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Discussion for Planner Addicts, Casual Users and Newbies/Wannabes

DebraDebra Posts: 696Member
I'm starting this thread for discussion on using a day/week/month/life planner.

There is a Planner Addict Box thread here: for information specific to the box. This thread is more for suggestions, discussion and help with selecting a planner, using it, tips and tricks, etc...(there is a lot of that in the Planner Addict Box thread too...should we cut/paste?)

Ideas for discussion:
Do you use a planner or how do you plan or organize your day/life?
What planner or method do you use....brand, layout, size, other features....and why?
How did you start planning?
How do you use your planner throughout the day?
Do you decorate your planner (if paper)?
Do you use your planner as a journal as well as appts/to-do/etc?
What other planners are out there that look interesting?
App vs. paper? What apps are out there and do they work?

Pictures are welcome and encouraged! Are we allowed to post videos or links to videos? If so, those are also encouraged!

Tagging some participants from The Planner Addict Box thread, I'm not intentionally leaving anyone off! I hope for a lot of participation!

@misanthropic789 @chelsear @JennG @Natlovesmelody @clarkie @lewis_katie08 @HappyWife @lisad @strmama2 @chris


  • misanthropic789misanthropic789 Posts: 931Member
    Thanks for starting this! I will add the resources I have:

    Spreadsheet of Planners (feel free to add items):
    Shared Evernote Folder of Sample PDFs:
  • NatlovesmelodyNatlovesmelody Posts: 3,412Member
    @Debra I am developing a BULLET JOURNAL. Pinterest piqued my interest and then went to website and YouTube for more info. Needed something on paper, I TOTALLY FAILED with the iPhone apps and was missing appointments. I have not missed an appointment since I went back to paper!
  • misanthropic789misanthropic789 Posts: 931Member
    @Natlovesmelody so in a bit of irony, after all that research and then 6 months with the passion planner, I am also playing with a bullet journal. Then I can include my notes at work in the same book as my schedule. I like the idea that I can keep changing it if it isn't working for me at any given time. The biggest issue is that I kind of hate my handwriting.... We shall see...
  • lisadlisad Posts: 2,376Member
    I find if I decorate mine with stickers and use fun color pens I actually use it. I use one for home and work currently. I have the polka dot from LLB that I really really love and I'm going to have to buy a new one in a few months. I'm also a lefty and have large handwriting so i need alot of writing room. I may have to explore a bullet journal format.
  • DebraDebra Posts: 696Member
    Hi @Natlovesmelody Well, now I need to look at what the bullet journal is! I haven't ever heard of that!

    @misanthropic789 thanks so much for posting your links! I also kind of hate my handwriting too...

    @lisad do you have two planners or use the same one for work and home? Right now I have two. Sort of. I'm wondering if that's the best way to go rather than trying to cram everything into one...
  • lisadlisad Posts: 2,376Member
    @Debra I currently am using one for both work and home, I tried using seperate ones but it was too much to keep up with I found.
  • DebraDebra Posts: 696Member
    @lisad that's my dilemma, I'm not sure what's best/more efficient....I mentioned in the other post so pardon me if I'm repeating myself....I have an Erin Condren planner in the vertical layout and use the three daily sections for work appts/meetings, home to-do/appts and "other work". I couldn't fit my work to-do in the section, so I'm using that Blue Sky (PSMH) planner for my work to-do and just leave it at work all the time. I've started thinking about using 2 of the 3 sections for work - meetings in one and to-do in the other - but I really think that sucks. I shouldn't be planning my life around work. It really bothers me thinking I have to do that. But realistically, the "other work" section is hardly ever used because I really just don't have time right now to build that side business....and that's depressing so I would rather it be blank and staring me in the face so i keep remembering that I need to do something else to get away from my oppressing job.

    I'm sorry. That was TMI wasn't it? LOL. I'll just have another Redd's and go to bed.
  • SarahFrancesSarahFrances Posts: 628Member
    I want all the planners. And all the planner supplies. And all the papercrafting supplies that I can use to make more planner goodies. I won't even tell you how many planners I have (I'm still fine-tuning my system), but I'm currently using three consistently: one for work, one for home/personal, and a smaller one that I carry everywhere and basically use as a docking spot for notes, lists, and appts. Because I'm getting more into mixed media journaling, I'm going to try splitting my personal planner into two - one that is primarily functional, and one that is more of a journal/memory planner. This is kind of an obsession with me; I spend a lot of my free time playing with paper and messing around with graphic design software. Not to mention that I basically can't function without a paper planner. I'm so inherently disorganized and absent-minded that if it doesn't go in the planner it might as well not exist.

