Printable Blog Planner

Example blog planner

You may remember that I very briefly mentioned the idea of setting up one of my A5 filofaxes as a blog planner.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a diary format that was quite right. A month to view seemed like the best format, because I loved the idea of seeing my whole month at a glance.  I can see what’s scheduled, which types of posts I need more of and any blank periods that need posts.  On the other hand, I wanted some space for a to do list to keep me focused, and something that looked at least a little interesting too.  That’s not so much to ask right? (Apparently, it is).

Eventually, I decided to try making my own format, and I think I’ve succeeded (sort of!).  I edited the Philofaxy Enhanced Time Management Diary insert to fit my needs, and combined it with the Month to view template, also from Philofaxy.

Here is a blank print out of my template.   The original file is colour, I just printed my example in black and white to show you how it looks in greyscale if you’d rather save ink.

Blank blog planner

So, you can see that on the right hand side we have a month to a page – you probably don’t need any explanation for that, but you might wonder what is going on on the left, so let’s explain in a bit more detail.

The first section is called The Big Five, and is for five key goals/areas of focus each month.  Why the big five? Just because I’m a zoologist and animal lover and try to squeeze in animals wherever I can! (And it feels more fun than something like Urgent Tasks).

The little bubbles were inspired by this template from The Printable CEO, which used bubbles as units of time. The idea was to fill them in while you were working, both to keep focused and see how much time you really spent on a project.  The idea here is to pick 5 goals, and use the bubbles to keep track of your progress, because it can keep easy to lose track over a time period like a month.  The idea is that instead of having 3 days focused on leaving comments and then forgetting, the bubbles serve as a visible reminder of your goal.  I’ll show you a few examples in my filled in template below!

The next section is for ideas (which I’ve left mostly blank in my filled in template!).  This is for those moments of inspiration or brainstorming, just to keep your mind mulling over possibilities and keep track of any brain waves you had.

The third section is for your to do list, which is pretty straightforward I would hope!

In the stats section I’ve included:

  • Email followers
  • RSS Subscribers
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Bloglovin’
  • Views per month
  • Visitors per month.

There’s also a blank line for anything else you wanted to track.

The very final section is for those things you need to bear in mind about next month, whether that’s an exam, an upcoming bill, a review due or a holiday.

So, now you know what all the sections are for, let’s see them in action!

Blog planner 1

In this example, I’ve included a range of different things, to show how you can use your big five in completely different ways:

  • Commenting on other blogs
    Each bubble might represent 1 comment, more than one comment or a day where you left comments.
  • An essay or other project
    For essays, I always found that while reading around a subject before you start, it can feel like you’re not making much progress.  Filling in the bubbles for every 15 minutes you spend researching or writing (or half an hour if it’s a big project) you can see your efforts adding up.
  • Weight loss
    Just to show that you can focus on something completely different and still use the bubbles.  In this example I’ve used each bubble to represent a half a pound of weight loss.  I’ve also circled a ‘target’ bubble, because for something like weight loss it might not be appropriate to fill all the bubbles, and I still want a visible marker of completion!
  • Dissertation/Large essay etc
    For those occasions when you need to stop researching and actually get on with the work, using each bubble to represent a number of words (in this case 100) is an easy way to face how much you’re really getting done – or not getting done!
  • No spend days
    If you’re trying to cut down on spending, tracking no spend days can be a challenging but fun way to try.  In this example, each bubble represents 1 day, so if you managed to fill them all you’d have managed 20 days without spending!

The ideas, to do and next month sections are pretty obvious, so I won’t go into details about those.

In the stats section, because the boxes are quite large, I would track this month as well as including last months in brackets, just to see at a glance if the numbers were changing.  You could alternatively use the wide box to track social media sites not already mentioned on the list.

blog planner 2
This is my month to a page. It’s pretty simple – scheduled or published posts get put on here, with different coloured headers depending on the topic area, so I can see which types of posts I need more of.

I’ve gone around the most popular post from each week in pale blue, and my most popular post all month also has the star added so I can’t miss it!

Hopefully this template might be of use to you because  I personally am loving it!

Please feel free to download, use, photograph, or share, but please make sure to link back, as it did take me a fair amount of time to edit the files!

Month to view blog planner

(If for some reason the preview looks blank, try downloading it as that seems to still work)

In case you’re still wondering about those Big Five bubbles, here’s a few more ideas of things you could track (and how I would use the bubbles):

  • Saving, (£x)
  • Replying to comments (days I was caught up or x comments replied to)
  • Revision (time spent revising or lectures/chapters revised)
  • Number of reviews / other types of posts
  • Exercise (x number of minutes)
  • Dieting (days below target calories)
  • Giving up smoking/other habit (days without …)
This is the first time I’ve tried posting something like this so please feel free to let me know whether you love/hate/couldn’t care less about it!

My 2014 set-up (version 1)

I seriously doubt this will be the end of my planner re-arranging for 2014, but here’s version 1!

You may remember before that I was debating between A5 and personal size.  In 2014, I’ve decided to finally take the plunge and give a personal a go, for a few reasons.

