Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Planner Year

Although I've always had a calendar, journal, notebook, or planner of one form or another, in the past year I've been fully immersed in the 'planner trend'. I graduated from a hand-sized weekly planner where I could jot down appointments and plans while easily fitting in my purse to a small DIY binder planner. After a few months in that, I started making handmade monthly journals. Then, due to forces outside of my control (airline weight restrictions prevented me from bringing all the supplies I needed while traveling overseas), I went to planning in my long term Recollections vertical planner. With a brief month in my handmade journal, I moved into a junk journal, and now I'm back to my Recollections planner.

This one picture for all the words above.
Obviously, it's been a very active year and through all of it, this is what I've learned about myself and my preferred planner style.

First off, while I've loved each of these different planner systems at the time I was using them, probably the least effective way to plan for me has been my junk journal.

A planner spread in my floral junk journal
I can't describe what the real difference is, why I can't seem to plan well with it but there are some general things that seem like cons. I feel like monthly planning and tracking is more difficult, there's no easy way to plan long term or even to the end of a month. Also, the weekly spreads are plain. There isn't much room to do weekly planning and daily planning on a single page was too much room and didn't help me feel organized.

On the other hand, I love the junk journal for journaling and memory keeping. It's so much easier and more fun to write down my experiences, add pictures from events, and keep ephemera. I'm definitely going to keep using a junk journal this purpose but I will leave the planning to another device.

Handmade Planners
I absolutely loved making these planners/journals. It was so fun choosing themes, putting together papers, and decorating with stickers and journal cards. I still get some of this fun when I'm making a junk journal but these small ones are different. I think because I decorated more with these as I wasn't trying to leave blank space for journaling at the time. They were too small for real journaling, which I wanted to do or the amount of memory keeping I also wanted. Plus, so much work went into making them, it didn't seem worth the pay off for planning purposes alone, especially when at the end of the month I had to make another one from scratch.

But I love making these so much, I'm considering making them for others to use as mini albums or monthly events like December Daily or NaNoWriMo.

Target DIY Planner
The Target planner inserts were the first things that got me into decorating my planner. At first, I just wanted to use up some old stickers but after a couple of months, it exploded into a full on obsession. And, at the time, I was all about horizontal planning as well as the simple customization and expandability allowed by the binder format.

After a few months, however, I felt like using the Target inserts as a base was sort of a waste of paper when I could simply use scrapbook paper alone or mixed media paper that would stand up better to the mixed media elements I used like Inktense, stamp ink, and watercolor. Plus, I sort of hated the new Target insert releases at the time.

Since I've made the switch, even though I've returned to a similar planning style, I don't miss this planner much. So much of my decorating revolved around trying to cover up the preprinted pages and everything I added, for memory keeping or tiny bits of journaling, seemed to get in the way of my planning, sort of making the customization pointless.

Inside Current Recollection Planner

I've recently relegated my entire planning life to my Recollections planner. I originally purchased this during a Black Friday sale at Michael's last year because I was making my month by month planners but still needed to plan up to six months ahead of time for various reasons. But, since my other experiments in planning have failed to offer an all in one solution, I've  now started using this as my main planner.

It's simple to plan in it since most planner stickers are sized for a similar layout and the vertical planner style just seems more organized some how. The paper is very nice and smooth and it comes with tabs, a pocket folder, stickers, and a zip up pencil case. Plus it has colors I love and have no problem working with. Planning takes no time and I can still decorate it so it's pretty to look at, which makes me want to look at it, which then encourages me to accomplish things.

Overall, I am disappointed that I couldn't find a form that allowed me to do everything I wanted the way I wanted to do it. I am glad that I got to experiment though and that I found a combination that I can live with: a junk journal for some tracking, memory keeping, list making, and journaling; a vertical planner for day to day organization and long-term planning; and a notebook for my creative writing.

In the past year, I've improved many skills from binding, sketching, coordinating, trimming, gluing, and going with the flow. I've learned I'm happier when there's pink in a layout and that it's okay to like something just because it's pretty.

So, how do you do your planning, journaling, or memory keeping? Have tried a bunch of things too or did you fall in love with one system right away? Let me know in the comments below :D

Until Next Time...