    I'm currently coveting the Filofax Malden in ochre. I keep dropping hints that it would make an awesome Christmas present, but I think my boyfriend is personally offended by how much it costs.
  • NatlovesmelodyNatlovesmelody Posts: 3,412Member
    edited July 2016
    @misanthropic789 I don't do pretty.......I would never get anything done. Using the same tape I used for swap box shipping, I attached a 18 month calendar. I function better with it's layout and DID NOT want to spend the time or energy drawing my own. What I am finding extremely practical is having EVERYTHING in one place. I will show you a few pics of initial set up. Definitely, this BULLET JOURNAL and me are works in progress
  • mini2zmini2z Posts: 2,352Member
    I bought an Erin Condrin last year and it was just too big and it ends in August? Anyhow I bought a one it's a book size - photo is side by side. The new one has until December 2017 which I need for Dr. Appointments BUT I will get a notebook so I can use my personalized covers
  • chelsearchelsear Posts: 1,912Member
    edited July 2016
    @Natlovesmelody I really like the method you use, the bullet journal. I started to list out my to dos and ended up with three separate lists to tuck into my planner instead of a few to dos nicely written in each date.... I think I need to do a bullet journal to start and then maybe write in dates next to each that I need to do each thing. Or start with a bullet journal and then move the items from the to-do list onto dates in a planner. Maybe that would work for me? No matter what, I will have multiple lists. The first three I made yesterday while trying to start planning this weekend and next week in my planner were:
    1. Ideas for this weekend (places to go, errands to do, and people i am hoping to spend time with)
    2. Work to dos (phone calls to make, emails to send, stuff to check on, tasks to finish, etc)
    3. Work trips to plan (I travel for my job 50-75% of the time so tend to keep a running list somewhere with all the trips I need to plan and customers/sites I need to visit next)

    I also need to make lists for Birthdays and Gift Ideas, Fun Trips to do next, Packing list (which will change based on whatever my next trip is, but I ALWAYS have a packing list somewhere!!), Meals to make from the freezer/pantry (on a mission to use up the contents of the freezer and pantry), Stuff to buy (stuff to keep an eye out for to purchase, also my grocery list), stuff to organize (what are my next organizing projects to tackle when I have time?), Personal To Dos (appts to make, things to cancel, bills to pay, etc), and Books to Read. Making each of these in a separate place is what I did before yesterday. Having each on a separate random piece of paper I have to keep tucked in a planner is not much better and that is what I have today. One notebook with lists that I keep in addition to the planner is maybe the solution for now. That way, I can transfer the short term task-oriented to dos into the planner and still have my running lists of to dos. Things are not forgotten if they are written down and in front of me (meaning not on a post it I accidentally threw away). Once things get marked off the planner, I can mark them off the To Do list.

    Okay I think this is a good place to start and a tackle-able project because I have half of these to do lists done already, they are just scattered, and then I can definitely start working on the others. I just need to find ONE NOTEBOOK THAT IS PAPER (not electronic) to write ALL OF THESE IN.

    @Natlovesmelody BTW LOVE the graph paper!! It really speaks to the engineer in me. I definitely think I need my notebook to have graph paper. You can write so much more because you are forced to write smaller! That was my favorite part of it in college. I would use it for non-math oriented classes, too, because I could easily fit twice as much on a page compared to lined paper. Plus, um, it is all perfectly lined up and so nice and neat! Great idea!
  • NatlovesmelodyNatlovesmelody Posts: 3,412Member
    @chelsear has journals available with the graph paper design. Check out BULLET JOURNAL IN Pinterest. There are ALL KINDS of ideas. I think I am listed as Melody Rowe or Natlovesmelody. You can check out ideas I have accumulated.
  • DebraDebra Posts: 696Member
    @Natlovesmelody I just watched the video on the Bullet Journal website and WOW, I really like that method! I'm going to try to incorporate that into my current EC and hoping I can because I already bought an EC for 2017.... @mini2z I agree about the size! I really wish they'd offer a smaller size.

    If it doesn't work though, I'm already thinking I can use that method for the "other work" category of my life! I think it would really help keep me on task.

    @chelsear I use multiple lists too, try as I might to incorporate into daily/weekly/monthly schedule it just doesn't work sometimes. I've used the "brain dump" method often lately to help me stay on the task at hand, then try to go back thru the brain dump list and organize it....I end up with several lists stuffed into the EC planner.

    Work in progress ... :)

  • misanthropic789misanthropic789 Posts: 931Member
    Bullet Journals: check out as well as and

    The idea is that you take a plain notebook and make it into the planner you actually need. You don't try to pre-organize pages, you keep an index. I've included some pictures of mine, but the idea is that you put in the pages/layouts you need, skip the ones you don't and intersperse your notes as need be. You can keep separate to do lists by context (GTD) or function (work / home / etc), or just keep one big one. For me, daily to do lists don't actually help me. However I DO keep a GTD style project list separate from my to do list, since projects have multiple steps and therefore need to be broken down further.

    To give you an idea, I am developing 6 graduate-level college courses, have my work to do items, and tend to have a lot of clear time each week with just a few scheduled items, a ton of BIG projects that need breaking down and then notes on meetings. So I focus on a WEEKLY 2 page spread. The top is for my calendar items, the main middle portion is for my to dos for the week and then on the bottom I have a habit tracker. That element is still evolving. (Actually the whole thing is.)

    I am not wild about my handwriting, but I do like the evolving format and am getting better about putting EVERYTHING in here.

