Now that we’re settling into the new year I thought it would be the right time for a planner update. I’m excited to share my current planner setup with you!
I am still using two planners and just like last year one is an Erin Condren Life Planner and the other is a leather binder style agenda. I get a lot of questions about why I need two planners and what I use both for. I will clarify this in the detail of each below. I don’t think everyone needs multiple planners for optimal time management. Planners are a very personal thing and there is certainly no one-size-fits-all option, since time management techniques must be tailored to suit an individual’s needs to be effective. I personally enjoy learning about other people’s use of planners because I am genuinely interested in seeing what other people do and I also gain inspiration for my own methods. In this post, I am simply sharing what works for me in the hopes that it might inspire or be interesting to some of you.
Erin Condren Life Planner
I have waxed poetic about all things Erin Condren Designs for well over a year now, ever since I purchased my very first Life Planner in the fall of 2013. I love the enhancements they’ve added over the past year, especially the interchangeable covers, which is a fun way to customize your planner (plus they’re reusable from year to year). I use my Erin Condren Life Planner to manage my posting schedule and related tasks. This hasn’t changed much from my use of it last year. Once I find a system that works for me, I naturally want to stick to it and feel motivated to use it consistently. I know it’s time to change up my system when I stop wanting to use it. This planner continues to serve my needs well. Let’s take a look inside:
I use the monthly spreads to schedule my posts and keep track of when I post what where. As excited as I was about the new repositionable labels that Erin Condren Designs launched with the most current version, I discovered that they only really move around well in humid climates, so I went back to making my own using Avery 5418 labels. I color coordinate these, allocating two colors, one for blog posts and one for videos, to each of my three main posting categories: organizedlikejen, thebusybeebuzz, and myhousewifelife. Color coding helps me to visually organize my content and related tasks. I use a color code scheme in my weekly spread, as well, where I break down the steps I need to take to put up my posts and videos. I use orange for organizedlikejen, blue for thebusybeebuzz, green for myhousewifelife, and maroon for general tasks. I make little check boxes since checking things off is helpful to me in my time management process. I put parentheses around tasks I did not complete that I want to address the next day. I use the margin note section for general goals and the bottom lined space for specific emails or as brainstorming space.
There are a couple of accessories I like to use with my Erin Condren Life Planner. My current favorite pens are the Triplus Fineliner Pens by Staedtler that come in a pack of twenty. I love the variety of the colors which are vibrant without causing bleedthrough. The case they come in can be propped up easel style, which is a neat feature as well. They are easy to hold and write smoothly. Another accessory I like to use in my Life Planner are cute handmade paper clips. I use one on the current monthly spread for easy access, since I keep the included snap-in ruler on the current weekly spread. This way I can easily flip to the month. My favorite shops on Etsy to buy these cuties are KawaiiPaperie and HowCute4You.
While I don’t travel with my Erin Condren Life Planner all of the time, I do like to bring it to Utah with me when I visit our family vacation home since I go for such long stretches of time and usually like to keep up with my posting. I was super excited when Erin Condren Designs launched their new line of Carry-All Clutches. This neoprene pouch comfortably fits both my 18-month Life Planner and Staedtler pens and keeps my planner safe on the go. I love that I was able to personalize it as well!
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Mulberry Pocket Book
I have been a fan of binder style planners for years. I purchased my very first one, a red Day Runner, when I was in high school. I remember the thrill of picking out my very first real leather Filofax planner as a college student living and working in London one summer. For the past few years I have used a Filofax A5 Finchley as my personal planner of choice. I decided last summer to go a different route and sized down to a pocket planner,because I wanted something more portable. This is a rather large jump in the planner world! After experimenting with pocket size Kikki.K for a few months, I decided I was committed enough to splurge on this gorgeous Mulberry Pocket Book late last summer. I have become a huge Mulberry fan ever since I wandered into their shop in San Francisco and purchased the gorgeous Alexa bag in 2012. Mulberry uses the most beautiful leather I have ever seen and I love their simple and clean design aesthetic. I believe the price of their items accurately reflects the quality. That being said, I do not think you have to spend that kind of money to get a beautiful leather pocket agenda. How much anyone spends on anything is a personal choice. I will say that I am extremely happy with my agenda and am glad that I bought it.
I use my pocket agenda as my primary planner where I keep track of my personal calendar and my daily to-do lists. I am a list maker by nature and have found over the years that making a list for the next day at night before I go to bed helps me keep my worry-wart brain at ease. I definitely find that I sleep better with this practice! I don’t find it necessary to strictly adhere to my lists and schedules. I simply use them as tools to help me feel calm and present in my daily experience. This method might not work for everyone, but it certainly has changed my life for the better.
Since I jumped to the pocket size, I have been using DIYfish planner inserts. I can’t begin to express how much I admire this wonderful woman’s ingenious Life Mapping System. It is unlike anything else I’ve ever seen in the planner world! You can buy many variations of the system on Etsy, which are all downloadable files that you print and cut yourself (I hope to post a tutorial on this soon). I actually use two different versions of the system, since I prefer the pull-out horizontal monthly spread of the v3s5 option and the daily calendar from the v2.2 option. Thanks to the binder style planner it is easy to pick and choose to customize my planner the way I like it.
