to-do list if I have a lot scheduled for the day.
9a-5p Work
[ ] Task that would be nice to do but is decidedly NOT a priority so don’t beat myself up if it’s not done
[ ] Plan tomorrow
Daily gratitude.
Acknowledgment of something I did well today. No matter how small.

I’ve been using this format for all of February so far and I’m just loving how it’s organized. I’m keeping myself limited and focused and am practicing not beating myself up whenever there are incomplete tasks at the end of the day. I’m only prioritizing three things for the day and anything else I accomplish is just icing on the cake.

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