Pretty as a Planner – My Attempt to Get Organised.
Organisation. I’d like to think it’s my strong point, but I know it isn’t. I can carry off the organised look sometimes, when it counts, even though I’m kicking frantically under the water. I’m often disorganised though, and that stems from my inability to remember things.
I have a great memory for inconsequential things. I can remember the cloud that looked like a boot from my car window on the way home from my grandparents’ house when I was about six, for instance. Long ago memories like that are a doddle. Appointments, however, go for a wander and never come back. I have to have a diary.
I’ve tried electronic diaries – on my laptop, on my phone, synched with each other, and with Stonelaughter’s diary. It doesn’t work for me. I still don’t remember things, and I forget to look at the damn thing anyway. I need a paper diary – I remember things better if I physically write things down.
With three children all with different classes and appointments, I thought one of the Family Life Planners from Organised Mum would be ideal. Lots of space to write everything in, a good-sized column for each person in the family. I know many people swear by them. Guess what? It didn’t work for me. Because I am the one who ferries the children to all their classes on weekdays, having everything in different columns was just chaotic – I needed to be at all of those things anyway and having to cross check five different columns was just a headache.
In May, I read about a different planner. I’d never heard of it before, but since then I have found out that several of my friends were already using this planner and love it. It’s the Erin Condren. Oh my word, it has changed my life! They come in several different layouts, with a choice of 12 or 18 months, colour or neutrals, changeable covers or solid hardback covers. Personalised or off the shelf. Stickers to go in them. Accessories ….. There are countless Facebook groups dedicated to the buying, selling and swapping of these planners and their accessories. There are even You Tube videos showing you how to get the most from your planner. Owning an ECLP is like being in a secret club!
I signed up to be notified when the new designs were out, and pre-ordered the Luxe Hardback Planner in Turquoise, in colour, in the 18 month variety. It was not cheap. Nowhere near cheap, especially when you include shipping (they ship from the US). It came in at $99.95. I decided it would be worth it. Later, when Stonelaughter learnt how much it cost, I expected him to be incredulous that I would spend that much on a diary (incredulous, not angry – he spends on tech, I spend on different things), but in fact he said I got an awful lot for my money. Hurrah!
You can use it as is, which is nice and functional and does the job, or you can buy stickers to make each weekly spread beautiful and different. You can buy some functional stickers from Erin Condren, but the real pleasure is going to Etsy to choose stickers from all the designers there. Buying preprinted and cut labels is quite expensive though, because it soon adds up, but many of the designers offer the digital design for you to print at home. This is what I do for the most part – print on sticker paper and cut them out myself. Occasionally, I buy a printed and cut set, if it’s something really special.
It’s working so well for me. Each month starts with a motivational quote page, then there’s the month to view, and each week is across two pages. Depending on what you need, you can use the columns for morning, afternoon and evening, or do other things with them. I’m using the top box just for decoration, the middle box for appointments and classes etc and then bottom box for things I have to do that day. I’m using the side column for each week to record what sit down HE work I want the children to do that week, our meal plan for the week and a to-do section for notes, jobs etc. The space underneath column is where I record venue addresses etc for places we haven’t been to before, or notes to do with a specific appointment that day.
I cannot tell you how much I love this planner. Obviously, its main function has to be to remind me of what we’re doing and when, but the fact that it can look pretty whilst doing that is a huge bonus. It makes my heart sing when I look at it.
Many people plan time into their week to sit down and make the next week pretty, but not me. I don’t have time to do that every week, and I also need to be able to write appointments weeks or months in advance. So when I find time on my hands, I sit and decorate as many dates as I have time for. This week, I did the rest of September and all weeks to the end of the year.
Erin Condren also sells notebooks, teachers’ planners, wedding planners, journals, address books, stationery and all sorts of other loveliness in a myriad of designs. Pop over and have a look, but don’t blame me if you end up buying everything you see!