As you can see, I like to color code my personal planner as well, with personal tasks in light blue, travel in dark blue, family things in orange, Don specific things in light green, things we do as a couple in purple, our dog Winnie in pink, and special occasions in red. I use the time stamped right hand column of the daily pages for scheduled appointments and outings and the left hand column for my to-do list. I use any extra space for sticky notes where I like to write small lists or reminders that are easy to transfer from page to page or take with me.
One thing to note about the Mulberry pocket agenda is that the rings are quite small and cannot accommodate a lot of inserts. I keep one month of daily pages in my planner at a time, with two of the previous weeks and the next two weeks ahead. Every Sunday I take out a week and add in another. I think I could easily fit an entire year’s weekly calendar in the planner, but since I prefer the daily pages, I keep rotating out my pages. I put all past pages into my pocket Kikki.K as an archive.
The DIYfish v2.2 calendar also comes with two weekly planning page options, one which sticks out a bit so you can see any important tasks or appointments on the side while working on your daily pages. The other is the normal pocket page size. I love having a weekly planning option like this for Sunday brainstorming sessions. I have experimented with both options over the past eight months or so.
Lately I’ve been using the regular size weekly pages since I don’t like to overstuff my planner. As much as I love the convenience of the pull out horizontal monthly calendar spreads, they are too bulky to keep the whole year in my planner at a time. I am thinking of just using the month-on-two-page calendar so I can comfortably fit the whole year. If I do so I will most likely go back to using the weekly pages with the bit that sticks out on the side for ease of advance planning. I love how flexible this system is!
As for accessories, I have a few tried and true favorites to share. I recently purchased this laminator so that I could make my own dividers, dashboards, and rulers for my planner. What fun! I’m not an expert yet by any means, but I do love my confetti dividers (I purchased the cute double sided paper from Paper Source). Once I get better at the technique perhaps I can post a tutorial. In addition to my fun dividers, I made an unpunched dashboard so I could keep a selection of my favorite sticky notes tucked into the front pocket of my planner without the bulk of the entire note pads. I love the Girl of All Work Sticky Tabs, which are perfectly sized for small notes and reminders in the pocket planner. The confetti stickies were from the Target Dollar Spot last fall and are unfortunately no longer available.
I also made a clear snap-in page marker by tracing my Kikki.K pocket ruler onto a clear transparency page and punching holes in it. I added a little washi tape to the top for visibility and hooked on a cute planner charm from another of my favorite Etsy shops, shellybelly4evr. Right now I have the Frozen inspired one on my ruler and the Mary Poppins Spoonful of Sugar attached to my planner pouch (more on this below).
Additionally, my love affair with OliClips continues. OliClips are strong magnetic paper clips that lie relatively flat. I use the small ones in my pocket agenda to clip past daily pages together. I use the large one to clip past pages in my Moleskine journal. These are very difficult to find in shops anymore (I originally purchased mine years ago from The Container Store). I was able to find the ones I currently have on this website.
One last accessory that isn’t pictured here but I show in my coordinating video (below) are the sweet dashboards by MrsBrimbles. The prints are made from her hand painted designs! Her shop is definitely worth a visit.
If you’ve been following my blog or YouTube channel for awhile now you know how I feel about pouches! Of course, I have a pouch for my pocket planner. I keep both of my planners open on my desk when I am in my office at home. When I am bringing it up and down the stairs, however, I keep my Mulberry Pocket Book with my Moleskine journal in a flat style Kate Spade pouch (sadly no longer available) that I’ve had for years. When I want to pop my planner into my purse I use one of the Orla Kiely for Target pouches that comes in a set of three (available in stores only at the moment). I like to protect my Mulberry from damage whenever I can and popping it into a little pouch like this is the perfect solution.
If you’d like a more in-depth look into my planners and accessories, check out the video below:
It’s giveaway time! I am so happy to be able to give back the referral credits I receive from ErinCondren.com to you! The 2015 Planner Update Giveaway will run until Monday, January 26, 2015 at 6 PM CT. The giveaway is open internationally. All entrants under the age of 18 must have parental permission to enter. TEN winners will receive a $100 gift card to ErinCondren.com as well as the calendar clutch pictured below:
You can enter by following the directions in the Rafflecopter widget posted below (check out this blog post for more information on entering Rafflecopter giveaways). I’ll announce the winners on THIS blog post and contact them directly through email, as always. Good luck!
*** GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED ***
Congrats to the winners of the2015 Planner Update Giveaway!
The Poll Results for *What kind of calendar/planner do you use?* out of 3126 entries:
Spiral Bound (1772) 57%
Binder Style (911) 29%
Electronic (260) 8%
Wall Calendar (150) 5%
I don’t use a calendar (33) 1%
Sometimes Rafflecopter experiences technical difficulties. If you can’t enter for some reason, try again later and it will probably work.
I hope you enjoyed this look at my current planner setup and what’s working for me now. I’d love to hear about your time management methods and what kind of calendar or planner you use if you care to share!
* Post contains affiliate and referral links. The Erin Condren planner shown was sent to me for consideration. I used my referral credits to purchase the giveaway prizes. All other items shown were purchased by me. This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are genuinely my own. *