I’ve talked so many times about my desire to use planners… and the various kinds I’ve failed at actually using. I had a whole ~organization~ series on the blog and I don’t use nearly ANY of those methods anymore. I’m going to call a spade a spade and just tell it like it is: I am so effing lazy. I love planning for the first week or maybe even month, then I lose all motivation. This honestly happens regardless of how “pretty” or “not pretty” I decide to make my planners. I’ve gone through so many options since 2014 and it’s exhausting to waste money and time when I ultimately write my grocery list on a sticky note and call it a day.
You can scroll through the history of my planners here: Traveler’s Notebook, Erin Condren/ Day Designer/ Happy Planner, and Bullet Journal (no post because LAZY FAILURE). I’ve tried having little notebooks for each “topic” or are of my life. I’ve tried planners with fun layouts and stickers. I’ve tried plain planners with hourly boxes to schedule legit things out. I’ve tried completely free and wide-open planners, where you can be creative and design your own pages. Seriously, I’m too lazy for all of them. I only want to work on them when I’m really in the mood, but then I refuse to use them at ALL if they’re not “prettied up.” For example, I should still use my bujo for to-do lists but just keep it simple, if I’m not in the mood to decorate. Do I do that? No, of course not. I refuse to write anything in it unless it’s all decorated and colorful. And then I don’t WANT to decorate it, so the cycle repeats forever and ever. The Happy Planner and Erin Condren planners are SO nice and I really love the idea of using so many stickers, but I just am also too lazy and cheap for that. The Day Designer is good for work because it has hourly times blocked off, so I do still kind of use that on my desk at work.
What I Need
So, after all my bitching about how nothing works, what do I legitimately need from a planner?
- Day boxes and breakdowns: I love having individual boxes to plan out the parts of my day. The EC and HP both had “morning,” “afternoon,” and “night” boxes (or something like that), so you could spread stuff out. The only issue was that I don’t plan anything in the morning usually. I do run errands on my lunch break but that’s about it for during work activities, since I use my Day Designer for actually planning out my workday. Maybe some unlabeled boxes would help me with this.
- Not-day-specific to-do list: I need one big to-do list area for the things I should accomplish within the week, but have no actual due date for. There are things like mailing books or boxes out, shopping for a few household items without a real deadline, etc. I need the open space to add items to and cross off.
- Maybe some creative flexibility: The most I really could use or need for creativity and design is a little color for headers? I want to write my actual items in plain black pen so I can do it anywhere, without needing my entire pouch of colored pens. This avoids the whole issue of color coding things and feeling pressure to keep it up. Sometimes I just need to write something in quickly.
- Separate planners: I like the idea of having separate planners for certain things, instead of cluttering one up too much. Having a main planner is helpful for important deadlines, but I don’t need to record the books I’m reading among my other appointments. Keeping that separate helps me out more. Same with work. Why stress myself out by putting work-related stuff in my personal planner at home? It won’t help me at all. I can leave my work one on my desk, keep my personal one in my purse, and leave my reading/blogging one at home.
Long story short, I came across the Do It All Planner (Bold Blossoms) on a blog, then found YouTube videos, then found Pinterest links… and I decided to take the plunge. I had a gift card to B&N and found that the one I wanted was on sale for $7 at one location, so I picked it up that day! (I can’t feel THAT bad about it if I fail, right?). There are still some on Amazon and in other stores, so feel free to check it out.
Why might this one work for me?
It pretty much hits all the things I listed above. It offers a lot more flexibility than other planners, while still having the same daily structure I like. Here are more specifics:
- Unlabeled boxes for each day, plus “this week” section: As you can see below, I added my own labels for each box. This is perfect because there are 5 small boxes and one large box for each day, plus the same setup for “this week.” I label them as follows:
- Large box: general to-do list for the day
- Small boxes from top to bottom:
- All day (birthdays, all-day events, reminders)
- AM (before work or during the morning hours at work)
- Lunch (errands to run on my lunch break)
- PM (during the afternoon hours at work or general afternoon plans)
- Dinner (dinnertime info, including the meal and actual plans)
- Monthly layouts: The month pages have small calendars then lines for notes underneath. I like the idea of using that note section for a few things – goals, birthdays listed, etc. The dates themselves get the “big events” of those days, if I need a quick glimpse of my month.
- A bit of creativity with stickers: I plan to sift through my old planner stickers to see if I want to keep some of them for fun, but this planner also has a few sticker sheets in the front! They’re basic square stickers with images and labels for pretty much anything. You can maybe see below I used a “nail appointment” sticker on the 19th and a MLK Day sticker for the 16th. It’s nice to have space for decorations but not be completely dictated by weekly layouts and decorative stickers.