Monday, January 30, 2012

All About Day Planners!

Ok, so I fully admit that I have a slight obsession with finding the perfect day planner. This has been going on for over a decade & I have tried a whole lot of planners during that time. I will be talking about some of my favorites from over the years & why I like them so much.
My planners are an important part of my life & kind of help me keep everything together. Every morning I get my coffee, sit down (outside during the summer, which just starts your day off so nice), & go over my things to do for the day. I write down the things I need to accomplish, review appointments I have coming up, & generally look at what everything looks like for the day. This 5 minutes just for me helps mentally prepare me for the day & starts my day off  positive & organized. It's a few minutes of me time that sets the tone for the rest of the day. Then at night, I sit down with my planner again & go over everything. I write in any appointments that are on random little notes, make sure that I write down anything I know I need to do the next day, write out everywhere I went & everything I did for that day, & go through my list of things to do & check things off. For me, this helps me feel accomplished & ready for my day to end. No sitting up at night wondering if I remembered to do something or worrying about an appointment. Doing this just helps me relax & mentally know that the day is over & I'm ready for tomorrow. 

I am the type of person that will forget everything 10 minutes later if I don't write it down (I have to physically write it down, typing it in on my phone or laptop just doesn't work). It doesn't matter if it's something I need to do or a special occasion or an appointment. Because of this, I expect a lot from my planners & have very specific needs when it comes to organizing my life. I tend to have a lot of different aspects of my life going on all at once, tons of to do lists, a lot of appointments & other stuff, as well as writing the day to day things that I did. So, I must have enough writing space to organize all of this.
My 2 absolute requirements for a planner are:
Full weekends- I can't deal with the split Saturday/Sunday in planners. These are my busiest days & 3 or 4 lines really isn't going to cut it. Of course this automatically limits my choices greatly because most planners do this for some horrible reason. I was surprised that many daily planners split the weekends now too. When will they learn that people like to enjoy their weekends & have more plans on Saturday & Sunday then during the work week?
Monthly overviews- I know that I'm not the type of person to page through 30 days to see what my schedules like. I need a quick overview or I end up double booking on accident. I also use these to keep track of when bills are due.

I also recently did a post about my Drab to Fab Planner that I (kind of) created myself. To hopefully meet all of my super planning needs.

So on to the list of planners, why I originally got them, & what I thought of them.

Smart Page-A-Day & Notepad Calendar
For the past couple of years these have been my go to for to do lists. I have had many of the different styles & liked them all for the most part. I mainly used these to write out all my things to do around the house. I found that keeping a set weekly schedule of house chores made life so much more simple & my house so much cleaner. These do have split weekends but, since I was using them strictly for to do list that was ok as my weekends don't have as much for me to do in that aspect. I loved the ample writings space. It also came in handy because of the check list section & area to take notes when I was on the phone or working on something. I also liked the little quotes & stuff on them as it is a nice way to start off your day (different ones have different quotes & other stuff on them). I decided to stop using this simply because it took up too much space on my desk (which is kind of small & I already have a lot of stuff on it) & I couldn't really find a home for it that was cohesive with everything else. I am now using the bottom of my daily planner for all my to do list but admit that I do miss having my household chores laid out for me everyday.
In short, this is great for busy moms or people who have to have a checklist in front of them to get anything done (like me).

MomAgenda Planners
I think that this is one of my favorite planners that I've owned. When I had a part-time job, DJ gigs, makeup jobs, & other general life stuff going on this kept it perfectly organized in one easy to use place. There was no searching for work shifts or trying to figure out if I had time to hang out with a friend, it was all perfectly laid out for me. I kept the top section for my daily list of random things that I did & broke the smaller sections into personal stuff, work, makeup jobs, & DJ gigs. The only reason I stopped using this was because my life became a little more simplified & I didn't find myself needing that much space. I like the vertical placement of each day & found it to be so much easier to keep everything organized because of this for some reason. I also liked the fact that the monthly pages also have lines on them & found it looking nicer when I wrote on them. When I first got this, I really liked all the extra stuff it came with (expense record, travel planner, book/music/movie lists, extra note space) but found myself not really using it. I did however use the detachable address book & was able to ditch my bulky address book from my desk. I also love how fashionable these are, it just makes them nicer to use!
All in all, these are the perfect fit for people that have a lot of different aspects of their life (multiple jobs or work/school/family) or a lot of appointments/dates to keep. Not so great, however for those of us with a lot of to do list or a simple schedule.

