But it’s Color-Coded!!!!

Half a dozen times in the past couple of weeks I’ve been complimented/called out/mocked for the same reason: I carry a paper planner.

In the technological age in which we live, it may seem ridiculous that I tote around a spiral bound, 9×7″, 2″ thick notebook in which my whole life is contained.  I mean, I can’t sync it with anyone and I certainly can’t back it up the cloud, but I love it.  I like seeing my whole week laid out in front of me.  I like using highlighters to classify events and information.  I like taping ticket stubs and photos and thank you notes into the pages to memorialize my time and create a bit of a scrapbook of my year.

It works for me.  Maybe you’re looking for a system to keep everything straight, or maybe you’re going to laugh at my system, in which case, bite me to each their own.

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First, the planner.  Most people assume it’s from Erin Condren.  Truth is, it isn’t.  At $50 a pop, I just couldn’t justify it.  I got mine from Plum Paper, and it is 20141110_134157quite similar, for around $30.  There are options to add additional note pages and stickers and other goodies on both kinds. My planner features a 2-page month spread and then a 2-page spread per week.  Sturdy tabs provide easy navigation from month to month and a note page at the beginning and end of each month is handy for jotting down goals, Christmas lists, or random thoughts.

I’ll warn you, though.  A planner is just a stack of pages unless you have a system by which you keep everything organized. I use colors to separate different tasks, giving me a quick reference when I look at a whole week.  Here’s my breakdown:

Blue – Bills
Pink – Mary Kay Activities
Orange – Church
Green – School
Purple – Work
Yellow – Personal

My average week:

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Don’t panic!! It looks complicated, and it took a little getting used to and a lot of tweaking, but the key to success with this system (or any system, really) is balance.  Too simple, and it doesn’t allow for organization; too complex it’s confusing and hard to keep up.  I have a retroactive process where I go back and fill in events or activities after the fact, if necessary.  My planner acts as a record of what I’ve done, as much as a blueprint of what I’m doing.

The first time A encountered my planner, I thought maybe it would be the end of us.  It’s a lot to take in.  I know this.  But it works for me, and it keeps me from losing my mind when life gets stressful.

What works for you?

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4 thoughts on “But it’s Color-Coded!!!!

  1. Pingback: One Year with a Planner, Still no Plan | Plum Paper Year 2 | The Adventures of EveryGirl

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  4. I greatly admire your organization skills, Simone. I totally get it. I am a visual learner. This would work great for me. I have a horrible memory and physically writing things down and creating outlines and lists helps me retain information. I need to adopt your system. Trying to process and retain too much digital technology makes me feel foggy and insecure because I know I can’t possibly remember all the info I am bombarded with on a daily basis. Work e-mail can be especially problematic, depending on the volume from day to day. I can only imagine how many trees I have killed by printing out e-mails so I have a visual reference to write notes on as a reminder of the status of an issue. So, carry on! If it works for you, that’s all that matters.

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