  • misanthropic789misanthropic789 Posts: 931Member
    Notes: the busy page is this current week. I added an affirmation, but I wrote it too big. Same goes for the habit tracker. The little habit tracker is next week (and yes, I am still evolving what habits I am tracking.)

    The rest-of-the-year calendar uses stamps for the months - I can't write like that.

    Each course has a page where I am keeping notes on this to do as I develop the course. If I run out of space, a new page will get moved to the end and the index updated.

    Sorry the pictures are so big.

    I also have some stuff pinned - rtbarber is my pinterest id (Melody, there are actually a bunch of Melody Rowe's, but you come up under @natlovesmelody)
  • misanthropic789misanthropic789 Posts: 931Member
    Oh, I am using a Leuchtturm 1917 A5/Medium dotted hard cover notebook - the pages are numbered FOR you and there are index pages in the front of the book. It uses dots instead of lines. I've also played with a moleskin for this purpose, but I kind of like having the pages numbered for me.
  • DebraDebra Posts: 696Member
    @misanthropic789 love that habit tracker, and I just added it to my planner! Great idea! I also love the affirmation - what you wrote and also the idea of adding one for the week. I am going to try that also. Thanks for the pictures!
  • misanthropic789misanthropic789 Posts: 931Member
    @debra - good plan - hopefully you can do better than I did this week. I think the only thing I will finish for the whole week is flossing daily....which is kind of sad
  • mini2zmini2z Posts: 2,352Member
    I just want say you're all my heroes - so organized, I start out that way but nope I'm a mess
  • foreveramyforeveramy Posts: 63Member
    I've always liked the idea of a bullet journal, and I actually follow Tiny Ray of Sunshine on Instagram, but I'm horrible at keeping up with journals/planners. I start off with good intentions but then it all goes downhill and I get lazy. :tongue:
  • lisadlisad Posts: 2,376Member
    I may try out the bullet journal format, love the look!
  • misanthropic789misanthropic789 Posts: 931Member
    @mini2z We all do. STAYING organized is the hard part. It has to become a habit and it needs to be easy. For me that was why I moved to the bullet journal. I was finding that I didn't have enough room in the passion planner for all of my tasks, especially when I was breaking them down to actionable items. In the bullet journal, if you need more room you just turn the page.

    @foreveramy The hard part on instagram is controlling my handwriting jealousy. So many of those examples are STUNNING - colorful, neat AND organized. As you saw from mine, even before the week starts my pages look a but messy. They get worse as the week progresses.

    @lisad the great thing is that a bullet journal can have whatever look you want. I like color, but for someone who has a minimalist flare it can accomodate that as well. On the other hand, if you search pinterest/instagram for bullet journal there is a TON of inspiration.
  • misanthropic789misanthropic789 Posts: 931Member
    I should point out that bullet journal flexibility may not work for everyone - there is something really nice about the structure of an EC or one of the other packaged planners.
  • mini2zmini2z Posts: 2,352Member
    I wish someone would make a bullet journal with some tags at the top of pages and stuff because really my writing is BAD
  • DebraDebra Posts: 696Member
    Speaking of handwriting....I have messy writing but right now am frustrated that I can't write TINY. The Blue Sky planner seems to have small spaces. Or I have way too many tasks to do in a day at work. Interesting observation because the EC vertical columns are not very large either but I've managed to make that work. Maybe I need the bullet journal for work so I have plenty of room to write. I'll have to think about that this weekend.

    @mini2z maybe you could print your own labels for the tops of the pages? They make printer labels in all sizes these days and even full-sheet (no cut-outs) that you could cut your own as you see fit.
  • misanthropic789misanthropic789 Posts: 931Member
    - I've got some stamps that I use so I don't have to look at JUST my handwriting. Unfortunately they can bleed through a bit.
    - I saw one girl who used clear matte address labels, then printed the days of the week onto those in a pretty font.
    - You can also get STENCILS for the common elements - lists, dates, days of the week, months, banners, boxes, etc. That can help neaten things up a LOT. Etsy has a ton, as does amazon.
    - Interestingly there are a BUNCH of pins on pinterest that show you HOW to draw a lot of the pretty decorations - you can look at my board for a few but there are many more.

    And of course the guy who came up with the bullet journal worked with one of the best notebook companies (leuchtturm) to create an official bullet journal notebook that has some of the basics. None of the pretty stuff, though.
  • misanthropic789misanthropic789 Posts: 931Member
    @Debra Interestingly there is an ancillary community to bullet journaling around improving handwriting. Mine isn't terrible, but I type far more than I write so it isn't even, consistent or objectively attractive. I have decided to start spending 15 minutes per day practicing writing slowly and precisely in order to try to improve my writing.
  • mini2zmini2z Posts: 2,352Member
    Ha @Debra that is really funny! My daughter moved the working printer into her room and it's under her desk somehow and if I ask her to print something it's like I'm tort hearing her
  • DebraDebra Posts: 696Member
    @mini2z haha I had to laugh at that. When my kids lived at home, they also acted like I was torturing them if I needed to get on the computer and printer!

    @misanthropic789 this may sound like an odd question, but how are you practicing? Is there a program, or are you writing something in particular, or did you mean that bullet journal community? Do you have a link?

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