You’re going to laugh at me. Hell, I’m laughing at me.
But first, I feel it fair to tell you that I’m writing this from the midst of a genuinely awful week – I’ve kind of cratered, emotionally, and though I’m slowly edging my way back out, it’s taking just about all my energy to even think about something fun like this. That sucks because I have larger things to talk about; I just don’t have the wherewithal quite yet. But first things first:
I love my Erin Condren Life Planner. I honestly do. I’ve had so much fun customizing it, and making things for it, and best of all sharing those things with my customers on Tiny Relics. I have no intention of quitting the latter.
I have, however, decided to move to a new planner.
Go on, get it out of your system.
It’s a common affliction among those of us who love our organizational toys. You’re just sure this is The One, only to find a month or two later that, meh.
Now, my ECLP is not meh. Like I said, I love it. But it became apparent fairly quickly that there were certain issues I was going to have to work around if I wanted to keep using it. The primary one is this: I have to customize nearly every aspect of the planner to make it work in my life. I have to cover section headers, add stickers with lists, clip in some things and take out others, and continually remove pages as I go to keep the thing from being too wide to close. That’s only in February! Granted, I’ve had the ECLP Since August, so that’s a good six months of use, way more than I usually get out of a planner. But by the end of 2015 that thing is going to need its own team of ponies to haul it around.
My thoughts immediately returned to my old idea: make my own planner. Last time I altered a composition book, and it suffered from a total lack of structure. Then it occurred to me that Etsy is full of printable pages for Filofax and other planners; people buy and print out the guts for their planners and keep the binder year after year. I could totally do that, but make my own guts from scratch, and have them totally personalized to what I need my planner to do (meaning hold onto the little things flitting around in my brain, like dates and events, that I won’t remember thanks to my meds punching tiny holes in my memory for years).
So I sat down with my vault full of clip art and fonts and a huge variety of examples from all over the internet and got to work. So far, I’m loving the results. Here’s an idea what I’m going for:
As I said, I bought this binder empty on Ebay for about $7. You can get the Harmony brand new in brown and red, but apparently the green’s hard to find. (Faux leather, embossed spine, neoprine or its nearest cousin) You know me – it was green, it had leaves on it, I was sold. Also, it’s an A5 size, so its pages are just a regular 8.5×11″ sheet cut in half; that makes life easier for both making pages and using any I might one day download. That’s basically the same size as the ECLP, but with rings instead of spiral binding, which makes adding and removing pages soooooo much easier.
Here’s where it gets fun. I sat down and wrote out a long list of everything I need a planner to do – if I could put anything I wanted in it, why not go for it? I included spots to record writing progress, monthly goal setting pages, a page for my monthly Tarot reading, books I’ve read – you name it.
Then I made pocket dividers out of some decorative paper and loosely divided the whole thing into “current month,” “calendar,” and “lists and projects.” My plan is to have a daily page for, say, March, as well as a weekly blog and meal planner; then when the month is over, compile any significant events onto the monthly calendar and put the daily pages in storage, leaving room for April. That way I can keep the monthly spreads all year so I can reference the past, but without making the binder so full and heavy.
The daily page, first unadulterated and then labeled:
Right now, the rest is just lists, lists, lists. I’m using the monthly goals sheet I shared here recently as well as some stuff borrowed right from my ECLP, like the bills tracker I made. I’m taking the opportunity to try and combine planner, journal, and mind palace (at least a few rooms) by leaving the backs of the daily pages blank for notes and doodles; and there will be plenty of pasted-in and drawn quotes and ideas throughout.
So far I’m having a blast with this project. All my experiences with different planning systems have taught me a lot about how I manage time (when I manage it) and what’s important to me; I’ve also learned a lot about tracking goals and creating habits, another thing this planner will hopefully help with. I’ll be officially switching over to the new system March 1 (drumroll please!).
Here are a couple more pics of what I’m working on; if you’re interested in creating your own planner and aren’t nuts enough to start from scratch, I’ve created an Etsy Treasury to point you toward some really cool pages and sets. Believe me, there’s one out there for you, no matter what your style or needs! There’s even one for each House at Hogwarts.
Happy Planning! I’ll be back soon with some more news (about something besides planners, honest).