Inspired by my recent organizational acquisitions (and posts by Hannah), I wanted to share some information about how I keep myself organized – primarily for blogging and reading, but also a little about my personal organization, too.
Part Three: Finding a Planning Rhythm
OH HEY, remember this series? I previously talked about my Traveler’s Notebook and Book Bag last year, but I’m here again to update you on some planning-related THINGS. First thing’s first, a little update about my previous two posts in this series… because some things have changed.
On my book bag → I don’t really carry all that shit around to work anymore. To be frank, I got lazy. That’s really all it comes down to. I started sleeping later and now give myself less time to jerk around in the morning. I started realizing that I really don’t give myself time at work to plan or read during my lunch breaks anymore. So why lug it around?
On my notebooks/foxy dori → I still use this… in general. I’ve become terrible at taking bookish notes these days (and I feel like my reviews reflect that. Whoops!). I just don’t feel like dealing with it. I still love my Foxy Dori but need to find a better use for some of those notebooks. I like holding my bookmarks in there and recording quotes, but I don’t fully use it like I used to. I still love the idea, but just need to re-evaluate how I’m using it.
My Planner-Related Timeline of Failures
Now with my general failures out of the way, I’ll talk to you about my recent quest to find the perfect planner and stop being a butthead. Aka, Lauren-must-stop-wasting-money-on-planners-if-she’s-going-to-use-them-for-a-week-then-quit.
Planner #1: Erin Condren Life Planner
As you know, I bought an Erin Condren Life Planner at the beginning of the year to do some… well, planning. Chris’s cousin showed it to me one day and then I saw it around the blogosphere, so I had to try it out. I used it pretty steadily for a while… then my life got very boring in the middle of the year. I don’t know, I just didn’t feel like anything worth writing down was happening. I started using it to literally write the books I was starting/finishing each week. It was a waste, but at least ALL those pages weren’t blank. Through October I tried really hard to pick it up again and have been doing better lately. But, to be honest, I don’t know if I want to keep it up. It takes a lot of effort and money to get stickers for each weekly layout. I would rather just write some stuff in and have a few cute stickers or boxes. BUT if I keep it like that, I feel like I could do that with any planner (instead of spending $50 on it).
THINGS I LIKE:
- Easy to customize
- Lots of fun stickers and layout options
- The dimensions of the book itself
- Three boxes for morning-afternoon-night
- Standard size – easy to find pretty stuff
THINGS I DISLIKE:
- Feeling the need to customize it too much – my planner looks blank when I don’t make a bunch of extra designs
- Not a lot of time for layouts/planning (prefer to just write in dates with a LITTLE extra effort or stickers)
- Expensive to buy enough stickers for every single week layout
- My cover always falls off at the top
- It’s thick and too heavy for my purse
- Not easy to clip in lists or other things
- Price around $50
Planner #2: Day Designer
When I found about Day Designer planners, I thought they may be perfect. They’re simple and to the point. You get a layout with hours/times so you can plan based on a schedule for each day. There’s no extra energy spent decorating it because it really isn’t that kind of planner. However, I kind of realized there wasn’t ENOUGH extra stuff to keep me interested! What I really needed was something between the plainness of the Day Designer and the extremely creative Erin Condren.
THINGS I LIKE:
- Straightforward as hell
- Hourly layout for actual scheduling
- Price! A bit over $20
- Lightweight, comparatively
THINGS I DISLIKE:
- Very big (width and height-wise)
- Kind of boring – no room for customization and doesn’t seem like stickers are meant to be used at all
- No design or customization options for the planner itself
Planner #3: Happy Planner
After kind of failing with the Day Designer too, I went back to my Erin Condren a little bit. I started buying stickers and getting hyped… but it really wasn’t enough! I liked sitting down and writing in it, choosing stickers and whatnot. Because of its size and just my lack of interest in bringing it to work for some reason, it stays on my desk, open to the week. I liked this option in general, but I wasn’t convinced I should spend over $50 next year on a new Erin Condren. ENTER THE HAPPY PLANNER!
THINGS I LIKE:
- Easy to decorate with stuff you can buy at the craft store – less reliance on Etsy and shipping prices, unless I want to!
- Pretty designs on each page, including special monthly pages to fill in (above)
- Ability to easily add inserts and pockets because instead of spiral-bound, there are rings that you can clip things on and off of
- Adding in new things that can stay there for a while; no need to do weekly layouts unless I want to or have time
- Add-in packs like household/meal planning folders and papers
- Price (plus I had a 50% off coupon at Michaels, meaning it was only $12.50!!)