Day-Timer Mom Planner
This was the planner that I had last year & I did really like it quite a bit. There were great ways to break up your to do lists with pages at the front of each month & lists at the top of each week. Nice little extras all over the place to help keep everything organized; goals on the side of every month, dinner menus at the top of each week, note spots on the bottom of ever month & week, important event spots at the top of the page. Along with the address pages, hole punched notepad in the back, business card holders, a little pouch for random stuff, a few pages of tear & go grocery lists (which were way to small for me to be able to write on), as well as a few other miscellaneous pages. I also liked that this had binder style rings because that meant that I could put all my other little random stuff in there. I bought some additional notepaper, divider tabs, & pocket folders (fyi, additional stuff for these is really expensive!)  for it so that I could pretty much contain my entire life in this one little place. I had huge shopping lists for makeup to check out, things I needed to redecorate my house, random stuff I needed, clothes I wanted, & a ton of other crap. Tons notes for things to on my blog & youtube. Planning notes for upcoming shoots & ideas for shoots I wanted to do. Bills I needed to pay. Random clippings from all over the place. Seriously, my whole life surrounded around this little book. Two problems arouse though. One, it started to get so over stuffed that it simply wasn't really portable anymore & I was running out of space for anything new. The second problem was that I wanted to get rid of the pad on my desk & this simply didn't have the space for my huge daily to do lists. Another problem, that I discovered when I was cleaning it out after getting my new planner, was that I would write random notes then they would end up getting stuck someplace & never getting thrown away when I didn't need them anymore. This just added to the massive amount of stuff collecting in my planner.
This planner really is great though. If you need something to just help you organize your life & don't need tons of space for to do lists everyday I highly recommend this one. Just make sure to go through & clean it out every now & then or risk ending up with a chaotic mess.
(I am now using the M by Staples Arc Customizable Notebook System for all of that extra stuff & loving it. It accomplishes things in much of the same way but keeps my planner more portable. It also helps cut down on all the random little notes that I only need for one specific thing. The inserts for it are much cheaper too.)

Random Korean Planners/Diaries
I hate to say that I have spent a pretty penny on a few of these & never gotten more then a couple months use out of one. They just tempt me with their cuteness & I always tell myself that I can make it work but, I simply can't. This was one of my main inspirations for creating the planner that I have now. I wanted a taste of the cuteness but with practicality I could use. These are amazingly cute from front to back & every single page between. They really go through a lot of trouble to make sure that every single page is unique & absolutely adorable! (this is why they are so hard to resist) They come with a multitude of pages that you would never find in a traditional planner (places for concert tickets, mini polaroids, & all kinds of other random things!) & most even have adorable tab stickers to help you find your place easily! With me blabbing on like an idiot you might be wondering why I don't use these wonderful, beautiful, cute, fun, amazingly adorable books. The short of it is that they are tiny. I mean teeny tiny. You'll be trying to fit an entire weeks worth of stuff or a whole month in a space about the size of a small Moleskine notebook. I constantly found that either I didn't have enough space to write something down that was important or that stuff got lost in the chaos of me trying to fit everything in such a small space. As amazing & beautiful as these are, they always seemed to be such a disaster after a couple weeks.
After all my failures with these I can tell you that, unless you only have 1 or 2 things to do in a day & write very very small, admire these from afar & don't waste the money. Such a shame.

So there are a few of my favorite planners from over the past few years. There were a few other planners that I had wanted to talk about but, they seem to no longer be available. 
I know that planners are a very personal thing but, I hope that this helps some of you get life more organized in the new year. If you have any questions about any of my planners or about one that I didn't mention, please feel free to comment below.
Also, feel free to let me know if you have a favorite. 

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