2021 Planner Plans

I’ve found the systems that work for me! Dare I say that I’ve reached planner peace?

Here’s a look at the planners and notebooks I’m using in 2021:

Personal Planner – I’m sticking with my personal size ringed planner (I’m currently using a Gillio Firenze Medium Compagna in the color Croco Eye Purple). You can check out my setup video HERE, and learn about my archiving system HERE.

Work Planner – I’m going to continue using a half letter size disc bound planner. I’ve been using this system for two years!

It’s a pretty simple setup. I use 3/4 inch discs and make my own cover and page finders. Here are my sections:

  • 2021 – yearly overview calendar, fold out year calendar for tracking projects (both from Peanuts Planner Co (PPCO)
  • Weekly – Week on two pages from PPCO. Record important due dates, PTO time for me and my employees, plan weekly priorities, track ongoing issues until resolved. Daily task tracker. Use Outlook for all my email, meetings, and tasks.
  • Tasks – Task breakdown for each project I’m working on. I use PPCO checklist pages.
  • Notes – Random notes and scribbles, references info. Inserts are Arc notes pages. I mostly use OneNote on my computer for this.
  • Projects – Quick project reference info. I mostly use OneNote for this, but keep an analog copy here for when I’m traveling or away from my computer.

Work Notebooks – I’ll keep my current system for 2021. I use an A5 size spiral notebook for all of my meeting notes and scribbles. I’m usually talking and sharing my screen in meetings, so I find it easier to write notes than type them up while on a call. I also use OneNote for meeting notes. Anything in my paper notes that I need to reference later will get duplicated in OneNote. I will retype them, which helps reorganize and clarify notes, and then I can share them out to meetings participants.

I use an A6 spiral notebook to write out the specific tasks I want to focus on for the day. I use Outlook tasks to manage my full task list. I use Michael Linenberger’s Manage Your Workday Now (MYN) System. I love this system, it’s really helped me stay on top of my ever growing task list at work. I’ve been using it for at least 5 years.

Diaries and Journals – 2021 will be my twelfth year writing in a daily diary! I’m using a Levenger 5 year journal.

I have quite the collection of Moleskine notebooks. I like to collect the limited edition notebooks. Right now I’m using a Large hard cover ruled notebook in navy blue. It has the words ‘Dolce Vita’ on the front cover. I had it engraved at the Moleskine store when I was in Florence, Italy. It means Sweet Life. I mostly use this for my deep thinking and journaling. Sometimes I add quotes. I’m on journal #29.

This year I really wanted to get back to travelers notebooks (TNs), I was miss using them so much. I decided a TN would be the perfect place to write out my weekly review. I was previously doing this in my journal, but thought it would be nice to have them all together. So far I’m loving it.

What are your planner plans for 2021?

Planner Archives

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.

Why I love Project Life

As I’m starting to think about the creative projects I want to work on next year, I can’t help but reflect on Project Life and how much it really does enrich my life, and that’s why I’m going to continue doing this project. Here are the reasons I love Project Life:

I love that it captures my life in a realistic way. Documenting weekly allows me to capture not only the big moments, but the small moments of everyday life; the really happy moments, the challenging times, and everything in between.

I love that it gives me a place to tell my stories in a visual and creative way – an art journal of sorts. It houses my words, photos, and ephemera all together in one book, giving richer context to the story than a photo album or writing journal alone.

I love that it helps me to remember my life. To reflect on and relive moments. To see my progress over time. To see story threads weave in and out of my life at different times.

I love that it gives me things to look forward to, because I like to plan fun things to do “for the book” and be on the lookout for things to put “in the book”. I’ll even step outside my comfort zone and try new things “for the book”. It’s all about “the book!

I love that it can be a place to capture other people’s words and photos too. I like to include notes, cards, text messages, Social media posts and the like from my family and friends. I especially love to include their handwriting or drawings.

I also love the community of like minded storytellers out there. I’ve gotten to meet a few of them in real life over the last year or so. They just get me!

Last, but certainly not least, I love the products! I love buying them and figuring out creative ways to use them in “the book”.

