I’m a big believer in using a variety of tools to create the planner that works for you. I’m not opposed to thinking outside the planner book when it comes to creating the right system either. I have to admit, though, creating the right planning system for myself has been a lot of trial and error. I’ve been struggling to figure out how to blend planning my days with tracking all the stuff I need for work, and it just hasn’t been working out well for me. It finally dawned on me that maybe what I needed was a separate planner for work stuff, and my blog planner printables are a result of thought.
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After a few years of trying (and failing) to create a planning system for managing the blog, I decided that it might be a good idea to give someone else system a try. So, late last year I purchased the Blog Success Planner from the Inspired Blogger’s University. In the weeks leading up to the launch of her planner, Tabitha was showcasing each section in live videos on Periscope, explaining what they were, how to use them, and why she created them the way she did. I fell in love with her system and purchased it as soon as she opened it up for sale. I can honestly say that I have not regretted that choice.
That planner is full of so many fantastic printables for planning all aspects of blogging and life business. (I still use it every day.) But something was still missing – some piece of the planning puzzle was alluding me. I tried a variety of different things:
- Using a full-size planner.
- Switching to a daily planner rather than a weekly.
- Trying to use a variety of checklists and schedules.
And various combinations of all of the above. Finally, and rather accidentally, I realized that what I needed was a separate planner dedicated solely to planning out my work days. I already use a variety of different planners for different things, adding one more into the mix wasn’t hard. And best of all, I’m finding that having a planner that is just for blog/business is helping me to focus solely on those items when I’m in work mode.
Blog Planner Printables
I’ve spent months working on getting the blog planner printables just right. I wanted something that would allow me to plan my work time, keep track of my goals, help me stay on task, and allow me to look back and assess what was and wasn’t working. Below you’ll find the printables for the monthly and weekly planning sections. I have a few more sections in my planner, but they’re still in need of tweaking.
Monthly Planning Section
To start with, I created six undated and unlabeled monthly calendars. I did this because I wanted to keep them flexible. For now, I’m using them to mark deadlines and help plan out my content, but down the road, I might want to use them to create recurring monthly schedules, or social media planning, or something I haven’t even thought of. Without any dates or labels, they can easily be customized for whatever they need to be.
To meet my other criteria I created a two-page monthly planner as well. The first page is for planning the current month. It includes room for:
- choosing your top three priorities for the month
- goals or the month, or the steps you’re working on for your long-term goals.
- to-do list
- space for posts scheduled
- ideas for things to share
- a place to note any special dates that month
I tried really hard to make these blog planner printables a little more flexible and a little less blogging specific, so that even if you don’t have a blog, you can still get some use out of them if you’d like to use them.
The second page is a monthly recap. I really wanted to incorporate a way to reflect on how the month went and maybe even be able to make improvements or adjustments for the following month. This page includes:
- a section for jotting down wins and losses when it comes to reaching goals. I think it’s important to acknowledge both so that we can make adjustments as needed.
- a place to record social media and other stats for the month
- top posts (the ones that got the most views, or maybe the ones that sparked the best conversation, it’s totally open to interpretation)
- top referrers
- a space to jot down ideas or notes for the following month
When I printed mine out, I printed out the monthly planner onto the back of the blank calendars so that I can plan, turn the page, note things down on the calendar and at the end of the month, I can fill out the recap and plan the next month all at the same time.
Weekly Planning Section
The weekly planning section is the one that took the longest time to tweak. I tried a variety of different layouts and different combinations. I toyed with using different sections in my planner for different things, but then I realized that sort of defeated the purpose of what I was in need of. I wanted something like the monthly planning section. One spot to keep track of a variety of things on a weekly basis. I needed a system that would work for me, not the other way around. In the end, I had to take my own advice:
Sometimes you need to think outside the normal box to find the right solution for you!
And that’s exactly what I did. Instead of a typical week on a page, or week on two pages, I ended up with a week on four pages.
- writing down weekly goals
- top three tasks for the week
- space for notes
- habit trackers – to help work on building new work habits if needed
Then there are the weekdays. Each day is divided into three sections.
- Schedule/To-Do – mini checklist for top three daily work tasks and room to jot down plans for the day.
- Social Media – a space to plan or keep track of what you’re posting to social media. It could even be used for keeping track of any updates you need to make to you various platforms.
- Daily Log – a space to make note of anything that happened that day. I use this space primarily for keeping track of updates I’ve done to the website, posts or pages I’ve updated, as well as anything else of importance that I don’t want to forget. I find this incredibly helpful for so many different things.
The third page contains the weekend days, in the same layout as the rest of the week, along with a weekly recap section. This section includes a space to record wins and losses when it comes to your weekly goals, a place to record your stats for the week, tops posts, top referrers, and a place for notes.
The fourth page is mostly just a notes section, with an added column for planning the upcoming week. The checklist is a great place to jot down things that come up during the current week so you don’t forget to plan for them. There is also a place to jot down upcoming posts, things to share and make note of special dates to remember for the coming week.
Despite it being a little odd have my week spread out over four pages, I’m finding that I really like this setup. The columns allow enough room to comfortably write things in, and having my goals and to-dos as part of the weekly planner helps me stay on track. For me, it works much better than having to flip to a different section in my planner to check in on my goals. Having my planner set up to work in a way that works for me has been so nice.
Printing, Cutting, and Binding Help
I’m sure some of you looked at the printables and immediately noticed that the pages are laid out in a kind of backward way. There is a very good reason for this – I wanted to capitalize on writing space. To make sure there was enough room to properly hole punch or bind them I needed to switch which side the planner pages were on. Here’s what you do.
- print as normal (you don’t even need to adjust your printer’s margins for these ones)
- cut in half like normal
- punch the uncut edge
- put the pages together like normal
Having a planner dedicated just for my work time is proving to be a real help. It allows me to plan for the various different parts of my work and helps keep me on track with my goals, and to me, that is a huge help!
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you run a blog or a business? Will these be helpful for you? What else do you need or look for in a work planner? Drop me a line in the comments below and let me know!