Master Planning

By Creative Planning Team Lead - Sharon Gubby

Having been a planner for as long as I can remember I am always fascinated by other people's planning processes. There is always something I can learn from them and they can help improve my own planning activities. 

So on the subject of planning processes this week I am sharing my 'Master planning' routine and next week Robyn will be sharing her monthly planning process. 

Grab a cuppa, and enjoy.

Sharon 🌸🌸


Master Planning:

Master plan in an Erin Condren with EBDUK stickers

Most of the time we talk about monthly, weekly and daily planning but what about the bigger picture of our activities and tasks that we extract the details for these from? 

About every 4-6 months depending on the time of year and the changes in our life I sit down and create a master plan for myself. When I get this right it means nothing gets forgotten when breaking everything down. So how does this work, how do I set it up and what do I include?

Choosing the right layout:

I have kept a set of unused pages from the Erin Condren Hourly planners from previous years. As they are timed with half/hourly slots they make the perfect double page layout to create a master plan with. So this is where I start.

Erin Condren blank pages

How do I start:

The first thing I do is choose a sticker collection that I really, really like.....this is hard since I love ALL of Rachel's stickers.... I also make sure that I choose a collection with a quote that seems relevant to the current stage of our life. For my new master plan I've chosen the 'Find Joy' collection from the Advent Experience Box. The quote 'Find Joy in the Ordinary' really resonates with me at the moment. It's easy to be overwhelmed by the bigger issues in life while letting the smaller wins and joyful moments slip by without acknowledgement. The quote box from the weekly core gives me a little nudge each time I see it.

I use the washi tape from the sheets to separate the top timed section of the week that is unused planner space into 2 sections. The first one is a straight list of things that need to be fitted in each week but don't have an absolute slot and I can be flexible about.  The list runs across the page and I don't worry about which day these things sit over as it's just for information. The second section is a reminder of a couple of 'habits' that I want to keep going on this master cycle.

Daily focus stickers from EBDUK in an Erin Condren

Daily Focus:

At the top of each day I include a note of the focus for the day.  This gives me a 'background' task running through the day, for instance I can be completing admin whilst laundry is doing.  This also stops me trying to focus on everything at once and overloading my thought process. I know the focus changes each day and additional tasks can be allocated the right day. 

Time Blocking:

Time blocking in an Erin Condren with EBDUK stickers

The next thing I do is to block out the regular tasks that have a specific slot in the week for the amount of time they should take ie lunch, family dinner at the weekend, dinner each day, my weekly shopping slot and calling my sister alongside weekly 'day specific' admin jobs. This gives me a very good overall picture of where the spare blocks of time are during a normal week.

General my tasks fall into a 10am to 4pm timeframe.  This doesn't mean I don't use the time before and after just that this allows early starts or overflow of tasks and stops me overstretching myself unrealistically. I also try when possible only to schedule tasks on 4 days a week with Friday morning being a 'catch-up'. We all know that tasks always take longer than expected and again this stops me over committing myself.  One of the biggest lessons my children have taken from school is to 'work smarter not harder' and this is why I plan this way. On a really good week it means I have half a day for me and creative progression and self improvement. 

I always block out time for lunch and dinner - again it's a way of making sure that everything has time and that includes well being.

Monthly Tasks:

Weekly sidebar in an Erin Condren with EBDUK stickers

I have regular monthly tasks that need to be scheduled in and i keep track of these in the sidebar of the plan. These tasks get added to each monthly layout when I set it up and that keeps a track of which week they need to be included in.

It's not a perfect process but it does give me a chance of making sure that the major tasks and activities don't get forgotten and that I can take care of my time and capacity. It's also made making sure that I don't overstretch myself and have time for the unexpected should it be needed a lot easier.


Coming Next week:

Robyn Dexter-Attwood - Monthly Planning Process

When we get to the middle of each month, I like to get my Passion Planner monthly spread set up and ready for the next one. It’s the one spread that hasn’t really changed during the past three years and I love being able to look back on them all completed at the end of the year. Here’s a little step by step of my process. 


You can find Sharon, Robyn and the rest of the Creative Planning Team and their social media links HERE.