How To Decide on Planner Sections (Ideas for Index Tab Names)

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Planner Sections - Tab Name Ideas

One of the reasons we so love our Filofaxes, or other ring bound planners, is the ability to have control over what sections are within them.

What I need will be different to what you need and what you need will be different to the next person.

Now don’t worry naming them perfectly the first go round. I can almost guarantee you’ll set it up one way and then end up changing them around as you see how you use them! Don’t let not knowing your perfect tab names stop you from creating them though.

Make your first decision, start using the planner and then rename as you want. No need to over complicate thing Life Crafters!

Brainstorm Possible Sections

I like to start off with a bit of a brainstorm on the type of sections I think I’ll need and I ask myself questions such as:

  • what do I collect information about regularly? ie gift ideas, blog post ideas, books to read
  • What do I like or need to have on hand? ie personal information, to do lists, shopping list
  • What activities do I do on a regular basis? ie journalliing, note-taking
  • What do I refer to often? ie passwords, login details, addresses

This gives me some ideas of the types of pages I want and the sections they can go in.

Look At What Others Are Doing

Here is a list of planner section ideas:

COMMON SECTIONS

Personal Info
Reference
Goals
Projects
Contacts/Addresses
Calendar
Finance
Notes
Meetings
To Do

SPECIFIC SECTIONS

Routines
Timetables
Wellness
Health – Diet & Exercise
Health history/medication
Travel
Assignments
Family Information
Gardening
Blog
Ideas
Home Decoration
Housekeeping
Quotes & Inspiration
Journal
Shopping
Mileage
Time log
Habits
Your Hobby ie knitting, golfing, writing

Some of the above may just be pages that can be grouped together behind a single tab.

MY CURRENT SECTIONS

- Intro Section (personal info, contacts, account info, password reminders)
- Master To Do Lists
- Calendar Parts (with Jan-Dec Tabs)
- Notes
- Goals
- Projects
- Musings – Journaling pages
- Inspiration – Quotes and Lists such as I did it, Life Lessons, Life Highlights
- Lists – Wishlist, Giftlist, Places to Visit, Books to Read etc

Decide on Which Section Titles to Use

Decide which tab names suit your needs and would like to try out from your brainstorm and from looking at others. Implement them in your planner.

[an aside for perfectionists...if you can't stand to write on your tabs when you are not sure if you'll change them up soon, just cut down a post it note to size and put that on the tab until you are sure!]

You don’t want to have too many tabs in place or your binder will become too bulky! Between 4-10 is generally good. Consider using your other binders (for those addicts people that have lots of Filos!!)  for more specific areas or projects that you want to go into detail for. ie home journal, gardening, money matters, wedding etc

Tweak

After a few weeks or maybe only after a few days of use you’ll be able to see whether these sections are working for you. Change them up as you need.

Share what your sections are and you might give other people ideas!

Life is crafted. Craft yours,

Arienne


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12 thoughts on “How To Decide on Planner Sections (Ideas for Index Tab Names)

  1. kel

    I like these ideas! I’m trying to help my friend set hers up (as well as personalising it!) so this will be a great read for her.
    With regards to my own setup, I have 2 sets of 5 tabs. The first set is work related (Business Cards, Diary, Addresses including the A-Z tabs, Reports, Expenses) and the 2nd set are personal (Information, Travel, Notes, Inspiration, Missy). It seems to work for my at the moment (especially for work!), hopefully looking at your ideas will help my friend to realise what she wants to get out of her Filo :)
    Kel
    X

    Reply
    1. ariennegorlach

      Oooh, you’re a fabulous friend Kel :) she’s very lucky to have someone personalising and setting it up with her.

      I really like how you’ve separated two sections of life with the different tab sets – that feels good to my organisational mind.

      Reply
  2. maximillianfuzzyboots

    Good food for thought. I’ve been using a Filofax since 1984, and as my jobs and life have changed, so have my categories. Your list provides a great starting point either for sonmeone new to ring-bound planners, or for someone struggling with wich categories to use.

    Reply
    1. ariennegorlach

      Hi Maximillianfuzzy boots :) My planner needs change as my life change too ;) As new projects or phases enter my life, my organiser evolves. I wonder if it would be fun to track those categories change through the years and see how they represent what is going on in our lives??!

      Reply
  3. Anita Lim

    Great post!
    My sections haven’t really changed since getting my first filofax (a cherry Classic) & are based on the GTD paper planner layout:
    - Notes/In
    - MITs (most important tasks)
    - Actions
    - Projects
    - Reference & misc.

    I find these work well for me & I wrote them on sticky tabs before I was sure they were what I wanted.

    Reply
    1. ariennegorlach

      Hi Anita! I tried working with the full GTD set up for a while but it didn’t seem to work for me at that stage of life. I’m tempted to try again soon, though the 3 MITS and the categoriesed to do lists are going pretty well.

      I did the temporary sticky tab thing too when I first set up my Filo, which ended up being the right decision because I did end up changing things around from the initial set up.

      Reply
  4. Rita

    Arienne, I stumbled upon your site from FB group (ARC Planner Addicts – lol). I wanted to say thank you for these ideas. I have never come to peace with what sections, etc. but your post here will help me – finally. Thank you so much.

    Reply
  5. Meg

    Wow! Thank you soooo much for writing such a thorough article on journal sections! This is exactly what I’ve been looking for :)

    Reply
  6. Theresa

    Thanks for this post. Love the picture with the tabs. So inspiring. I am in the middle of moving my happy planner into a carpe diem and I am so happy with the flexibility of it! I have been brainstorming and this list helped stir up ideas. I am only putting one month of my planner in the binder at a time since I don’t plan that far ahead and then it’s less to lug around.

    So here is my list of dividers:
    Monthly Calendar – where all the timely info from the dividers below come together to form one master to do list, events and appointments.
    Business / Work – for my 9 to 5 job and my side hustle.
    Finance – for budget, reconciliation of my account / credit card and expenses.
    Meal Planning – recipes, food intake, weight tracker, weekly menu plans and grocery list.
    Household – chores – cleaning & organizing, shopping list, and any to do’s
    Tracker – goals, projects, habits, routine
    Journal / Notes
    Inbox stuff that makes it into my planner that doesn’t fit in a divider or that is a to do to sort through to organize before it makes it into a divider.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    Reply

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