Thursday, January 7, 2016

New year new you?

I love the idea of reinvention and rebirth in the new everything in your life is going to be fixed by a fresh sheet of paper and a list.  I'm always just a perfect organization system away from world domination.  

Oddly, with a week off I didn't really have the time for introspection and planning that I had anticipated.  I think I wasted it on Criminal Minds reruns. 

via Overstuffed; see her Pinterest board devoted to planners here

I tend to switch planners every year....sometime a mid-year switch is in order if I picked poorly.  So what have I learned from collecting planners? (Literally collect-- I say it is related to a business plan I'll never execute but I have TONS of planners as "research" in addition to the planners I actually use.)

  • Doing some initial introspection (a la Whitney English) is tough, but good.  If one of the top three things you want your children to remember from their childhood is baking, you best schedule some time for that.  Want to see extended family more?  Might need to reassess using all of your vacay time on a solo hike.  But it is not necessary to do such introspection as part of your planner, or before you start using your planner, or necessarily at the beginning of the year.  If you want to focus on other hurdles, like actually using a planner first, that is OK.  

  • Resolutions include lessons/classes for you or your kids?  Seasonal goals (e.g., learning to ice skate)?  Squeezing in an Upholstery Class can be tough, but it will be impossible once soccer season starts.  Likewise, knowing when the new gymnastics term starts is key since you can't join in the middle.  I do not think it is necessary to evaluate before you start a new planner--it is really just that the quicker you research dates, the better off you are.  

  • Using one of the web-darling daily systems (Whitney English, Erin Condren, Emily Ley, etc.) is time consuming.  Cult members will tell you that you get that time back, but its hard to start (to date, I've never kept it up a whole 12 months).  Its nice to write down what is for dinner tonight on your daily planner page--you know what you have to do when you walk through the door and you remember that you should pick up a baguette on the way home.  But that also means you have to fill out your planner when you are meal planning.  And the color coding?  I get itchy thinking about that inevitable time, 17 days after I start using the planner, that I can't find the lavender felt tip pen I decided to use for fitness goals and suddenly EVERYTHING IS RUINED.  (They sell special accessories to keep your pens and tabs and tape with your planner, know.  Me.)

  • Formats are everything.  I was completely obsessed with a particular format in high school--2 page weekly spreads divided (at the appropriate intervals) by two page monthly spreads.  I went back to it recently, having abandoned it for chicer choices, and I was a little disappointed to see it didn't really work for me anymore.  I currently have a massive to do list without due dates, often prioritized by who yells loudest.  Oh, and that is just work.  I also have home-owner/mom shit to do like calling plumbers and ordering cupcakes.  I'm still searching for a format that makes sense of all that.  When you find your format, never let it go.  Until it stops working.
  • Binding/Paper is also everything.  Its got to be functional, which I define as fits in my bag, looks good, wears well and the paper is smooth and bleed-proof.  For me, high quality spiral bound is the way to go--I wish I liked hole-punch/binder or even a disc system, but so far they haven't felt "official" enough.  
  • Having a "Top Three Things that Must Get Done Today" list is really helpful if you are a listmaker and your to do list is a three-ring binder, divided by areas of your life.  That seems to be popping up more on daily and weekly formats, and I'm a fan.
  • If you use a daily format, I love having a glasses of water and a vitamins reminder.  I also like the idea of having what is for dinner written down, but I don't always do it...

    I bought these last year.  Might just stick with this format.....
  • Be skeptical of the planner that wants to be your one and only planner/repository of information/lists.  I've yet to really find the food diary, work-out journal, meal planner, mom-scheduler, work/life calendar that actually worked (and even if it did, I bet it would weigh a ton).  
Rainbow Bridge Astrological calendar available here

Still uncommitted for 2016 like me?

If you are ready to be inducted into a cult, this  review  was a pretty good accounting of the major systems.  You can also check out  this one  out of Australia (from Fat Mom Slim)--it has a mix of cult systems and stylish planners.   Yeah, some are sold out :(  But it was just this time a few years ago that I decide to wait 11 months for a Whitney English planner, so the research could still be worth it.

via Kayse Pratt, and her still relevant 2014 Planner Review 

If you don't want to pay $50+ and you think you can handle a DIY binding, these self-professed organization nerds provide their planner for free.  

I HATE undated planners.  I don't really understand why they even exist.  That said, I've been looking for an excuse to order off Mochi Things for some time, and this folding planner looks pretty amazing.  Also totally sold out, so the dateless thing might be in my best interest.  

Right now, this is my top contender.  I can have it start next month, and their Weekly Option 4 may work for my to-do list vs. appointment needs.  Their covers and graphic design are not quite my taste, but at $31 I'm willing to gamble that it won't be enough to deter use.

Everybody needs a wall calendar, right?  One you write on or one you just reference.  I love the ones from Paper Source, but I cheap out almost every year!  What is wrong with me.....

Buy it here

I could cheap out again since there are a ton of free options--here are a couple round-ups of free (or mostly free) printable calendars.  So if no one bought you a calendar for Christmas, here you go:

Think I'm crazy?  Have I alienated the non-planners and digital planners as well as the type-As who figured their shit out 2 months ago and are scandalized by a calendar post this far into the year?

Tell me your preferred method of planning--daily vs. weekly, paper vs. digital...whatever.  I'll use it as market research for that business plan I'll never execute :)


  1. Oh my goodness. The make-it-yourself options are nuts. I would need an assistant just to fill them out let alone accomplish the items listed.
    Amazing. I love the wall calendars and a simple planner. I am a daily in a large format person. Having two places to record things is the end of me recording things.

  2. The MOCHI trifold is no longer in production.If anyone finds a comparable let me know.