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How to Plan your Day Using the Strikethrough System

Taking a few minutes each day, week, or month to plan your schedule and sort through all the appointments, goals, events and tasks can significantly impact your overall productivity and sense of accomplishment.

There are many effective ways to plan your day, from the popular Bullet Journal, to calendar-based systems, checklists, and time-blocking.

I wanted to share the straightforward method I use for daily planning. This is more manageable and less overwhelming than the Bullet Journal, which I found wasn't suited to my personality or artistic style. The layouts and upkeep didn't work for me, so I gave up.

This experience helped me discover my preference for list-based planning systems that are simple. After doing some research online, I came across the Strikethrough method, which was originally developed by Chris Kyle.

I decided to set up and modify my own Strikethrough planner by creating my own template and making some personal tweaks.

Keep in mind, you can easily adapt this method to any notebook using pen and paper.

Keep reading to learn how I set up my Strikethrough planner and how I use it to organize my days.


Set Up

Download my template to see how I set up my planner. You can print the template and bind it, which is easier. Print how many pages you need. Just remember that around 50% should be assigned to The Live List, 30% to The Vault, and 20% to The Dump.

Download PDF • 12.29MB

*Or you can buy a notebook and divide it in three areas and manually label each page following the same design as the template.

The System

The Strikethrough planner is composed of 3 areas: The Live List, The Dump and The Vault.

The Live List

This is the active to-do list for the day, which you fill the previous night.

This list is your day plan. Whatever you complete, you strike it through (hence the name of the system) and whatever you don't, can be added to the next Live List.

Every Live List only has 9 tasks per page so you don't get overwhelmed with too much to-dos.

Each task has a priority square on the right to decide the order to tackle them. You can create your own system with levels and symbols to prioritize tasks. (In the template, I provide an example of the one I use).

There are two ways to plan and use The Live List.

1. A Daily To-Do System: you plan 9 tasks each day and strike what you complete. The rest of the tasks get moved to next day's list.

2. A Rolling To-Do System: you plan 9 tasks and only after you've completed all of them (whether that is in one day or more) you plan another List with new tasks.

The Vault

This is a set of specific lists with a two-letter tag before the title.

In here you essentially break down a project in tasks.

In each page you write any upcoming project and all the tasks and activities you need to do in order to complete it. The individual tasks are the ones that end up in your Live List once you're ready to tackle them.

For The Vault, you create a Key System with Tags to label the type of projects you write down. In the template I provide the ones I use, but you're free to create some that work specifically for you.

The Dump

This is a space to jot down all your inspiration and ideas. This is your place of freedom. No tasks, no priority squares. Just a blank page to put down all the thoughts you want to remember and that can potentially become projects and tasks in the future.


1. Print all your pages and divide them accordingly in the three areas.

The Live List

-Write the date on top of the page. Then add the 9 tasks and in the right square classify the priority level for each task using the priority keys.

The Vault

-After you've brainstormed different projects you need to work on, divide them in categories and assign a tag to each. Use the sample Tag Chart in the template or create your own.

-Go to a blank page in the section, write a title description and the category tag in the square above to identify what type of list it is. You'll notice there are 15 spaces to write tasks and not 9. That's because in this section you create the tasks you want to tackle in the future. Once you plan your day, you move tasks from this area to The Live List.

The Dump

-There are no rules. Doodle, brainstorm, write, and draw whatever you want. This is a free space to come with ideas and inspiration.

How to carry tasks from one list to the other

The Strikethrough method uses a very simple referencing system composed by the page number and the task number. For example task 3 is on page 50 from The Vault and you want to add it to The Live List. You write 50.3 on the line in The Live List in which you want to add the new task.

I personally don't like referencing like this because it can get confusing and I like reading exactly what I have to do, so I don't forget. I simply write down the words. It all depends on your personal taste.

As I mentioned above, this is a modified version of the Strikethrough system. You can add or remove things from it. The important thing is to have a system you're comfortable with and can easily understand. I personally like using this method because it's flexible and you can adapt it to what really works for you.

I hope you give this simple planning method a try. Let me know in the comments down below if you do and how it works out. Also share what is your preferred method for planning and why. I love reading your suggestions.

Until next time.

Gabriela Fernández

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