Best Laid Plans COVID19 Planners

Day 162: BLP Ep #5 – An All Q&A Episode!

August 24, 2020

It’s Monday and another BLP episode is out! This one is an all Q&A episode, which is the plan for every 4th episode or so.

(This means – please keep the questions coming! Submit them here or through instagram or via email!)


This episode is a potpourri episode as far as topics go, given that it’s a Q&A! But here is a rundown of topics discussed.

1- Can you share a minute by minute description of when you do your planning?

(Short answer – mornings! Plus Friday afternoons for work weekly review tasks & mostly Sundays/Monday mornings for life weekly review.)

this morning’s page setup! took ~5 min to create at 5:30 AM.

2- How do you make planning a habit? Also, can you talk about time blocking?

One way is to think about when you are going to do it . . . and then you PLAN it in. (Yep – I’m suggesting planning your planning. I know, quite meta).

There is also the idea of building in as a routine. IE: always reaching for your planner after your morning coffee or during your 3 pm break at work. Building routines that support you to run on autopilot can be incredibly helpful. This applies to planning the same way it does to things like flossing etc!

My discussion of time blocking is that while I don’t use it all the time (and in fact — with the type of work I do, a lot of my time is blocked FOR me), it helps me in some instances – esp when I need to get pressing tasks done.

3- How do you pick a planner and stick with it?

the beautiful planner I failed to stick with this year

Well. Usually I’m good at this . . . just not in 2020 🙂 I discuss the various planners I have cycled through this year and why this is not typically my pattern. I also give you permission to play with things and change it up if you need to!

4- How do you handle cancellations? How do you keep your pages so neat?

I use a lot of arrows & leave extra space! And, practice. Definitely do not do pencil drafts!

5- How do you coordinate planning with Josh?

These days, this isn’t quite as necessary because there’s just a lot less going on! But usually it’s google calendar & periodic discussions.

6- DEEP DIVE question: Where/How to document the “to dos” that occur at inopportune times like while you’re brushing your teeth? 

Lots of options discussed here (several suggested by you amazing readers via this post!). Highlights:

  • Apple Notes (on phone)
  • Send myself an email
  • Notepad by bed
  • Lists on Trello added via Apple Watch
  • Add to calendar with phone notification
  • Set up Alexa to add tasks to ToDoist
  • Ask person to text you and leave the text unopened until you have time to process
  • Follow the Lisa Woodruff rule of ignoring if it’s something speculative that you won’t really act on within 24 hours


JETPENS VIDEOS!!! So many. And so tempting. Try: 10 Japanese School Supplies You Didn’t Know You Needed or Top Pens of All Time or many MANY others.

Thank you if you have listened. If you are able to leave a quick rating or review (here’s the apple podcasts review page!), I truly appreciate it! Happy MONDAY!

PS: If you are in need of a mid-day pick-me-up, Amanda Rach Lee’s dot journals & washi go on sale today at 11!


  • Reply Gillian August 24, 2020 at 7:24 am

    I struggle to capture tasks too so I love all these ideas. My favorite part of this episode though was when you said “Hey Siri” and my Siri asked how it could help me…Hah!

  • Reply Chelsea August 24, 2020 at 8:04 am

    One other “old school” thing I will do to capture tasks in the moment (that my kids find fascinating and horrifying) is… write things on my hand with a pen. Yup. Just like in middle school.

    • Reply Chelsea August 24, 2020 at 8:05 am

      I will acknowledge that this is not a particularly professional solution :), but it’s fine for random things that come up on a Saturday.

      • Reply Beth @ Parent Lightly August 25, 2020 at 2:23 pm

        I am seriously considering writing my kids’ school login credentials on their hand for the first few days of school. Seems fine right? This is how I remembered my locker combination in middle school after all.

  • Reply Ruth August 24, 2020 at 8:26 am

    Am curious – what does the M – O – R – musical note – W stand for at the top of the page?
    The world of planning is always so satisfying….especially at the start of a new school term 😊

  • Reply Sarah August 24, 2020 at 9:57 pm

    Using small post it flags is the only way I can keep my planner from devolving into messy chaos. I do science research so I’m constantly planning out long term projects where unexpected results at any point will change everything that follows. I plan everything longer than a week using post it flags. Then, part of my weekly review process on Friday is looking at the next week and transferring everything that is certain from post it to pen. I also have certain items that come up repeatedly so I just stick the post its inside the back cover to use again when needed.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns August 25, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    It seems like upholders and questioners are a popular pairing – at least among the upholders I “know” – which is you and Gretchen Rubin! My husband is also a questioner and understanding that has been very good for my marriage as I used to be offended by him asking ‘why?’ when I asked him to do something/said we should work on something.

    I think the easiest way to easily get things into your planner is to have one small enough that it’s easy to always have with us. I will admit that I don’t have many things pop up when my planner isn’t by me so it’s not an issue for me. But I have an A5 Leuchtturm1917 so it easily fits in my purse. Pandemic life has made this easier because I am so rarely outside of our house!! I don’t really put work-related stuff in my bullet journal, though, because I more so rely on Outlook for work. But with our privacy lockdown, I can not export my outlook calendar to google or something like that so work and personal life just need to be very separate – otherwise it would require way more work to capture work stuff in my bullet journal.

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.