October Daily Foundation Pages

I’ve had so much fun over the past few weeks putting together some foundation pages for my October Daily album. These pages give me a place to start so I’m not staring at a blank page on October first and wondering where to begin.

This year I’m creating a 4×4 inch mini album. I just loved this size last year. It ends up being the perfect chunky little album to hold in your hands and flip through.

I like lots of variety of sizes and textures in my albums. I create pages inside and outside the page protectors, I do a lot of messy stitching to give texture, and I love creating pockets because they have lots of tuck spots.

Check out my video below for more fun page ideas!

~ Tonya

October Daily Prep

I can’t believe it’s time to start thinking about Halloween and October Daily again!

This week I started prepping for October Daily by going through all of my Halloween supplies, and setting up my craft station.

Paper, Stamps, Stickers, Metal Dies, etc.
Embellishment Tray

I’ve also been purchasing new Halloween goodies, even though I have more supplies than one girl needs, I find it gets me excited about the project and brings out my creativity.

This month I’m going to focus on putting together some foundation pages. I like to make my really crafty pages ahead of time when I’m not burnt out on the project. Then I can just fill in the details when I get to that day.

I’ll be using a 4×4 album again. I loved this size last year!

I’ve also started thinking about different things I want to document. It’s going to be strange this year because of the pandemic, so I’m brainstorming ways I can make this season special, in spite of the circumstances.

Below I’m sharing a video walk through of my October Daily kit.

October Daily Prep Tips:

  • Take inventory of your supplies, donate those you know you won’t use, and purchase any new supplies you need/want. Don’t forget the basics like tape runner refills!
  • Brainstorm some ideas for things you want to do and document in your album. Schedule any activities you want to do during October.
  • Decide what size album you want to use, have fun with your supplies and put together some foundation pages.

~ Tonya

Week In The Life 2020

This year I participated in Ali Edwards Week In the Life (WITL) project. For this project you take a deep dive look into your life for one week.

WITL Title Page

My Reason Why

Reason Why Page

My main purpose for completing the project this year was to capture the little things about my life in this moment in time. Looking back through my old scrapbooks, I don’t have an overall feel for my day-to-day life, I mostly just documented the big events. I wish I could remember things like my daily routine, what I was listening to or reading, what kinds of products I was using. Those little details slip away over time.

Documenting The Week

Focus on Photography

Setting up for photos from different angles

I love photography, I decided to use the week to get out my big camera to take a lot of the photos, and I also wanted to try to take photos from different angles than normal (a birds eye view, from on the ground, from behind me – I even put my camera inside the fridge and took a picture of me reaching in). I used ladders, various tripods, self-timer shots, remote shots, and also used my Apple Watch as a remote. I really enjoyed the process.

Focus on the Words

To document each day, I used an app called Day One, which is an online journal that syncs across all your devices. It was a rough start at first, but I finally got the hang of it around Wednesday, when I used the prompt Facts & Feelings. I would open up the app throughout the day and write the details of what I was doing, and then I would also write my feelings. Including facts and feelings gave my journaling a more complete picture. When it came time to put my album together, it was easy to do the journaling because it was already written.

Putting the Album Together

3×8 Album

I decided to use a 3×8 Album, which was a little daunting since most of the products in Ali’s WITL kit were made to fit in a 6×8 album. I wasn’t sure how I was going to fit it all in. I managed, but it’s a really tight squeeze!

I used the 3×8 album that came out with Ali’s Day In the Life (DIL) Kit 2020. To complete the album, I mostly used products from the DIL kit, as well as the WITL kit.

Sketch Layout of the Album

The first thing I did after the documenting week was over, was to put together a sketch which helped me see which photos I needed to print. Then I printed out all of the photos. I sent off most of the photos to Persnickety Prints.

Acetate Divider Page
Day of the Week Side Tabs

Each day starts with an acetate divider. I used the ones from the DIL kit. I cut off the day of the week on the top of the divider. I created my own side tabs by using an Avery index tab, and adding the white plastic day of the week words that came with the kit. I had to trim them slightly to fit inside the label tabs.

The divider includes the day of the week, and the date on a circle. I purchased these as a digital element, and printed them out on sticker paper. I put one on the front and one on the back of the divider.

