I have mixed feelings on the current state of planner affairs out there in our crafty world. On the one hand, I see a lot of over the top stuff that I feel like can make people either get a case of the “I gotta buy all the things” or feel like they could never achieve —, so why try? On the other hand, planners, being organized, and making plans in general is how I live and get as much accomplished as I do! So I’m very pleased to see so much exposure and new ideas being shared.
I’ve always been someone who writes down plans. Computers are great for some things, but my brain likes the freedom of freeform writing on a blank piece of paper as well. For a lot of years I had a spiral bound style planner where all things were written. I would mark down days and times I’d do laundry. I’d get all my ‘grown up’ chores settled into one morning so I had more free time to sit around doing nothing.
I also had binders with clear page protectors full of everything from wedding plans to vacation itineraries.
The reason I’ve always been a fan of planning is simple: Looking ahead, making goals, breaking things down into daily pieces means that I get more done. It means I don’t find myself going “geez if I’d only planned a bit…” and missing out.
After I had Elizabeth, I quit all fancy planning systems. Long story short, it worked better for me to have a single piece of paper upon which I put a list of things that I had to do. New paper as enough things were crossed off to warrant a new list. Appointments and set day/time things went into a calendar and then into the computer/phone digital calendar. This system served me well for a decade.
Nothing wrong with just writing a simple list.
Last fall though, it became clear that I needed to go back to something heartier. With all the new things being added to my life – my system was falling apart because it wasn’t strong enough.
November was an absolutely terrible month for me – riddled with illness and then a terrible fall (still recovering from that, as a matter of fact!) I fell WAY behind. I also lost my “one paper list” and it was a nightmare finding all the things I had to do, what was due when, and keeping business stuff afloat. Riddled with fever (I was super sick at the time) I ordered the Heidi Swapp planner deciding that would “fix” me.
When it arrived I realized almost immediately that it would, in fact, not fix me at all. I adore the layout of it, and it is naturally beautiful. I love that I don’t have to decorate it or waste any time whatsoever – it’s simply pretty right off the bat. PERFECT for me! It’s just that… well the set up and fact that it doesn’t have a latch/closure mean that it could never follow me around on all my wacky errands or survive even a day in my purse. It would really only work if I left it open on my desk as my business/blog/deadline planner.
lightbulb moment here…
So that is what it is. I write down what blog posts go when (like for example, above you see today’s “planner” post scheduled!), what items are due, reminders about things like writing the newsletter, guest posts, product release dates, email follow ups – or any of the 10,000 other parts of my job outside the actual creating of things.
This has been so great! It doesn’t have kid schedules or appointments in it. Strictly work flow/business. And it lives here in my office next to the computer.
But I still needed another space/place. One where all my lists. My brain dumps. My class development notes. Kids appointments. ALL the life stuff – a full and complete assistant in paper form. What I really wanted was an assistant. I’m not quite in the position to hire one though, so I thought what if I had a Filofax planner (aka no nonsense, very hearty and practical) that was the place for everything? Then I found Todd (my very fuchsia planner) on Amazon and it all worked out.
Above you see Todd consulting with the business book… you know making sure it’s all cool.
We are entering month 2 of me having this system, and I’ll tell you I’m still learning and working things out. I have noted that what works for me is on the ‘daily’ sections to just write down what MUST be done that day. Hard appointments. Do or die stuff. Continuing a general “to do” list without dates attached helps a lot still so I don’t feel overwhelmed, and so I don’t feel bad when I have one of THOSE days. Like today is going to be. 4 hours of Girl Scout Cookie business popped up last minute – so the plans need to flex.
The thing is, that’s my lifestyle. Things have to stay very flexible around here I juggle a lot of busy people around here and something always comes up.
I have been researching practical ideas – such as using small sticky notes to affix things like “call and make an appointment” onto a given day – that aren’t permanent and can be moved or thrown out when done. I am also noting that probably 95% of the “planner specific” supplies are either way over priced (reminds me of how stuff is for weddings!) or not at all needed because I can just us the things I already have.
As I discover creative options (like the ScanNCut stickers last week!) that are working for me I’ll be sure to share with you. Right now I’m interested in figuring out something more attractive and also useful vs the manila 1-6 tabs/dividers “Todd” has. Something that makes it a little fun and playful but quick.
I want this to be a tool to help me in the rest of my creative life, I don’t want it to be a budget or time drain.
I also want to encourage every one of you who wants to get more out of each day, that wants to find ways to work smarter/better (not necessarily harder!) to join me on this exploration. You won’t see me spending any more money on my system until it’s time to refill pages for 2017. After three “planner specific” purchases I’ve realized I’m far better off using the supplies on hand! So I will share quick. Budget friendly. Applicable to many areas of crafting. Kicking behind and taking names ideas that are helping me make 2016 my best year yet.
If you have questions, suggestions, ideas, or just want to pick my brain you’re always welcome to leave a comment or email me.
For now I’m off to make some new plans… and get all the troop cookies picked up and sorted!