The Ultimate Guide to Paper Planning

How to Use Multiple Planners

It’s finally time to talk about multiple planners!

Using multiple planners isn’t about having a bunch of different books. It’s about staying organized. And sometimes staying organized means compartmentalizing things. Just like the cabinets in your kitchen to hold different items, sometimes we need more than one book to hold and organize different information.

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Assemble Your Team

Cori (The Reset Girl) calls her multiple planners her planner team. So now it’s time to assemble your team.

You did most of your groundwork in the first and second steps . You made a list of categories that make up your life. You’ve tested methods in your notebooks. You’ve looked at the different kinds of planners. Now let’s put them together to make your team.

Maybe a project management planner just needs a lot of space so you choose a large notebook. Maybe your academic planner needs ready-made structure so you choose an academic Blue Sky, or Erin Condren. Maybe you need a run-of-the-mill 3-ring binder to take care of home management (like me!).

And do remember functionality. If you’re out and about a lot and don’t like carrying a big heavy bag, don’t choose a big book for your everyday planner. Maybe you need something compact like a passport Traveler’s Notebook with just your monthly agenda and a space for notes when you’re running errands. Maybe the bulk of your planning and scheduling stays on your desk or at your bedside so you choose a large disc-bound or coil-bound planner.

This is also trial and error. I still don’t recommend dropping big bucks on something expensive yet.

Now that you’ve got your planner team assembled, it’s time to add your your Master Planner.

Set Up Your Master Planner 

A Master Planner isn’t another agenda. A Master Planner is functions more like a journal or notebook. Corie (The Reset Girl) calls this the Master Notebook. She says that when it comes to planning, we need space to brainstorm and write out thoughts and ideas. I completely agree! We need lots of space and paper to work through projects, ideas, notes, and tasks.

Check out what she says about here Master Notebook in her video:

This book is your dashboard, your brain’s central command center, the place from which your planner team operates. You can use it to do some pretty important functions:

  • Your planner team master list
  • Real time information curation.
  • Brain dump
  • Brainstorming

Master List

Cori touches on this briefly in her video. This list is like the table of contents for your planning system. This not only keeps you organized but also gives you a framework that is ready to receive new information. When you have info that needs a place, you’ll find that you already have a space for it or it takes you a few moments to add a new space because your framework is already there.

Real Time Information Curation

No more looking for scrap paper to jot down an appointment, phone number, or meeting notes. You can curate information in real time in this notebook and have it ready to transfer it to the space it belongs.

Brain Dump

Carie Harling says that your brain is for thinking, not for storage (which I believe she got from Getting Things Done David Allen. Our noggins need a place where we dump out all the random thoughts, ideas, tasks, and items that we have floating around. And not only are they floating around, they’re not being acted upon. This is the stuff that oh yeah, we’ve been meaning to do for the past 3 months but keep forgetting to get around to it. These are the awesome ideas that we tell ourselves we’re going to remember but the next day are lost to us for forever. These are the questions you were going to ask at the planning meeting but forgot to write down and now you can’t think of it.

You and I both know how much we forget and lose on a regular basis. Brain dumping not only clears our mind but also catches the useful information we need in the future.

Here are a couple of brain dump videos for you to consider:


This hardly needs explanation, it’s self-explanatory. Our brains need a space for us to write out ideas, draw pictures, work through problems, take notes and make long lists.

Don’t Discount Digital Tools

I never would have said this as a newbie planner girl but digital tools are definitely necessary to a planner set up. I turn to Google Calendar, Notes, Notion, and AnyList on my phone regularly. But the game-changer for keeping track of all my digital information and big projects is Notion. I will never not use Notion from now on.

Some people only plan and do task management with tools like Notion but I will always be a paper planner girl. So while I am keeping lots of information in my Notion databases, it’s a part of my whole planning system.

You may find other uses for your Master Notebook. Do what works for your brain! This will change and morph as time goes by. I’ve been at this over two years (still a newbie) and I’m still tweaking my system. Life changes and so will your planning. You’ll want to try new books and products. You’ll want to try a new method after watching someone’s YouTube video or seeing an Instagram post. That’s okay! Try new things but don’t get too distracted 🙂

Now wrap it up with some dos and don’ts of paper planning!

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