I also included icons from the kit that corresponded to the topic I was going to focus on for that day (e.g. Monday I took a deep dive look into what we’re doing for work right now, so I included a computer and email icon on the divider).

Date Tags

Behind the daily divider, I created a tag by cutting down the day of the week 4×6 cards from the kit to a 3×6 size. I repeat stamped the date in a messy pattern using a large rolling date stamp from Studio Calico.

On the back of the tag, I wanted to include a schedule of my day. I thought it was the perfect place to include a scanned page from my daily planner. After scanning my planner page, I brought it into Photoshop Elements, and sized it down to 3×6 size and printed it out. I adhered it to the back of the date stamped tag.

Since I had to cut off the bottom of the 4×6 card, I lost some of the colored pattern that was on the bottom, and I really wanted to use it. So I used it on the back of the tag, along the top and bottom of the planner page. It added a nice touch of color.

Then I finished off the tag with some black and white bakers twine.

I used a 6×8 divided page that had a 3×8 pocket and a 3×2 pocket. I slipped the tag into the larger pocket. for the smaller pocket, I glued in plastic numbers related to the date (e.g. 11 for May 11th).

Journaling Day of the Week Die Cut

After the date tag page, I added photos from the day, and my journaling for the day. I used a day of the week die cut from a Feed Your Craft kit.

Each day I focused on a specific topic of our lives, which I chose based on the “-ing” cards from the DIL kit.

  • Monday – Working
  • Tuesday – Eating
  • Wednesday – Wearing
  • Thursday – Listening
  • Friday – Watching
  • Saturday – Going
  • Sunday – Loving

I picked my favorite photo of the day and made it into a full page photo that was outside the page protector. I backed the front and back of the full photo with large 4×8 photos.


You can see a walkthrough of the vide here.


Take photos from different angles. Use self-timers or remotes to get yourself in the picture.

Write your journaling throughout the day – don’t forget to include facts and feelings.

If you don’t want to (or can’t) include an original item in your album, scan it or take a photo to include in the album

Don’t be afraid to use an album that’s a different size than what’s intended for the kit. Get creative and cut up journaling cards and elements to meet your needs. You can also alter page protectors to meet your needs. For this kit, I took a 6×8 page protector and folded it in half to create a 3×8 page protector that flips out. It’s your album – have fun with it!

6×8 Flip out

~ Tonya

Crafty Project Goals

I’ve been keeping busy working on crafty projects (plus eating and shopping way too much) during this COVID pandemic. I hope you’re staying well.

I have a real ambitious list of projects to work on through the rest of this year:

2019 Project Life Volume 2 – I finished the album, but still need to film the flip through and post to YouTube.0403cb67-372f-4594-aef3-14da20f48afd

2019 One Little Word Album – I finished the album and filmed a flip through, it just needs some editing and I can post it.0b98ecb4-74f4-4496-9f2d-7c425e873a96

2020 Project Life Volume 1 – I’ve fallen behind, but intend to finish the album, film, and post a flip through this quarter.

2020 Project Life Volume 2 – I’ll work on this as much as I can, but don’t plan on finishing this one until next year.PL 2020

2020 One Little Word – I am way behind on this one, but it’s pretty easy to catch up. I’ll finish it by early next year.

Week In The Life 2020 – I am almost finished with the album. I have a little bit of journaling left to do and some embellishments. Then I’ll film a walkthrough for YouTube. It will be done in the next few weeks!OLW WITL 2020

2020 October Daily – I’m so excited to do another OD album again this year. I’m anxiously awaiting all the Halloween product releases.

2020 December Daily – Yes, I’m going to do a DD album this year. I’m going to do as much as I can during December and finish it up early next year. Right now I’m thinking of doing a 4×4 size.

Album Labels – I recently pulled all of my old scrapbooks and photo albums out of storage and into an shelving Unit. I bought new albums for them and need to finish labeling them. I love, love, love having all of my albums together and being able to flip through them whenever I want.Album Labels

Pocket Letters – This year I’ve been doing a pocket letter swap with my sister each month, so I’ll continue with this fun project too.Pocket Letter

Whew, that’s a lot, but I know I can do it!

