Many academic-style planners, including Gallery Leather’s Academic Planner and Large Monthly Planner, run for 18 months to cover the academic year. If you own or are considering an 18-month planner, you may find yourself wondering what you can do with the overlap that occurs from July-December, especially for multiple successive years. Perhaps you’re concerned about environmental responsibility if overlapping pages go unused or wonder how you can realize the full potential of a product you bought with your hard-earned money. Luckily, an 18-month planner is a flexible organization tool, and there are many ways to use that overlap to your advantage. Let’s go over a few options and ideas for getting usability out of that 6-month overlap to maximize the potential of your 18-month planner and increase the likelihood that you’ll be successful with it.
Envision the potential of planning ahead
You can plan major upcoming events before you get your next planner. Some events, such as yearly physicals, pet medications and vaccinations, recitals, and school events are often scheduled far in advance or benefit from reminders every six months or each year. You can pencil in these recurring events up to 18 months ahead and then transfer them into your new planner. This eliminates random scraps of paper, appointment cards, and the mental load of trying to remember things.
You can also use the future months in your planner to get ahead of upcoming seasonal planning. By starting your planning early, you can reduce stress. When it comes to back-to-school prep, use your current 18-month planner to start planning early. You’ll find your summer more relaxing with less of a last-minute scramble. Refine the details when you transfer them to your new planner. Another strategy is to get ahead of your holiday planning! The 6-month overlap between consecutive 18-month planners covers most of the holiday season. You can use this time to start budgeting for Christmas gifts, planning activities, or tucking away recipes for reference.
Entertain the possibility of two planners
As we’ve alluded to, one of the potential benefits of purchasing back-to-back 18-month planners each year is that you can use the 6-month overlap as a transitional period. This lets you leverage each planner for unique roles. The old planner can get a new lease on life for its six remaining months by serving a practical purpose. It will retain all of its contextual information for the last year as you transition your new planner into the daily role the previous one used to serve. Here are some additional ideas for use cases involving two planners during this transitional period.
When you use an 18-month planner, the 6-month overlap allows the old planner to serve as a reference for the past year, as well as a backup for the overlapping six months. If you need to refer to previous medical appointments or remember the last time you vaccinated your pet, you can look back up to a year and a half in a single book. This reduces having to pull out multiple prior planners. In addition, you can keep one planner at home and carry the other with you. Or leave one in the car and one at your desk. This allows you to have an “at home” planner that lives in one place as a reference for anyone who needs to know what’s going on that week, plus a “working planner” you carry with you.
If personally juggling two planners sounds cumbersome, why not make it available to someone else who needs to know your schedule? Hand off the old planner to a partner (especially if they’re not much of a planner-keeper) so they can explore school schedules and holiday prep. Together, you’ll have a shared point of reference and understanding, which helps maximize the potential of your 18-month planner.
Having an extra six months in one book can help with long-term planning. Get started on projects that extend beyond a year. Some dreams take a while to grow. With 18 months to plan, you have the room to pursue longer, more involved projects such as a new healthy-living plan, putting in a garden, or undertaking a major home-renovation project.
Enjoy the luxury of the 18-month planner overlap
Many of us don’t have enough time in a single day to sit down and transfer everything to a new planner. With six months of overlap between your planners, you can gradually transition between them as you are ready. There are other ways you can use any extra pages, too.
Test new ways of using the space in your planner. Perhaps you want to try bullet journaling, or test a new pen, or see if a favorite highlighter or marker is compatible with your planner, but you don’t want to mess up a page you might use later. Maybe you always wanted to try glitter or a bit of watercolor. Flip to some pages you might not use otherwise, tuck some scrap paper between them, and let your creativity flow!
You can also try using pages in unique ways. Try collaging, doodling, or making a gluebook where you include pictures, quotes, ticket stubs, or a photograph that’s been floating around in your purse or a drawer for ages. To avoid page rippling, you can use spray adhesive or double-sided tape.
Explore your 18-month planner options
To take the next step, check out our Large Monthly, Desk Monthly, and Pocket Monthly Planners. All cover 18 months in an elegant monthly calendar format. The Academic Planner is a good all-around planner geared toward students and teachers but is also an excellent fit for anyone who wants to start their planning year in July. We also have the Family Planner, geared toward busy parents who need space for schedules, lists, and notes.
We hope these ideas help you identify ways you can maximize the potential of your 18-month planner and support you in choosing a planner that perfectly fits your needs. Happy planning!