I’ve had gadgets and gizmos a plenty — from the palm pilot (totally dating myself) to the iPhone. With each new device I believe I’ve found the key to organizing my life.
Between my full-time job (outside of the home), my freelance writing, my 9-year-old kid, and everything else that comes along with being a mother, wife, and human being — time feels likes it’s constantly slipping away. I have a constant “to do” and less than half is actually accomplished. I forget things all the time. I forget special occasions and important dates. I’ve even waited for the school bus with my son on days when there’s no school. Do not even get me started on all of the passwords.
It seems as if the older I get, the harder it is to keep track of things even with the latest tech at my fingertips. I didn’t want to depend on having my phone charged or being logged into my laptop. They work for some things, but not everything.
At the end of the day, I’m a write-it-down kinda gal. So in addition to my iPhone, iPad, and laptop, I have notebooks. And post-its, and excel spreadsheets, and random slips of paper. It’s messy.
I decided that 2016 was going to be the year I get myself together. I was going to go back to using a paper planner.
I’ve never considered myself to be OCD or Type A — though my husband may say otherwise. But more gets accomplished when I write things down. Things don’t fall through the cracks because I can physically see them and plan my time accordingly. I feel less stressed as I check things off my list. No matter what kind of day I had, if things are literally crossed off, I feel like I was productive.
The last planner I used was a basic (boring) one. If I was going to commit to having an end all, be all, life-changing planner — I wanted a cute one. So I did what any other person would do, I took to social media.
First step was (obviously) Google search: cute planner. Erin Condren immediately popped up and it was a name I recognized from my blogger friends. I spent about an hour looking through the site but I needed more. So then I went to YouTube because I wanted to see it. 110,000 videos about a planner. After watching a few videos, other planner videos started playing. That’s how I discovered the Plum Paper Planner. I watched video after video comparing it to the infamous Erin Condren. Then I asked a few blogger friends what planners they used. Everyone I asked gave me a different answer.
Many hours later I totally fell in love with a really cute planner and was heartbroken when it was sold out. How the hell could a 2016 planner be sold out when it’s still fall 2015? Who plans that far in advance? Hint: someone with a planner.
So it was back to the Internet for me.
By now, you’re probably thinking: choosing a planner, how hard could it be?
Yeah, I thought so too before searching Google, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, and Etsy. That’s when I realized how hardcore planning and planners could be. Did I want vertical or horizontal layout? Erin Condren or Plum Paper Planner? Personalization with my name or with my blog’s name? Chevron pattern or inspirational quote? All these decisions.
Then there were the little extras to pimp your planner out. The post-it’s, paper clips, and washi tape. I didn’t even know what washi tape was but planners love it. And the stickers. It’s all about THE STICKERS. Just type in #PlannerStickers on Instagram… (I even came across these super cute period stickers. I didn’t even think I’d want such a thing until I saw them on Etsy.) It’s like regressing back to 5th grade when sticker books were a thing. Except now you can use stickers and feel purposeful.
I knew that I wanted my planner to fit my personal, professional, and family needs. I wanted it to have a spiral bind. I wanted to be able to keep all the aspects of my life in one place. And yes, I wanted a vertical layout rather than horizontal. I didn’t think vertical versus horizontal would make or break it, but it did. The vertical layout just made more sense from an organizational standpoint.
I won’t tell you the exact number of hours of planner unboxing YouTube videos I watched (and rewatched) before I finally made my planner decision. (I may or may not have stayed up a few nights until the wee hours of the morning.)
My Plum Paper Planner is on its way and I can’t wait. (I was so excited about my planner, I convinced my best friend to order one too!) I’ve already ordered stickers from Etsy and a special planner pouch. All that I need is to buy some pens and highlighters to create a color coding system. I’m so ready to make my own unboxing and planner sticker haul video.
I’ve even found myself preparing for the planner by writing things down and making lists. Having a clear vision of what to do and how to plan has been helpful. So I’m eager to see what the planner will do.
I don’t know if it will change my life or if it will make me a more organized person. I don’t even know if I’ll follow through but I am willing to try.
Here are the top picks from my many hours of research:
1. Plum Paper Planner
This is the planner I ordered. There were so many cover options. And I loved that there were several ways to customize it, with add-ons like the Blog Planning Section and Bill Tracker pages. It was really affordable compared to the other planners I found.
2. Erin Condren
EC planners have a cult following. They are really pretty and offer lots of cute extras and accessories, though are pricier than others.
3. The Happy Planner
What I love about The Happy Planner is that it’s an expandable disc bound planner. Pages can be removed and put back with ease. And you can move sections around to truly customize how your planner organizes.
4. Danielle Laporte
I am obsessed with Danielle Laporte #TruthBomb. What I love about her planner is that it’s motivating and inspiring but it didn’t really fit my specific needs.
5. Bando Planners
I fell in love with the cuteness of these planners! They are small enough to just throw in your purse, which would be cool if I didn’t have so many other things to remember.