What’s on your crafty to do this? Do you set crafty goals for yourself?


Ali Edwards Story Camp

I’m at the airport heading home from Ali Edwards Story Camp

and wanted to document my feelings and lessons learned from the event while they’re still fresh on my mind, so here goes…

I’m a fan girl of Ali, so it was a little intimidating coming to one of her events, especially not knowing anyone else. Luckily I’m not afraid to travel by myself, so it was more social anxiety than anything else. I’m an introvert who likes a lot of alone time to recharge my batteries, and I’m quiet at first in social situations. I like to hang back and observe the situation and the people before I open up. I guess that means I don’t just let anyone “in” to my circle of friends, I am deliberate about who I choose! One camper told me that just means it’s an honor to those I let in, like an exclusive club. I like looking at it that way instead of looking at it like I’m shy and don’t make friends easily. It’s more that I don’t need a lot of friends. I’m happy by myself.

Ali said that when she goes to events she usually has one thing that stands out to her more than anything else, so we should be looking for that one thing to take away.

There were a couple of lessons I’m taking away from camp. First, I like the concept that I’m writing a story, literally, and I’m the main character in the story. All the people in my life are supporting characters. I’ve started a “me” album, and I think it would be fun to think of each year of my life like a chapter. Since I’m 45 now, I’m currently in Chapter 45 of my story. I’m going to document a story about me/my life for each one of the story kits that come out.

The second goes along with the first and that is even though I don’t have a lot of control over things that happen in my life, I do have 100% control over how I choose to react, the way that I view what happens, and the words that I tell myself are important. I’m going to choose to look at things in a positive way. If something bad happens, I’m going to try to find the silver lining and focus on that. I’m going to pay attention to the words I’m telling myself. I know that I’m very critical of myself – my inner critic is mean! I’m going to tell her to calm down and be nice. This will be part of my journey with my word, THRIVE, this year.

Another concept I liked was figuring out why it’s import to you to document your story. For me, it’s really an innate thing, something I really feel compelled to do. I don’t have kids, I don’t plan on passing my albums on to anyone else, and I don’t really care if they get thrown in the trash someday. It’s the process that I love. It’s a way to relieve stress and be creative. Ali shared a few of her reasons that I also identify with; I document to remember, to process the events in my life and my feelings about them, for proof that I lived, to see the myself reflected back at me through the lens of the camera (how others see me, what I really look like when I smile, etc.)

The photography workshop was also excellent, it wasn’t a technical workshop, but more about composition – taking photos from different angles, close up, far away, including lines. My favorite tip was that you should include yourself in the photos too. Selfies don’t always have to be straight on, and the camera timer is a great way to include yourself in the photo!

I’m sure as I go back and read the handouts and review my notes, I’ll remember even more gems from the workshops.

One of the best parts of the event was meeting other people who are into memory keeping as much as me. I found my people! Meeting Ali was definitely a highlight!

Five Year Diary

I just completed my 5 year diary for the years 2015 – 2019. Another 5 years of my life gone! There were chunks of time where I didn’t write, simply because what was recorded in the earlier year was too difficult to read – like when my dog Abbie got sick and passed away. I also lost my dog Cassie, who had been with me and my husband since just after we got married, my father-in-law lost his battle with dementia and COPD and passed away during this time.

I celebrated 18 years of marriage! I really can’t believe it’s been that long – but the evidence is there day by day in my diary.

In the past five years I’ve seen the biggest advances in my career. First getting promoted to a manager and then a director. It took (and still takes) so many days of sacrifice and hard work.

I’ve traveled quite a bit – Europe (Croatia, Italy, Spain, France, Malta), Puerto Rico, Alaska, Washington (Seattle), Texas (Dallas), and lots of little trips around AZ, CA, UT, NV, and NM.

The story of my open heart surgery and recovery; the ongoing saga of my health journey, are captured within the pages of this diary.

This book is filled with my life! I love that I can see threads of bigger stories of my life, as well as the everyday mundane moments. Here’s to the next 5 years! 🥂

~ Tonya