THINGS I DISLIKE:
- About the same size as the Erin Condren
- Not as sturdy because it isn’t spiral-bound
Going Forward with Planning
As of December, I switched over to the Happy Planner, with different uses for my Day Designer. The Day Designer was set from June 2015 onward, so I have the ability to keep using it for much longer. The Erin Condren “ended” in December so I didn’t have the added pressure of continuing to use that in any way. I was able to make a clean break! So, here’s how I’ve been planning over the past month using my two planners.
Happy Planner for Life and Blogging
I am so happy – pardon the pun – with the Happy Planner. Spending $12.50 plus some money on inserts was such an awesome investment. I have plenty of Erin Condren stickers that actually fit nicely in this planner, but I don’t feel like I have to go sticker or layout crazy. I can set aside time whenever I want to do some planning or decorating. All of the folder inserts are very helpful to keep my stickers in place and keep pictures inside. It feel like I’m able to add things easily, compared to the EC, because of the rings holding it together. You can snap in folders or notepads easily. I also bought an insert for this planner that’s for “household planning.” I’m able to use budget sheets, to-do lists, cleaning organizers, etc. I still haven’t determined the best way to do it yet because there aren’t as many sheets to use. I don’t want to use them every week but would prefer a master cleaning list or monthly to do list maybe? Regardless, I don’t feel bad about leaving a week empty-ish because I spent $12 on the thing. It just makes me feel less guilty and less pressure.
Day Designer for Work
I keep the Day Designer on my desk at work because the hourly schedule really helps me. I can plan meetings, decide what to do for certain parts of the day, and also include a few after-work things. I like having it right next to my computer so I can use it and reference it throughout the day. I don’t know why I didn’t think about that before. It makes sense too because I can just leave it on the desk (especially over the weekends). Why bother bringing it home and attempting to fit it in my purse? I can write to-do lists, pencil in my lunch break, and track how much time I spend on certain tasks. Overall, this is a much better solution. I don’t need my work planner to be pretty – it just needs to be functional and helpful.
Coming Up Next…
I recently reorganized my reading note-taking process because what I was doing was NOT working for me. I’ll share how I take book notes nowadays, why I changed, and how I’ve improved using my Foxy Dori now that a certain notebook is no longer inside.
I do use a planner! I live off those things haha. For every day life+blog+I mean, really anything I use a Kate Spade planner. I like it because it has a full month view, then each week is spread across 2 pages. It’s kind of boring, just lines with a date, but I still like it because I like to make TONS of lists!
For more specific blog planning I actually just use the plugin editorial calendar in WordPress. I’m not a huge fan of having to go to something physical when working on something on the computer. Just too much stuff on my desk.
I feel you on that! I use Google Calendar to plan for my blog usually. But I just put the title of the post in my planner and jot down other ideas!
I currently use a passion planner for everyday and a traveler’s notebook for everything blogging related. I love how you listed pros and cons to each planner you reviewed.
Oh awesome! I’ve never heard of the Passion Planner; sounds cool!
I do not use a planner. I use Trello for my blog, Outlook at work (which I also add evening activities to), and then a regular wall calendar a home. And a TON of alarms on my phone and Swipes for longer term things I want to tackle.
Haha alarms are definitely helpful too!
I suck at planner. I like the idea of them but lack the effort to put in the time. I bought a Ban.Doo planner which is gorgeous and I hope I can stick to it!
Yeah, I usually have that issue too! haha
I loved getting a peek at your planner journey, and seeing what works for you. I currently have two planners that I use, mostly just for blogging – one that I carry with me in my FoxyDori, and one that I leave at the office. I actually have a post a little like this one in my drafts folder, so I won’t go into too much detail, but I’m pretty pleased to say that my little system is working for me 🙂
Yay! I want to see your post!!
The Happy Planner is definitely a good alternative to the Erin Condren. I’ve seen a lot of Youtube videos on it lately. Right now I’m loving my Erin Condren, but it’s new so I might change my mind after a few months.
I’ve been using Erin Condren planners since 2011 and I love them. However, in the past few years they’ve really exploded with the “customization” thing, and it’s a little stressful. when I first started using them decorating them wasn’t really a thing, except for the stickers it came with to mark important events. They also had a lot more decorations in how they were printed, where now I feel like the company leaves them more empty because they know people like to sticker/washi them (which I do occasionally, but now it looks a little blank if I don’t!)
For the Day Designer, where did you purchase it? It looks like something that would be great for work for me as well (I like to keep my personal planner separate) but on their website I see that they run $50+ dollars…
I got it at Target! They had some for $20ish around the summertime. I think they release them every six months maybe? There should be some out now!