I’ve mentioned my planner a lot in previous posts so I thought it was about time to tell you how and why I use it. I’ve always liked planners but didn’t really know about the ‘planning world’ until I was at university and made friends with a certified planner addict. Together we discovered all about Filofaxes, Washi Tape, ‘unicorns’ and a community of people who love planners too.
Since then I’ve brought a few different planners; searching for what is know as planner peace – a planning setup that I’m really happy with and (here’s the important part) which enables me to plan effectively. I’ve had lots of pretty notebooks and binders that I loved the look of but barely wrote in. Similarly I’ve had fairly plain setups which, whilst allowing me to plan out everything well just didn’t inspire me. To get the perfect balance between form and function has been a journey, and I still don’t feel completely at ‘planner peace’ but I’m getting there.
My current planner
is the Kikki K Large Leather Time Planner in Teal*. I’m very happy with it, and since I brought it at the beginning of January I’ve used it pretty much every day. Here’s a few pictures of the outside and inside of the binder:
This is the outside of the planner which has an elastic closure. I prefer this to a press-stud as it means when the binder is really full it will stretch and not break. It’s one of my favourite colours, it’s large enough to (eventually) fit everything I want in it, and sturdy enough to be carried around in my bag.
This is my ‘action station’ when I first open the planner. The pockets on the left hold some bits and bobs; a few paperclips, some stamps, and a couple of little list pads for quickly jotting stuff down. Behind that there’s a big pocket where I keep any important documents I need at the moment. On the right I’ve got a clear ‘envelope’ which came with the planner. This is great as I can store stickers and little samples of washi tape here for decorating my planner wherever I am. There’s also a pen loop – I’m currently keeping my six colour pen* from Muji here. I’m pretty happy with the front section, I want to rethink what I keep in the pockets a little but generally I really like the storage available and the look of everything.
Behind this I’ve got some post-its and a nice quote on a dashboard, which I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of (I’ll post one on Instagram later) and then my planning sections start. At the moment I have 7 sections, some of which are set up, some which I need to make or buy inserts for. Each section sits behind a divider, which I’ve decorated a little to add some pretty to it:
As you can see I haven’t gone overboard with the decoration. I’ll probably change some of it over time but for now that’s what I’ve got 🙂 I like the sort of ‘random, pretty, inspirational’ vibe of my planner. I’m not massively artistic so it was what I could come up with fairly quickly and easily. I’m hoping to slowly improve my design skills as I go, but like I mentioned above the point isn’t just to look good.
My planner is a tool to help me stay organised
One place to put everything and help me remember important info, as well as tracking my goals and habits. Along with the apps I use, such as The Fabulous which I wrote about on Monday, my planner is my main organisational tool. I’m still working on this part of the planner (usually know as the layout) as I don’t feel like I’ve got it set up in the best way to support my productivity. I’ve taken a few pictures of the insides so you can get an idea what it currently looks like though:
My current inserts are the Kikki K ones which came with the planner and are A5 in size. The top image shows the first week in the planner, which I decorated a little but didn’t really plan much on. The two below that show half of last week, which has a lot more planning going on and my to-do list and checks from Tuesday. You can see I’ve started recording a lot more things in my weekly planner spread – from appointments to tracking the things I want to do each day, and also using colour coding to help (hence the 6 colour pen!) My planning isn’t perfect, and it’s often messy, but I think it’s better to be a bit messy and actually doing stuff than spending all my time fussing over making it look perfect and never actually getting on with stuff.
You may have noticed that I’ve written a number and ‘PD’ next to my to-dos. This is following on from my post about the Pomodoro Technique – I estimate how many Pomodoros I’ll spend on each task to help me plan out my day and keep track of how much time I have. I’ve only started doing this in the last few days, so I’ll see how effective it is once I’ve been doing it for a while. I’ve also started writing down all the habits I want to stick to so I can tick them off each day, and quickly see how I’m doing with them.
The last picture is my monthly spread, which I mostly use to keep track of blog things. I write down when I plan to publish posts and the topic for each one. This helps me see at a glance what I’ve got coming up so I can make sure everything is ready and plan out my social media on Hootsuite (I’ll write more about that in the future!) I’ve also started writing down events and notable dates to give me inspiration for future blog posts.
My layout is definitely getting to where I want it to be but it’s a work in progress
I’m always looking for inspiration for improving it. I was incredibly lucky recently to win a contest one of the women in the planner group I’m part of held. She was giving away part of a prize she’d won – very generously giving me my choice of planner up to the value of £40! I’m currently awaiting delivery of the amazing planner which I chose, I’ll make another post once I’ve got it. I’m pretty excited as I feel it could be a step towards planner peace for me.
Do you have a planner?
I’d love to see pictures of your layout and how you use it! Link me to your setup blog or post pictures for me. Also if you tag me @ yourbookbegins on Instagram or Twitter I can see and share your lovely planner pics 🙂
* I have not been paid or asked to promote these links. I really like the products, so I’m simply sharing where I got them in case you’d like to get them for yourself! If I ever do any sponsored or promotional posts I will make it very clear 🙂