My journey towards “planner peace”.
I put “planner peace” in parenthesis because I truly can’t testify to ever feeling truly at peace with my planning system. It’s either too excessive and complicated or too simple and unsatisfying or, as it stands today, it could be tweaked if ever so slightly to become truly perfect.
With that out of the way—how are you? Hopefully really well; enjoying either a semester in college or the school year or just having a lovely day in general. It’s generally been a tradition of mine to start a new planner around this time of year, actually it’s between July and August that I generally question my organizational system. My birthday and the start of the school year fall around this time, hence I become overly critical of…life…and a fresh new planner brings me hope and joy.
I’m no longer in school but when I was, I was a big fan of the academic planne0,r or the horizontal layout. Honestly, I don’t think I ever noticed any other layout back then. I used the planner that was what was handed out to us as part of our back to school kit. I’d start using it enthusiastically at first and then, inevitably, I’d stop and fly by the seat of my pants. While I was always very diligent about finishing my assignments on time, I could have probably been more successful had I not stopped using my planner. This cycle started in the 6th grade and it ended my last year in college.
Once I graduated and started blogging, I began using a big beautiful vertical planner I'd purchased from Etsy shop, Paper Lotus Co. They now specialize in printable planner goods but back then they mainly sold beautiful hardback coiled planners. From their selection,I picked out a beautiful pink polka dot design with my name on it. Sadly, I rarely used it as I found it too bulky to carry around and, to be honest, I really didn’t understand how to use it given my lackluster usage history with previous planners.
The planner community on YouTube really encouraged me to keep at it, though. Specifically, Annie Smith really helped me get a grasp on how to use my planner. She has an amazing selection of videos to reference; everything from how to use your planner to the essentials of planning, to her beautiful planner spreads. I highly recommend you watch her videos if you find that you need a bit of guidance.
Even after devouring Annie’s videos, I found myself starting and stopping my planning process. I found that her planning system wasn’t working for my lifestyle as I don’t have children and while I blog, vlog and work full time, and now I run an Etsy shop, tracking everything on paper seemed to overwhelm me. I know it’s counter-intuitive to stop planning just when life is getting hectic BUT that’s exactly what was happening. I was creating deadlines for myself and missing them—all the time. It was so discouraging. The thing is that my day job had me working odd hours, and still does from time to time, hence my expectations for myself were unrealistic. I realize that now but back then it just seemed like having a planner was like having a constant reminder of what a huge failure I was at life.
It was right around May when I realized I couldn’t go without a planner anymore and that my perspective needed to change. I took a step way back from all the bells and whistles of the planning glitz and started a bullet journal. I did this in part to save money, and in another part to force myself to work on it week to week as I had to put it together myself. I did this for about a month and a half before I realized that I was spending far too much time creating each week’s spread. I needed to buckle down and buy a preprinted one that would accommodate my existing system.
The system that I’d embraced was as follows:
1. Create a monthly vision/mission page
2. Create a weekly to-do list based off of the vision/mission page—not assigning a due date to anything but to work on crossing things off on a daily basis the week it was assigned.
3. A gratitude section
4. Finally, making plenty of space for additional ideas for the blog/vlog/Etsy shop
What I found was the Daily Bloom Vision Planner. I seriously cannot believe how perfect this planner is for me. I had no idea that it existed as the planner community basically sticks to Erin Condren/The Happy Planner. This planner, though, basically has space for all of the items I was making room for—and it is preprinted! It’s like we were meant to find each other. I have now been using it for over 2 months and still going strong.
Here are the things that I love about this planner other than the items I’ve already noted:
1. It’s portable.
I find that anything thicker is overwhelming and not something I’d use on a daily basis.
2. It’s beautiful.
Every part of this planner seems so well thought-out.; its weekly quotes; its monthly goal for the user, the how to use this planner section. It all comes together beautifully. I will say, though, that the color of the font and blocked sections of color get in the way from time to time, mainly because stickers (and I love my stickers!) that are close in tone kind of disappear, but that is such a minor detail in the grand scheme of things. If they ever come out with a black and white version, you better believe that I’ll be switching over.
3. It’s spiral bound
For a while, I considered The Happy Planner, but the fact that the pages are removable made me hesitate. I’ve always preferred using spiral bound notebooks over loose-leafed paper. I have a tendency of ripping pages out when they’re filled or when they no longer work for me—because I can. With a ring-bound notebook I don’t, given that the spiral gets grubby. Set aesthetics aside, I really like looking back for reference. This, of course, is a personal problem but that was one of the many factors that convinced me that I had to go for The Daily Bloom Vision Planner.
As I look over what I’ve just noted, it at first appears as if these items aren’t that big or important, but they are for me—right now. These items basically make it easy for me to use my planner, to carry it everywhere and to keep me focused. They are the little details that have allowed me to stay on course.