At first, I didn’t understand the reason for using multiple planners. It sounds a little bit crazy and even overwhelming. However, do not let that stop you. After reading all that I am sharing, you will understand exactly how to use multiple planners.
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What to use multiple planners for?
Using multiple planners can be the solution when one planner is no longer helping you manage your life.
The benefit of using more than one planner is that it gives you space to manage and focus on each topic in-depth.
Some of the things that you can track are:
- meal planning
Plus, anything else that is important to you.
For a while, this planning design helped me tremendously but I was still not happy.
Some of the planner categories would fit perfectly while others such as kids and home management would take more space. Because of that, some details were illegible or completely left out.
That wasn’t helpful.
The idea of using multiple planners is to combine different planners to create the best planner for you. In other words, you are using two or more planners without carrying all the planners at once. This system is frequently achieved by using a discbound planner.
Discbound planners are great because they allow you to add, remove, and/or rearrange pages at any time. This makes it easier to customize your planner, as well as write at the bottom or corner of the pages.
In addition to the discbounds, you can use binders, a few individual planners, or a combination of both. I mostly use discbounds because it is a lot easier to make changes to the planner without having to buy everything again. You can also make your planner bigger or smaller just by switching the discs.
Using a multiple-planner system allows you to create different sections within your planner. Then, each section can be used to track an area of your life. Something that I will show you shortly.
How should I start using two or more planners?
The easiest way to start a multiple-planner system is by using an extra planner that you already have but have not used yet. At this point, it doesn’t matter if it is expired. You can still customize it to make it work for you.
Step #1 – Identify the sections to track
The purpose of a planner is to help you manage your life. Identify which areas of your life you want to track and monitor closely.
Now, make a list of those areas to include in your planner. If you are not sure where to start, use your current planner as a reference. That’s the fastest way to see what you are currently focusing on. Make sure to add any other category that you would like to start tracking to your list too.
Then, look at each category and decide if it is big enough to track it by itself or if you need to combine it with others.
For example, let’s say that you want to track the following categories:
After comparing the categories between each other, you may determine that “family” is a big category. Let’s say that under it, you want to track:
- school events for each of your kids
- extracurricular activities
- family activities
- vacation plans
- play dates
In this case, you may want to keep the family category by itself. But then, you could combine the “cleaning” and “cooking” categories since they are both related to “Home”.
Look at your list and decide which categories can be combined and which ones need their own section. Try keeping your final categories broad enough to avoid changing them regularly. I would name them something like home, work, and school.
Step #2 – Determine how to track the information
In the previous step, you created a list of sections to add to your planner. Now, you need to visualize the best way to organize the information within each section.
You have your sections and the categories to be included in each section. The next step is to decide what information or details you want to track under each category.
Let’s say that you came up with the following list to track under your Family section:
- Kid # 1’s school and extracurricular activities
- Kid # 2’s school and extracurricular activities
- Kid # 3’s school and extracurricular activities
- Meal planning
- Cleaning schedule
Think of what type of layout would make sense for your section. Do you need columns and rows, space to write notes, lists, or different mini sections within the page?
I like to grab a piece of paper and kind of sketch the best way to organize the information.
Continuing with the example above, I would prefer to have columns and rows (table style) to keep the sub-categories separated.
Having a clear picture increases the chances for your planner to be functional.
Step #3 – Get the extra planner
As I suggested earlier, if you have an extra planner around the house, use that one.
The reason is that as soon as you start using the multiple-planners system, you will be able to see what works and doesn’t work.
I purposely left buying a planner as the last step.
There are so many planners available out there that many people make the mistake of buying a
planner based on how cute it looks first. You need to focus on your needs first (steps 1 and 2) and then, choose a pretty planner.
Knowing your sections and the information needed within each section, help you choose the best layout to match your needs.
The most common planner layouts are:
In addition to that, you may have more options within each layout. For example, the weekly vertical layout may have additional options such as hourly, lined, boxes, and blocks.
Even if they are the same layout, a specific option may work better for you than the others. Most of my planners are weekly layouts but have the “blocks” design because they are perfect for my home and personal sections.
I will let you know how I use and organize my planners to give you an idea of what you can do.
How to organize multiple planners?
At this point, you should know how many sections you need inside your planner. Now, organize them in a way that makes sense for you including the order of the sections and their ease of access.
There are different ways to organize multiple planners. You can choose one method or a combination of them as I do:
One main planner
The purpose is to keep most, if not all, of your planners in one main planner. Of course, the fewer planners you have, the easier it will be to do so.
As you can imagine, putting several planners together will make your planner way too big and even difficult to use. Instead, you can “build your main planner” by only adding the current month pages from each planner.
In other words, your planners for the sections will feed your main planner. At the end of each month, you switch the pages for the new month.
For example, if today is April 30, you remove from your main planner all the pages for April and put them back to their original planner. Then, get the pages for May from all the planners and place them in your main planner. Now, you have your planner ready for May!
