I started using a ringed planner in 2012 and had to quickly devise a strategy for keeping all of those loose papers organized. I came up with this method for storing and archiving information from my planner, which is based on the Franklin Covey system. I create an archive book and I index the information in Evernote so that I’m easy able to retrieve information from all of my devices.
I’m sure some people are wondering why I bother keeping old planner inserts at all. Here’s why?
- I do it because it’s a detailed record of my life, like a scrapbook or journal, but these pages are more detailed since they capture the timeline of my day, the weather, tasks I was doing, habit trackers, etc.
- I’m also a very tactile person, I love the analog aspect of them, and the ability to thumb through them from time to time.
- Most importantly, I do it because I’ve lost information when it was only digital and I really want to hang on to this info.
Each year I create a new book around October or November for the upcoming year. I cut some scrapbook paper for the front and back cover (to the size of a my planner inserts). I also create dividers with top tabs that match the sections of my planner, using scrapbook paper as well. I punch holes and laminate the cover pages and the dividers and use binder rings to hold them together. [TIP: Punch out the cardstock pages before you laminate them, and then use a Power Punch to easily punch through the covers and dividers again after they’re laminated] I start out using small binder rings, and switch them out for bigger rings as needed when I get more inserts into the archive book.
After the covers and dividers are created, I start putting in my inserts for the upcoming year. Each month, I rotate upcoming pages into my planner, and the older pages Ito my archive book. [TIP: Do not have loose planner pages laying around, put them into rings immediately so nothing gets lost]
What I love most about my archive method is the indexing system. I have an index on my monthly pages that gets filled out at the end of the month (usually it’s more like the end of the quarter, let’s be honest!). I get asked a lot about what kinds of information I put on the index. It’s basically anything you think that you’ll want to refer back to later. As you do this year after year, you’ll get better at knowing what types of information you go back and review. Here’s what I do: I go through all of the planner pages for that month (including monthly, weekly, daily pages, and my notes pages), I go through my journal and diary as well to make sure I capture everything. I look for the following types of info, and will note it on my index:
- Life events (Births, Deaths, Marriages, Divorces, anything else significant – like Baptisms, Coming Out, etc.)
- Health Information (allergies, surgery, illness, diagnosis, doctor appointments)
- Current Events (like the pandemic, election, etc.)
- Work Events (start/end job, raises, bonuses, promotions)
- Purchases (house, cars, electronics)
- Travel / House Guests
- Notes (book notes, phone calls) [TIP: Number your notebook & notebook pages, add the notebook and page number to your index (e.g. 2020.15) so you can quickly find it again. If you take electronic notes, add the note to Evernote, and hyperlink to your index item]
- Financial info (Loans, paid off loans, 401k, stocks)
- Annual information (things we do year after that I will want to compare for example – when was the first 100 degree day this year? What did we do on our Christmas date this year? What did I get for my birthday or Christmas?)
After I gather all of the information and write it in my index, I add it into Evernote. I have a new note for each year that I title with the year number and ‘Important Dates’ and star it as a favorite note. Then I just list out the date(s) and the note from the index (e.g. 1/3/2020 – LASIK eye surgery in both eyes, Dr. name @ location) [TIP: If I you also have scanned papers or other related notes in Evernote, hyperlink your Index item to that note, so you can just click on it and get to the other info.] Evernote Premium will also search text in photos and scanned images, so you could just take a photo of your index page if you want instead of typing it all out. I prefer to type it out because it’s cleaner and easier to read.
I keep all of my archive books in baskets on a shelf in my office. They’re in chronological order, he oldest ones in the back, the newest ones in the front.
I also have a video where I walk through the process and show examples of my index pages.
If you try out this system, please tag me @PrettyLittlePocket on Instagram, I’d love to see your photos!
You can see all of my planner archive photos on Instagram by searching the hashtag #PLPPlannerArchive.
Let me know in the comments below if you have more questions.