Multiple planners? Large and 'pocket' version?

I've switched for the new year to a Junior sized planner for my primary planner - I use it mostly for school, and it fits nicely into the outside pocket of the messenger bag I carry around, so that works out well.

The problem is that I also occasionally would like to carry around something smaller than my messenger bag, without being completely unaware of what my plans and future schedule looks like. So I want something more purse-sized also.

I do have a couple of compact-sized options (a compact Circa and a filofax personal binder) that are reasonable when it comes to size, but I'm just wondering about the best system to keep them up to date.

Does anyone else do this? Have a 'master' and then a smaller planner also? How do you manage keeping the 'pocket' planner in sync with the master?

I'm wondering about maybe tucking a couple of the compact sized pages into my larger planner in a pocket or something, and then as I make changes to the master planner I can note them down on the note page also, to be transferred at a later date?

I envision the 'pocket' planner having mainly the following:

Monthly schedule
Basic/brief to do list - I can refer to the master planner for details
Shopping lists/forms (including a section for relevant information about creative project I have planned - I knit, and so I want to have handy a short list of what I need for the projects I have on my to-do list, so if I find myself in a yarn store unexpectedly, I know how much and what kind of yarn I need, that sort of thing.)
Contact/business card section (new information to be transferred to the master planner also)

That way if I'm out and run into someone or an opportunity presents itself, I have access right away to my overall schedule and don't have to put things off or get in touch later for scheduling.


(ETA: Most obvious would be just to use the compact sized one all the time, but I found last term that it's really too small for me to use it comfortably for a lot of things, so I'd end up writing on random pieces of paper and cramming them in. The Junior size is a lot more comfortable in that regard, so I'd prefer to stick with it as my 'master' planner.)

Syndicate content

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Multiple planners

Yes, I do use two planners. However, instead of Junior + Compact as envisaged by you, mine is a combination of Junior + Letter- however, irrespective of the sizes, the principle behind that is the same as what you are contemplating.

In my Junior size planner (=your Compact), I keep the following:
- Monthly calendar
- Shopping lists
- Daily to-do
- Weekly to- do (which sometimes I move to my Lettersize planner)
- Activity Inventory (which is an inbox for recording any new tasks, goals, projects that crop up until I do a weekly review and shift these items to my Letter size planner)
[The rest of the planner is Notes so that I do not have to carry a separate notepad when am out for meetings etc, which was my reason for having two planners, as otherwise the junior size would get too heavy and cramped with planner related info.]

I use Levenger Circa, which makes it easier to interchange sheets between the Junior and Letter size, and hence would recommend that, though a pocket would work too.

In my Lettersize planner (=your Junior planner), I keep the following:
- Weekly to do
- List of all projects, tasks, etc categorized by context Work, Home, Personal, Errands, Finance (as incorporated on a weekly basis after viewing the Activity Inventory)
- Tentative Next Action lists for my projects (this will make sense if you follow GTD)
- Calendar sheets for the remaining months
- Goal tracker
- Important Information
- Contacts
- Weekly Menu
- Weekly Chores etc
Various other information, plans, etc, which vary over a period of time depending on what goal-setting/ planning mechanism I am following.

The weekly review process that I follow is important for syncing both. In this review, basically, I review the inbox/ Activity Inventory and incorporate the items in the category-wise project list. If you do not want to take the hassle of re-recording the items by category, you can just shift the Inventory to your master planner on a weekly basis. I then mark the important and must-do items for the coming week by *** and keep reducing the *s for the lower priority items. A low priority item becomes of higher priority for a subsequent week simply by adding a * and hence is least messy. Then I record the triple * items in my weekly to- do sheet( this can be kept either in the master planner or the other one. If you do a daily to do list, then this can be kept in the master planner and you just need to refer to this weekly list at the end of the day and plan the next day on your Daily to do which you keep in your Compact i.e. my Junior) Hope I have managed to communicate bits of that clearly at least.


I also keep double (triple?!) planners

I empathize with your situation of double books. I use a larger planner for the office, a pocket planner in my purse and then Google calendar online that syncs the iPad, iPod, and the smartphone. I am paranoid about missing some appointment. I work out of town and my daily schedule is always in flux so things change rapidly. To manage this, I put items on the office calendar or the smartphone when I am out of the office. Then I remember to make sure all is aligned when I return to the office. I know this is a pain but after all these years, I need print!

