I post about planners a lot. I know many of you probably think I'm ridiculous. And I am--unapologetically. But even though decorating my planner has become my hobby (some people scrapbook, I buy washi and planner stickers), I don't do this for the relaxing hobby. That's just a side benefit. The real reason I use one is because it's vital to my day. I'm running a business, writing, and being a wife and mom. It's a lot to keep track of.
But why a paper planner?
1. I have the memory the size of a garden pea.
I blame pregnancy. After I had my son, I think he took my memory with him because he can remember EVERYTHING (like to a freakish degree.) And I can't remember last week. But if I don't write something down, it's gone. The planner keeps me from forgetting the important stuff.
2. Electronic calendars don't work for everyone.
Yes, they have all kinds of fancy calendar and productivity apps and programs. That's what I tried to use before this. I learned quickly that once it's typed in, it's dead to me. I'm extremely visual so if it's not in my face, it doesn't exist. And when I set reminders, I'd just close them and then forget again. However, once I write something in my planner, even if it's not in front of me, I remember things better. Research has shown that writing things down helps us remember them and process them better, so there's some science to that.
3. I can't hide from it.
Yes, technically I can close my planner, but I don't. It sits open in front of me all day. There is no ignoring it. I can see clearly what I should be doing and that "mess around on twitter" is not on the To Do list.
4. Checking things off is highly satisfying.
It just is. I do something. Check mark! Maybe this comes from being a please-the-teacher student as a kid. I want the A. I want that checkmark. I don't want to look down at the end of the day and be left with a bunch of empty boxes and pending items.
5. Planning out each week makes me more intentional with my time.
Instead of sitting down and thinking, What should I do today? I already have my plan in front of me. On Sunday every week, I sit down with my planner and map out the week. Yes, there are surprises that will come up, but I have an outline of what I want to get done that week. How many words I need to write. Who I need to email. What promo I need to do. When I need to blog. What I'm cooking for dinner. What's going on with the family. With all those decisions out of the way, it clears my mind to do what I need to do and to be creative.
6. It keeps a visual record.
When did I turn in that thing? When did we go on that trip? I told you about my memory. So it's very helpful to have a physical record of what I've done. I can look back and see how many words I wrote in a month, what derailed me, where my time went, etc. And flipping through pages is way easier than scanning through an electronic calendar looking for that stuff.
7. Pretty things motivate me.
This may not be important to everyone, but for me, having something lovely that holds my plan makes me more likely to use it and stick with it. I look forward to decorating it and making it fun. It makes me smile when I see it.
Those are my main reasons, but there are so many more. The key is finding what works best for YOU. My husband is a die hard electronic calendar guy and it totally works for him. (He also has a great memory, so that helps.). Other people rather a simple list on a steno pad. Whatever works.
But if you want to give the pretty planner a try, it's launch season for 2017 planners. Here are a few that launched this week and some others. (IWP and Day Designer are affiliate links but I don't rec anything I haven't bought for myself and loved. And I haven't been asked to feature them.)
New 2017 Planners
1. Inkwell Press (Get 10 dollars off with my link)
This is my planner of choice right now and is the one I've stuck with the longest. I just ordered my 2017 one and I couldn't be more excited. Gorgeous design. Thick paper. And the layout totally works for me. I use the three boxes each day for Blog post, Dinner, and Word Count (see the pic at top of post), but you can use them for whatever you want, which is the beauty. And I divide each day down down the middle to separate appointments or events (on the left) and my to do list (on the right.)
2. Day Designer
I used Day Designer for a while and it's a beautiful planner and is perfect for someone who needs a daily layout instead of a weekly. So if you have a lot of daily appointments or you like to write out your full schedule along with your to do list, this is a great option. It's also nice to track your time after the fact to see where your day went.
You can get these at Michael's and Hobby Lobby, often with a 40% off coupon. They are colorful with great paper and designs. It's also a disc bound system so you can move pages around. I used a Happy Planner for a while and really liked it, but eventually figured out that a horizontal layout worked better for me than vertical. They've since come out with a horizontal but I like the Inkwell Press layout better still. This is a great option though and is cheaper than many of the others.
4. Erin Condren
I haven't personally used an Erin Condren, but I've looked at them at Staples and they are lovely. They are also the first brand that launched the decorative planner thing.
This is another one I haven't used but have heard great things about. You can customize with a number of different layout options and I've heard the paper is very high quality.
Hope that helps! Anyone getting a new planner for 2017? Do you use a planner? An electronic calendar? How do you keep your life straight?