With the New Year comes one of the best parts of starting fresh: a new planner! I thought I’d give a quick rundown of the planner I currently use, an Erin Condren Life Planner, and of the additional one I’m starting, InkWell Press A5 inserts in a Carpe Diem binder. If you’d like to read more about how I plan, check out this Planning Part 2 post.
I’ve been a planner as long as I can remember. There’s a bin in my basement labeled “memories” that has planners from my high school and college years. I love to look back through them and see what was happening in my life during those years: see the places I went, movies that were playing, friends I hung out with. Every once and awhile when I get busy cleaning and organizing and come across that bin, it’s like BAM! Memories come flooding back as I page through and relive my past.
To me, planning isn’t just the simple task of writing down appointments and reminders. Sure, I do that and I do it often to keep track of my family of five’s busy life, but it‘s more than that. I write down things I did that day with the kids or friends. I write down books that I am reading, movies and shows that are on, and where we go on date nights. Using my planners in this way makes them memory keepers for me, and that’s what I enjoy the most. When I pick up my planner, it is, in a sense, a journal of my life.
My love affair with planners started with the pretty coiled “agendas” my middle school and high school handed out each September. In retrospect, I can’t think of a better life skill to teach kids than how to plan, and for that I am grateful. My oldest son already has his own planner and we write in each of ours together to get ready for the week. Start ‘em young, I say!
Arc Discbound Planner
These simple planners gave way to the cute Target or Walmart bound yearly planners that I used throughout college and in the professional world. Then, last year, a sweet friend of mine introduced me to the Arc Discbound planner and my world got a little more organized and fun. This planner is a great starter planner and affordable. The discs allow you to take out the pages or add more if you need to. You will need to purchase a special punch if you want to add things directly to the planner, or you can just buy a little folder instead, like I did. I added a pouch to hold my planner supplies and a folder for receipts or the boys’ sports schedules. I still have my Arc. I loved that old girl. She was a work horse.
Erin Condren Life Planner
After using my Arc for a year, I moved into an Erin Condren Life Planner. This planner is a coiled planner with lots of room for notes, family events, space to write your menu or groceries, and lots of room for lists upon lists. Talking dirty now, huh? I chose an ECLP in a vertical layout because I wanted to give that format a try after using horizontal layouts in the Arc. . I love this planner because there is enough space for my kids’ many sports practices, school projects, and events, as well as room for family necessities that I need to keep track of.
I use the left side of the EC to list the things that I want to get done for the week. As I plan my week out, I plan which day I am going to get the things on the list done and transfer them over to the daily spots. On Sundays when I sit down to plan, I highlight what I did not finish on the list and then start my next weeks’s list the same way. This planner keeps track of my life!
InkWell Press and Carpe Diem
Santa brought me a new planner for Christmas that I am also very excited about! This planner is a Carpe Diem A5 binder system from Simple Stories. I ordered the coral planner in cheery defiance of the grey winter skies here in New York. The binder comes with lovely, thick planner pages that are undated, so you can use them anytime. I also ordered a package of the Simple Stories A5 folders to clip in to hold receipts and such. They have such pretty designs! I’m a sucker for all things floral, so this was a no brainer.
To go with my new Carpe Diem, I took the opportunity to order inserts from InkWell Press. Now, if you are a lover of all things paper like me, you will also fall in love with these pages. They are oh so thick and you can use most any pen and stamps on them with no shadowing on the pages. This planner is my personal planner, which is a new concept. I used to put my personal goals, thoughts, and bulleted journals in my family planners, but I was running out of room in there. Now that I have a planner just for me, it is much easier to keep track of the things that I need to do daily. I’ve only been using it for a week, but so far I am loving having a dedicated place to write down writing goals, my workouts and meals, reminders to take certain vitamins and drink enough water, and to brain dump when I have time.
And I’m laughing right now because I think I just underscored my point: I am wordy! I like to write and talk and write some more. Is it any wonder I love to write in planners? How about you? Which planner system works for you? What do you use to plan?