I have tried just to be electronic and there is something about my brain that makes appointments cemented if it is in print and preferably by hand. So, this system that works for me after many, many other trials. I keep a paper calendar in my organizer in my purse which is a Japanese leather folder with banded sections (Midori). I have it tricked out with a pen holder and I use magnetic page markers for the sections. I love it. it was spendy (a local phrase out here in eastern Oregon) but I find that if I am attracted to the system, I will keep it more carefully.

Best of luck finding YOUR system that works.

"To fly, we must have resistance."

Didn't work for me

I tried that once years ago, and it did not work for me at all. I took the Franklin Covey workshop once years ago and their rule #1 was only one calendar, and I learned it was a good rule. (They made an exception for online work calendars and showed us how to use little dots to help sync them). I use one calendar and my main planner, which is a Junior size Circa. I have thinned my planner way down recently, and I only carry the info that I honestly believe I need to access 24/7 no matter where I am. I also keep a Junior size binder on my desk at work with work related sections that I don't need to carry with me everywhere - daily record, tasks, project trackers, whatever. I have another binder at home with household related stuff like my exercise tracker, monthly bills and budget, etc.

On the rare occasion I leave the house without my planner, I have index cards or a pocket notepad. I write notes on the cards and try to immediately transfer the info as needed when I get back to my planner/work/home. I make notes about appointments, etc but I make it clear that I will not commit to anything until I get back to my desk and confirm.

Duplication is time consuming and inefficient. I try to avoid it as much as possible. But everyone is different so you should definitely strive for whatever works best for you.

Multiple planners of sorts

Well, I'm a rule breaker as I don't follow the 'one planner' rule at all.

I have 2 calendars/appointment diaries, and 2 locations for project and task lists, and merge it together with the Harmony sheet. It works for me.

But I have the luxury of working 8-5 in a job that stays to those times. I don't need to take work home and I don't need to travel to see clients. So I can separate my work and home life into 2 separate planners.

For work I have to use Outlook so it holds my appointments and work contacts. I also use a spiral bound A5 notebook with my project, task lists etc (I don't use GTD in it's standard form) and whatever electronic project plans/timetables I need to check. It all stays at work.

At one stage I was carrying a paper copy of my work calendar but now I don't bother. I did a quick audit, which I do for lots of things, and put a tick on it each time I checked it outside of work. It turned out that I was checking it once or twice a month at most and it was never something that couldn't wait until the next work day.

For organising the rest of my life I have one of those thin, month to an opening, $1 calendar style diaries which I use for personal appointments, birthdays, work social events outside of standard work times, etc. And I have a 40 page A6 (about 1/4 Letter) notebook with projects, lists etc. Each week I fill in a Harmony form, picking up the tasks etc I have to do for my various projects and goals - work and home lives - and that form lives tucked inside the front cover of the little diary.

I also have 3 lists of my regular routines (cleaning, fitness, etc), the books I want to read, and key contact info. I print these off each time I get a new A6 notebook and paste them into the back of the notebook.

For my contacts, I also have an address & birthday book which lives by the phone at home as the family uses it.

Having said all that, my process relies on me being strict with myself and recording things in the right place

I agree

Ya I have downgraded to a smaller planner for work and school. I was sick of forcing it into my bag. I recently bought a laptop bag from here: and now I can pull my planner in and out real easy. My pda fits easy inside near my laptop.

Letter and Junior

Junior size is the planner.

Yearly calendar, busy months, busy weeks,
busy days.

However, long assignments or projects that need a lot of space are done on letter size paper.

I don't see myself writing something bigger than an outline in Junior size pages.

The physical set up is my Junior planner and a letter size paper is inside a Large Pouch that looks like a slim briefcase.

Classic & Pocket

For years I adhered to the "one calendar only" rule, but that was during the time in my life that a pocket sized planner was sufficient.

Now I use two: a classic size for work, and a pocket size primarily for personal (although I do write my work schedule in both places).

The pocket, or "satellite" as I call it, has three components. A monthly calendar, capture book, and small stack of notecards. The capture book is nothing more than a log of "notes to self / reminders".

The classic is for purely work-related items, and remains at my office. Its too heavy to carry around, so I don't.

Its working nicely.