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.
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 quite 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:
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?