How to deal with recurring tasks in your planner
There’s lots of pro’s to being an analogue planner.
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No reliance on technology or screens, something written down is committed to memory better than something typed, etc. However, one potential downside to analogue is when the same things crop up week in, week out. What happens if you don’t want to be writing the same things every single week?
The most common repeated things are regular tasks or habits. Replying to emails or social media posting may be an every day occurrence for you. There’s also things that will be regularly planned each week such as meals. If you were to write these out every week in your planner not only would it take a while, but you’d probably use up way more space than a consolidated approach.
There’s a few different things you can do to get over this potential time waste. Below I cover the main ones that I’ve either used or seen in my planning years.
These are ideal for regular habits or tasks and I’ve been making these in various forms over the past four years now. They’re perfect for both home and work planners if you have set things you need to do each day.The sidebar of the Hobonichi Cousin is perfect for such a sticker. In the bottom left of this spread you’ll see my social media tracker. I need to be more consistent with my social media and this little sticker is trying to keep me on track.
I used something similar in my work Filofax a few years ago back when I was a store manager. There were certain things I needed to complete or sign off each day, and a sticker like the above cut down on writing time and also space. Rather than writing each thing in each day, the sticker just lived in the ‘this week’ box.
Meal planning is another thing that’s easy to cut down on the workload with by using stickers. I created these for my Hobonichi to help with that.
While you could argue it doesn’t cut down on huge amounts of writing, it does keep the spread a lot more organised and neat. Whilst on the subject of meal planning, post it notes are particularly handy for this when you tend to eat the same meals regularly.
Here’s my meal planning Weeks. I have all my regular meals written out on post it notes and then when I’m planning the week I just place them on the day I’d like to make that meal.
Full page habit tracker
Keeping again with the habit tracker theme, you may want to take some inspiration from the bullet journal community and create a month long habit tracker for those regular tasks.
You can either dedicate a full page in your planner to something like this. Or, you can incorporate it into your monthly calendar if you have the space.
Utilising the monthly calendar pages for regular tasks and planning is particularly handy if you have the space. It also cuts down on the number of different pages you need to regularly consult. Having a month of meal planning there instead of making space for it in each weekly spread for example, is a great space saver. I also like to utilise those monthly pages to keep on top of any weekly tasks I have, rather than writing them in each weekly spread.
Stamps and stencils
If you’re not a fan of stickers, these are a good alternative. Stamps like these* will allow you to create a habit tracker box where all you need to do is write in the tasks each week. While I couldn’t find any on a quick search on Etsy, I’m sure some of the many stamp makers out there can make custom checklist stamps so you don’t even need to write the tasks each week.
Stencils take a little more work, but you don’t have to mess around with ink pads at least. You’ve also got a lot more flexibility to make the checklists as long or short as you need, such as with this one.*
This is something I’ve seen from Erin Condren, but it can easily be adapted for most planner types. This snap-in dashboard is perfect for those regular things such as meal planning, habits and to do’s.
This is something that could be recreated by creating a dashboard with what you need to regularly see (but don’t wish to write out each week), laminating and then adjusting it to fit into your planner. For something like a Filofax you can just punch holes. For a Hobonichi you could make it like a pencil board.
With this solution though you have to take care with the erasable pen you choose to use. You want something that will stay on the laminated surface and not easily rub off onto the planner pages.
If you don’t want to go the laminated route, I’ve used a combination of journalling cards, post its and stickers to create something similar in the past.
This was used so I that I didn’t have to flick back and forth between my week and my month to see my plans, and for my weekly habits and tasks.
Planning doesn’t have to prevent you from being productive
I love having little workarounds in my weekly planning. As much as enjoy planning I need it to not take away from the time actually completing the tasks. Utilising personalised stickers for habit tracking and keeping anything that spans the month to the monthly pages are my top two time savers when it comes to planning.
How do you deal with regular tasks and plans in your planner? Do you write them out each week, or o you have other ways of dealing with them?