In my case, I like to keep two months for every section in my planner. Adding the following month allows me to start planning for that month without delay. You can do the same or just keep a notes page where you can write the information for upcoming months (e.g. future appointments) and add them later on.
Two different planners
Instead of having one main planner as mentioned above, you can separate your sections into two different groups.
For example, you could have a personal planner that includes sections like family, school, gratitude, wellness, and appointments. Plus, a home management planner for things like groceries, meal planning, cleaning, bills, and projects.
Then, consider either carrying both planners or keeping the home management planner at home.
Use single planners
As I mentioned before, you have the option of using each planner individually (single) instead of combining them into one main planner.
It is easier to handle different planners when they are combined into one or two main planners.
However, there are several reasons for adding single planners to your multiple-planner system.
Reason #1: Preference
You may want to keep using a planner that has worked for you.
I have an hourly planner that I keep separate from my main planner. I use that planner to plan my days and stay on top of things. It is easier for me to create the “daily plan” there while reviewing each section.
After all, it is better to continue using a planner that has already helped you than pushing yourself into a new one just because.
Reason #2: Not used often
It’s normal to access some sections more often than others. Because of that, you can use a single planner for a section that is still important but that you do not check frequently.
For example, I have a single planner to track the bills. I usually access it either once or twice per month. To me, it does not make sense to carry those extra pages around. Instead, it stays on my desk until I need it to pay the bills or as a reference.
Reason #3: Easier to carry
You can use as many single planners as you prefer. However, I do not suggest having too many if you are carrying all of them around.
As I mentioned earlier, I use an hourly planner to plan my days. It is like a summary of all the planners and tells me when I have to be doing what.
You can have that planner too without carrying the combined planners as I do. The plus side is that it is easier to carry around. On the other hand, this means not having the specific details from other planners handy.
3 Additional tips to organize your multiple planners
At first, it may seem challenging to organize the pages from multiple planners. I tried different things and here are my suggestions:
Put your sections in order
Organize the sections based on how often you would access them. Save yourself some time by putting the sections that you use most often in the front.
Use planner covers as dividers
Many planners come with cute covers that you can add at the beginning of each section. It makes it easier to see where each section starts and ends. You can also get extra covers if you prefer.
Place a planner dashboard in each section. If placed correctly, a dashboard takes you straight to the correct page. It is like having a bookmark for each section. Also, dashboards usually have tabs at the top. You can create labels to find your sections faster.
A multiple-planner system adds more pages to your planner. That’s something to keep in mind when choosing the discs. Because there are many cute discs available, but the metal expander discs are the best to hold those extra pages.
How do I use multiple Happy Planners?
Having different planners sounds crazy but it has helped me keep things a lot more organized. I decided to switch to a multiple-planner system after adjusting a daily lined planner many times. Having a plain planner gave me the flexibility of adjusting the layout based on my needs. It worked for a while until it just was not helpful anymore.
That’s when I decided to add more planners!
I am currently using four separate happy planners:
The teacher’s edition planner is perfect for virtual learning or homeschooling. That is how I track my daughter’s lessons, daily work, and events.
I absolutely love it and it has been super helpful.
Its block design makes it easier to organize the planner by subject and there is still room to add additional information.
It is a great solution to avoid paying your bills late. I tried a regular notebook and a journal specifically for money management, but keeping a discbound planner is what has worked perfectly.
The only thing that I would change is the size. It is not a big deal but I would prefer a big planner where I can add the bill right to the month (without folding them), instead of putting the envelopes inside the pocket folders.
The hourly planner is perfect for time blocking. It works similar to an appointment book at the doctor’s office where they block time to see each patient.
My main planner is a combination of multiple planners that includes the following sections:
It is a mix of family and home. It includes my kids’ school activities, appointments and events, cleaning, decluttering tasks, and any other home-related task.
- Personal (blocks layout) –
This is like a wellness planner where I track my food intake, total steps, vitamins, and the number of water bottles I drank. I also have space for daily gratitude and health.
- Income (dashboard layout) –
This is the same as the work category. It’s just that income sounds more motivating 🙂 Basically, it has the daily tasks related to the blog and shop.
- Social Media (vertical layout) –
This section is there to help me solve several problems.
I want to plan out content better, keep the information more organized (so I can refer to it later), and be more consistent with my posts.
After following the steps discussed earlier, I chose the vertical layout.
- Reading (horizontal layout)
I love reading non-fiction books and taking notes. And, the horizontal layout gives you more space to keep your summaries. But, sometimes I use the vertical too.
This is the only planner that I do not use to plan. Therefore, I cover the dates because I am only focused on personal growth and reading more books per year.
I like keeping it in my main planner because I can keep reading in the car while waiting to pick up my kids or for a store to open.
Now that you know how to use multiple planners to organize your life, it’s time to put everything into practice.
The action steps below give you a quick summary of what was covered in this article. Use it as a reference or as a guideline to stay on track.