I started this blog as mostly a planner-ish themed blog. And, although I have spun out into multiple other topics including literary reviews, op-ed pieces, tea spilling, and whatever the hell this was… I do still enjoy writing about planners and the “lifestyle” around the hobby.
The problem is that 2020 came, went, and blew all established routines to bits… and that included planning. How can you make plans in a planner when there are no plans to be made?
As things slowly started to settle, plans started getting made again, and my 2021 planner situation looks a bit different than my 2019 one. Obviously life changes in two years, pandemic notwithstanding. I’ve found myself in a happy domestic partnership with TWO fur children and someone else’s plans to keep an eye on. My work situation has changed a wee bit with a new fully remote job.
Current Planner Stack
A Daily Planner that can double as a Scrapbook:
I finished 2020 in a Plum Paper and switched to a Lights Planner Action CJ Coil for 2021. I recommend both; the switch was based on slight difference in paper preference and deep love for Bess at LPA. The important thing for me became being able to include snapshots – both literal and figurative – of life as it happened. I loved being able to print off photos and include them in the weeks while still having enough space to keep track of appointments and routines.
An “Ugly” Daily Planner:
It’s taken me a long time to realize that my “pretty” planner and my “functional” planner didn’t have to be the same planner. I love stickers and I love color, but sometimes you need something that isn’t IG ready at all times. I have a Passion Planner that I use for work and, other than some color coding via Mildliners, it’s plain and scribbled in. It’s also to remain unphotographed due to some of the data I track in there because *privacy concerns*.
I’m a little ashamed to admit what a game changer this has been, but goddamn it’s been a game changer. I feel less guilty using my stickers for aesthetics knowing that I won’t “ruin” them with inevitable scribbles. I feel better about writing down some more sensitive information because I know I won’t ever post it online or bring it out at a planner event (remember those?) It’s another layer of boundaries between the things I love and the pressure I feel to constantly be busy with work (old habits die hard).
The Bookworm Life Planner:
Being at home in a lockdown meant rediscovering my love of reading. I credit this planner to helping me successfully complete a couple different readathons and going over on my Goodreads goal. Although this year I am not doing quite as well with staying on top of reading, I do still get a kick out of updating when my Book of the Month is coming and how long it’s taken me to slog through some “popular” books.
I am a slut for notebooks. That’s it. That’s the post.
As much as I love my planners to track my thoughts, I still need a place to collect and organize them. I’ve tried so many different things but I always come back to a plain ol’ notebook. Usually with a funky cover. Currently, it’s a Lisa Frank revival and my 90s kid heart is happy.
The thing I love about a notebook is that it’s (usually, but not always) pretty cheap and you can shred it up while you figure your shit out. Time to take the grocery list to the store? *rip* Your Monday to-do list get negated by a minor crisis in your email? *rip* Need a projectile to throw at your partner for his mechanical keyboard clacking being loud enough to wake the beasts of hell? *rip*
I’ve also really been enjoying my “brain dump” time and those have been living in my notebooks. It’s another post unto itself, but I seriously think that brain dumping has been the missing link between feeling some kind of way about somethings and actually making moves to change those things.
I fought the Apple takeover for as long as I could, but when you’re dating a tech guy you end up adapting the same tech he uses. The thing is… being able to sync all my calendars and notes between ALL of our devices is really handy, especially when it comes to things that both of us need to pay attention to.
iCal is really what does it for me; I can integrate just about everything into it and have it on whatever device I’m looking at. Yeah there is an issue with dupe events when it’s pulling from email and Google and manual entry, but I’d rather be over reminded than under reminded.
The bonus is that when I slack off on the paper planner, I have a pretty good record of what I did that week between the calendar entries, random notes I wrote, and that week’s photos.
A Bastardized Version of Organize 365’s Basket System:
I tried reading (and ended up DNF) Lisa Woodruff’s book “The Paper Solution: What to Shred, What to Save, and How to Stop It From Taking Over Your Life“, and although it ended up losing me about halfway through, I did really like her basket system but like… I needed the version that didn’t involve kids and a husband. So I borrowed ideas from it and created my own version with some things from Target. All random slips of paper go into a designated folder and every week (or two… ish), I go through and put things where they belong, either physically or online.
The other nice thing about this is that it gives me a small “collection” space for upcoming event items, like birthday gifts or trip prep. I’ve also got my paper form “brag items” on hand for when imposter syndrome strikes. Overall, it’s a slightly more organized junk basket that works with my scatterbrain lifestyle.
Unfollowing & Unsubscribing From Most Groups and Accounts:
I started this in 2019, but this was a strong theme for 2020 into 2021 in more than just planner stuff. Nothing personal about leaving; I just didn’t need to see every single new pen released when I’m more than happy with my Black Papermate Flairs for almost everything. Not seeing all the things means not buying all the things. My bank account is breathing a little easier for that.
The question I always have at the end of a planner stack analysis is “Is this Planner Peace?” And my answer is… I guess. Let’s face the fact that “Planner Peace” is probably a myth put out by Big Planner, or at least a subjective matter of opinion. That being said, for the time being I do feel fairly peaceful with the current set up I have now. Will all that change once the 2022 lines really start getting underway? Probably.
What do your planner stacks look like these days? What am I missing? Let me know in the comments!