Planning a Planner

It seems like every blogger has done a review of some of the most popular planners like Erin Condren, Emily Ley, Passion Planner, and Day Designer, just to name a few. I’ve read a lot of them during my own hunt for the perfect planner. I appreciate the reviews because a lot of them discuss how they use their planner and what works and doesn’t work for their lifestyle. I find this more helpful that just telling me about the sections and options and blah, blah that the planner has.

Also, I’ll just note that I do not have time to sticker and doodle and make the spreads art projects, so the planner needs to be set up however I’m going to use it from the beginning. Not that I don’t like the planner art projects, more power to those who do it, I just can’t spend the time and effort doing it (I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist so I would always be unhappy with it anyway…also, not interested in buying all those stickers.) I am much more about practicality and just needing to write stuff down – the digital calendar just doesn’t do the trick.

I’ve been thinking about what I need from my planner for a while now. I noticed that once I graduated from school my needs changed – and I would say that what I was using wasn’t necessarily the best option, but I liked it. Becoming a full-time working mom has also changed what I need from my planner.

I purchased the same planner I’ve used the last two years for this year too. And I thought I would just try to modify it so suit what I thought I needed and wanted. So far, not so good, and I’m really seeing the downfalls of this planner. It makes me sad because I really do like it, it just isn’t working anymore 😦

What I love about my May Designs Classic Black & White Agenda:

  • two week spread – revamped and I like the new layout even better
  • monthly views
  • clean lines
  • small size – fits easily in purse
  • light – doesn’t weigh purse down
  • personalized
  • the older ones (and maybe other options) had a few note pages in the back
  • good for students or for single uses like keeping track of a blog but nothing else; however, it is small enough you could probably carry around one for work, home, and fun and still have less weight than some of the other planners

What I don’t love about it:

  • it doesn’t lay flat (probably my biggest issue now)
  • no list space
  • no defined meal planning space
  • only has space for minimal tasks  or events for each day

I first found this planner when I was in grad school and it worked great for that. I really didn’t have too much to write for each day – part of that is because I kept a separate notebook (also from May Designs) for do-to lists and basically I lived by that. I didn’t write down my class schedule every week, just the first couple, so my only daily writings were for due dates and tests. Occasionally, I would try to do more than that in my planner and it would get full fast, but it looked good. I really just didn’t need to do that because my other lists were working just fine.

What I need now is different. And while I love the two week spread, it just won’t allow enough stuff on each page for what I need. I even tried designing my own but the planner would be huge if I did a two week spread with everything I want with enough room to actually write something. I need space for meal planning, household chores, budgets, and keeping track of our ‘events’ like appointments, classes, and get-togethers with friends. I also want to make notes for blog posts and schedule when to work on them. I’m starting as a merchandiser for Chloe + Isabel, so I need to keep track of that too.

So, I’ve been looking into some of the larger planners and giving up the two week spread that I love so much. I also just cannot spend $50 on a planner so that’s part of why I’ve stuck with the May Designs notebook. However, I recently discovered Plum Planners and I’m eager to give them a try. They are very customizable and more reasonably priced. I’m still thinking about how I want to use the planner exactly so I’ll get back to you on what I decide on and how it’s working for me.



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