Using a Planner to Plan Out 2019

A year ago, I started out 2018 with more of a sense of purpose than usual. I felt like I needed to find a balance between the big components of my life: family, home, and my business. And I wanted to be more faithful in all the little things of life: exercise, home maintenance, social media, and more. Maybe you're feeling similarly challenged as we head into 2019? 

Reflecting back on the past year, I have to credit my (then) newly acquired planner with helping me stay on track and accomplish big goals through little steps all year long. I cannot recommend this planner enough. (No financial compensation for this endorsement. Just my enthusiasm overflowing!) I use the Erin Condren Hardbound LifePlanner, which you can learn more about by clicking here.

One of the things that sold me on this particular planner (because let's face it, there are gazillion choices out there) is that it's hardbound. I have no desire to tote it about with me, so it wasn't important that it be lightweight. Something about a hardbound book speaks of more permanence than one that is spiral bound. And I loved it that it can lay open on my desk, where I pass by it countless times a day, with its pretty ribbon bookmark and a LePen in the groove of the two-page spread. If I could personally design one, I'd give it a solid color cover, because all those colored lines are not my usual, classic style at all, but the weekly pages are simply nicely colored and I like that.

I recently purchased the 2019 journal, and I thought I'd share how I use it, in case you need some fresh inspiration on planning out your year. I know I love studying how people think about their time and how they organize it.

I will use the simple, lined pages in the back to list out everything I'd like to accomplish in the coming year. I will most likely list them in the most important categories to me: spiritual, diet/exercise, celebrations/holidays, home cleaning/maintenance, garden/yard, business, social media, and so on.

Then I'll use the 12 boxes in the front to plug all those goals into months of the year.

The last Sunday of every month, I plan out the next month. I write down all the appointments, birthdays, commitments, etc. we have on the two-page calendar spread for that month. And I use the column on the side to list all those goals from the corresponding box where I listed my goals (in the above photo).

And every single, Sunday night about 9 p.m., I cozy up on the couch and plan out the next week, so I know exactly what the week's priorities look like before the week begins. It has been incredibly helpful to me to know the direction I'm headed when I wake up on Monday morning AND to have a plan for the month broken into manageable bites. I take all those monthly goals and decide which ones I need to accomplish in the week, and I list those on the side of the weekly page. Then I plug that list into each of the days. 

I particularly love it that this planner has a vertical layout. I use the top of the three daily squares to list everything that needs doing from the time I wake up until noon. The middle square is for to-do's from noon until 5:00 p.m. And the bottom square is everything after 5:00 p.m. And I use the small spot at the bottom of each column to write the dinner menu for the day.

I'd love to hear how you organize your time! Are you setting goals for 2019? 


  1. I have bought an Erin Condren for the previous 6 years. I have loved them. A wild hare came over me this year because I decided to go a cheaper route. I have always used the spiral bound because I have to carry it around with me to keep all my appointments together for family and especially my mom. I can already tell you I am a bit sorry I went with the cheaper brand. It is set up the same way so I am happy with that as I use it almost the exact same way as you. I don't think I am going to like the thinner paper though. The spiral ones were getting pretty pricey. I might go with the one you chose next year as I am pretty sure I will go back to EC. IT has kept me so organized the past few years. I am definitely a fan.
    I love keeping up with the books I have read too in the back. I am always surprised that I read more than I thought.

    1. Yay! Another fan! Kindred spirits, we are! I don't know about you, but something about just dividing the day into thirds like that makes perfect sense to me and just seems to work so well with life. It helps me stay on track like nothing else. And the ability to jot the month goals and week goals on those sidebars is THE BEST way to stay on track.
      And now that you mention it, the paper quality is very nice!

    2. Kate, I ended up knowing I would never survive the other planner. I have used an EC one for 7 years now. IT is just worth the splurge. I have one on the way and can't wait. I too like the way it had the thirds. A long time ago they had the words morning, afternoon, and evening in the colored bars. I just loved it and then she quit putting it there. I think lots didn't like and used it in other ways, but that is the best for me, but I was already trained so all was good. I have learned my lesson. The pens were bleeding through on the new less expensive one.

    3. Oh, good! I'm so glad you're switching back to the one you love. It's hard to suffer out the year with something you really don't like from the get-go.
      I use a gray LePen with my planner. I am normally a black ink girl, but it was too harsh with the gentle colors of the EC planner, so I went with gray, and LOVE it!
      Happy Planning!


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