  • Someone bought me a personal sized Paperchase organizer for Christmas, and I feel bad not at least TRYING to use it.
  • As you probably know, I joined the ranks of the unemployed in December of 2013, and I worried that my DodoPad (which I’ve loved until now) might have too much space, and leave me feeling a bit depressed.
  • I now have THREE personal sized and only two A5.  I’ve never struggled to find use for the A5s, but three personals sitting in a drawer unused seems obscene….
  • Making the adjustment to smaller pages may be easier now when I have less going on than when I have a busy schedule, so I thought I’d try it now, when it has a good chance of success: a sort of now-or-never moment!

So, for 2014, I will be using a personal sized, non-filofax organizer – for now at least!  After a month of use, and a little bit of tweaking here and there, I’ve got my set-up ready to show you.  So, here’s my new organizer, in all its glittery, eccentric and possibly a tiny bit creepy, glory.

Paperchase front

I’ve got six tabs and three top tabs set up at the moment.  My first tab is called (imaginatively) Year and it’s for long term planning.  First up, it has a year to view – so far, as you can see, all I’ve done is circle a few birthdays!  Then it has my year planner, which is (at the moment at least) pretty much exclusively for planning visits to my other half at uni.

image_2

Then I have a top tab for the months – after this I have two months to a page, and I’m planning to use them for details of birthdays, important events and recording snake feeds/sheds etc.

My second tab is for my diary.  The organizer came pre-loaded with a 2014 diary, which I’m going to stick with for now.  It’s a pretty standard week on two pages, with smaller sections for Saturday and Sunday (which I don’t like) and lined (which I LOVE).  I don’t love the format, but I don’t hate it either, and it seems silly to buy a replacement diary without at least trying this one out, especially when I don’t even know if I can get on with the personal size!  If I stick with the personal size, I may switch to the Week per page with notes later on in the year.

image_4

My third tab is for my finances, tracking my spending etc.  Now that I’m jobless and trying to save for my Masters, I really need to spend less, and I’m hoping by recording it I’ll stop unconsciously wasting money.

My fourth tab is for Lists.  At the minute it only really has NetGalley books I’ve read but not yet reviewed.  I’ve then got a top tab behind which I’ve got gift ideas for my family and partner and a wishlist of things I’d like to buy

My fifth tab is for my MSc course.  It has a list of relevant text books I need to try and get and open access journals for if I want to do some background reading.  I’ve then got a top tab for accommodation, because I’m still comparing different halls etc and frequently want to compare the specs and prices/compare that to the costs and time of commuting.

My final tab is called Accounts and it has usernames and passwords (in code).

I have to admit, I do miss the A5 but the personal is much more convenient for travelling around. Although I’m mostly just at home right now, when I go to visit my other half (for up to a week at a time) the personal is much easier to squeeze into a bag!

I’m going to keep trying with the personal, and I’m thinking of setting up one of my A5s as a blog planner to use alongside it.  If you have a blog planner, I’d love to see the set-up, or get some tips for setting my A5 up!

Monday plans (#32)

So I got very little read this week, as predicted due to the last few days of term before exams.  Hoping to get LOTS read this week since I’m currently very behind on a team challenge.  I’m going home for a few days for an interview though, so I’m not sure if that’ll help or hinder my reading!

I also haven’t actually completed anything for the Clean Sweep ARC challenge (though I’ve started several), so I’d like to make some progress on that this week too.
Plan for last week:

  • Review pile: Continue The Forgotten Ones (Target: 75% | Actual: 37%)
  • Review pile: Start Icons (Target: 25%| Actual: 27%)
  • Review pile: Start Chantress (Target: 25% | Actual: Not Started)

Plan for this week:



What are you reading this week?

If you’d be interested in posting your reading plans for the week, write a post or comment, head on over to Book Journey’s page and submit your link. For every 10 posts you read/comments you make you get one entry into her giveaway.

Monday plans (#31)

I got a lot more done than I expected to last week, probably because of the 24 hour readathon! Unfortunately, we’ve now reached the final month of university (ever) and this is the last week of lectures before exams. That means LOTS of deadlines this week, so I’m not expecting much reading to get done – all comes down to how well my work is going really!

Last week:

Plan for this week:


What are you reading this week?

If you’d be interested in posting your reading plans for the week, write a post or comment, head on over to Book Journey’s page and submit your link. For every 10 posts you read/comments you make you get one entry into her giveaway.

Monday plans (#30)

I didn’t make any reading plans last week, which is probably a good thing because I haven’t had much of a chance to pick a book up this week!  It’s deadline time here at uni for the next two weeks, so we’re currently in the library all day every day.

Last week:

  • Unplanned: Sneak (Completed)
  • Unplanned: Level 2 (Completed)


Plan for this week:


What are you reading this week?

If you’d be interested in posting your reading plans for the week, write a post or comment, head on over to Book Journey’s page and submit your link. For every 10 posts you read/comments you make you get one entry into her giveaway.