Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Scheduling and Planning

Hi, my name is Danielle and I'm a little bit obsessive about planning.  If it doesn't get written down in the planner it doesn't happen!  A couple of years back I started color coding things, for easier reference at a glance, and it also makes things look prettier.  I use red for Church stuff, yellow for school stuff, and a different color for each of us.  Gary is navy blue, I'm green, Britt is baby blue, Ruth is pink, Rebecca is purple and the dog is brown.  I mark trip or visits from family in orange.

I mark birthdays and anniversaries so that I don't forget.  I note everything that has a set time on the monthly spread.  For me it's the most useful part of the calender.  I normally use the side margins to make notes, that I might want to flip back to, some that I pulled out of last year's calender to note for this year were the phone number to the JC Penny portrait studio, the directions to our polling place, and some notes about when would be good times in the year to plan trips home.

However, the bulk of the pages in a planner, I've never really known what to do with.  I don't have things that have to be done in a particular order or time, and I've never liked the vertical, hourly blocks.  I typically use them for journaling either what went on during the day, or whatever I am thinking about.  Gary jokes that the journaling keeps me sane.  I can make sense of things, and write things that shouldn't be posted for the rest of the world to see.  It is nice stress relief.  I also being able to look back and see funny things the kids said or did, and it's nice to be able to see that I did accomplish something, looking through my check list.

In the past, I've always just used a generic planner, usually from Staples or Home Depot.  However, last year even the off brand, most basic models were $35 a piece.  This year I heard about Erin Condren Life Planners, and went to check them out.  At first, I thought I'm not about to spend $50 on a planner.  They are gorgeous and all, and personalized, but still.  Then I saw where I could get a $10 off coupon on one.  That really didn't make it much different in price, but still I hemmed and hawed about getting one, because some things are really different.

But, I did, and let me say, I LOVE my new planner.  I went ahead and paid the extra $5 to get the rest of this year, along with next year, and I'm already using it.  I also, got some repositionable labels to sped my color coding process.  Those were the best investment.  I will never go back to shading everything in with a color pencil again.  Plus, I have had to try to erase the colored pencil, and use white out on the pen, and it ends up messing looking, something my OCD self can't stand.  I was really tickled to open up the box and find in addition to the stuff I ordered, she threw in a few extras.  In every order she throws in some of her labels and cards, made out for birthday gifts, book labels, other gifts, a few looked like my cover with our names on it and everything.  Some inspirational quotes.  Really nice cute stuff.

The first big difference is in the size.  The old planner is printed on regular sized paper, where as the new one is a bit smaller.  It does fit nicely in my purse now.  I always use to keep it in a extra bag or the diaper bag or the car.  The one worry was that I wouldn't have enough space to write.  I am writing smaller, but it's worked out all right.  Another improvement is that the coil on my Staples planner is not sturdy, my back cover and some of the pages are always coming loose.  The coil on the EC Planner is really great, it turns really well, and doesn't come apart alot.

I've been using mine for a month now.  I started out doing what I always do, adding in Church dates, everyone's birthdays and anniversaries, when Kita needs her heartworm preventative, little stars to mark payday, and any other notes I'm carrying over from last year.  I wasn't completely sure how I would make the daily section work.  It's very different from what I've used in the past.  To work for those who like hourly sections and those who don't.  EC divides a day into three sections: morning, day, and night.  The list are also vertical.  I saw were some folks online cover it all in washi tape, and make a ton of squares and columns.  Others cover the labeled sections and change them into things like school, work, and home.  There are tons of youtube videos and tutorials if you search for EC Life Planners.

I found more than just ideas though, when I was looking around online and thinking about if I wanted to get one or not, so I took the plunge.  I found out that tons of people actually do more than just plan and note, but that they decorate, almost like scrapbooking.  I thought it was a neat idea, and picked up some sticker books for $1 at AC Moore.  I spiced up my monthly spreads.

Then I came back to the question of what to do with the daily spreads.  When I picked up the sticker books, I got a few rolls of washi tape.  Very cool!  Much easier to use than the thin cut scrapbooking paper, that I used to use for borders and stuff.  Anyway I decided to run them along the bottoms of the page, and add in some stickers.  I'm using the bottom lines on Monday to track my weight, and just need one line to note exercise in the week, so it was a nice place to spruce up. 

And it turns out even with my journaling, and in some places I'm now making to do list or errand list, I often have some space left over in my days.  So here and there, I've added some thick washi tape, or sticker sheets cut to size.  I'm really really enjoying my happy looking planner.  I've really been wanting to get back to scrapbooking, but I feel like I need to go back to where I stopped and go forward from there.  It will require printing years of photos that are on the hard drive.  In the meantime, this is a easy, creative, and not really time consuming alternative.

End of Summer

(If you want to look around the website, she does tons of other things too.  I'm think about doing a little Christmas shopping from her.  Anyway, you can use this link, and get $10 off, and I'll get $10 off my next order.)

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