Thursday, March 17, 2016

Planner Angst

I'm having some real planner angst this year. I don't remember ever having this much trouble. I think it's because I'm walking so much farther to work now. Just three blocks, but I used to be able to get out of my car and walk about a car length to the door, so it didn't matter how much I carried. Now I'm much more aware of it.

I started out with my big leather zippered Franklin Planner that I used last year, but it's just too heavy to carry around all the time. And whatever I'm using, I want to carry it around all the time. So I ordered an open binder, same size, and after a couple of weeks I felt the same way about it, just way overkill, too much, too heavy.

So I tried a smaller planner, the "compact" size I think it was, and I tried a one page a day layout instead of the two-page, and it was sort of okay, but just not enough room to write. I've always used the two page a day version, with an hourly schedule and a to-do list on the left, and a completely blank (lined) page on the right for notes and journal. So one lined page wasn't really doing it, and there was no dedicated to-do or appointments section, so everything was just one big, crowded page.

So next I tried going to a blank notebook -- a Levenger Circa notebook -- for a couple of weeks. I love the Circa system, with the discs instead of rings, and I love the Levenger paper. I enjoyed the blank pages, but I felt like I had no structure at all. I started getting really anxious about it. I think one of my problems is that I started following a bunch of "planner addicts" on Instagram, with all of the Happy Planner stuff, etc., and stickers and colored pens and flags and tabs, and I liked it, but it's just like WAY too much pressure. They are beautiful, but for me personally, I don't want to spend my time decorating pages, I just need a place to write everything down. If it's cute, it's a bonus, but I tend to get tired of any kind of decorative stuff, so really, plain pages are better for me.

There is also a lot of chatter about bullet journals. I was tempted, and almost bought a dotted Moleskine, but rationality prevailed and I put it back, knowing myself, and knowing that I wouldn't keep it up. I don't want to have to create the framework, I want it already created. And I know that I'm not creative that way, i.e., I would put way too much pressure on myself to be perfect, and it wouldn't work out, and I would abandon it.

For awhile I was considering looking at spiral-bound planners just so I had a whole monthly spread, but that was making me anxious, too. I was going to go to Barnes & Noble and see if the calendars were on sale, and if they had any left. But I've looked before, and never really found anything I loved. Although if I got something that cost $5 and ended up not using it, it wouldn't be that much of a loss.

After a lot of soul searching (you would think we were talking about world peace or global warming or something, not just a place to write stuff down), I finally decided to pull the trigger and buy the Levenger Circa Smartplanner System for 2016. It's not perfect, but maybe nothing is. The layout is one week on two pages -- the lefthand side is boxes for the days; the righthand side has Weekly To Do, Weekly Goals, and a half page blank space titled "Notes." And the beauty of the Circa system is that if I need/want to write more, I can just insert a blank lined page.

I also got a pretty cover to replace the plastic ones. It was ridiculously expensive, but all the Levenger products are. They are great quality, though. I love their paper.

So far I'm liking it. The daily boxes are pretty small, but I think it will work. My system is evolving -- in the daily boxes I put events like birthdays, holidays, vacation days, anniversary days, etc., along with any appointments, along with reminders of things that absolutely have to be done on, or by, that particular day, such as paying bills, making phone calls, etc. Normally, i.e., with a Daytimer type of planner, I would write a daily to-do list, and anything that didn't get done that day would be moved/repeated on the next day. I kind of like that, but what I'm doing now is going with the Weekly ToDo, and it seems to be working okay, particularly because it is visible on the same spread as the daily reminders.

I haven't used, or figured out how to use, the "Weekly Goals" column. I'm just using it as another place for notes or lists. The open "Notes" area isn't really very big, but it's working okay, and like I said, I can slip in an extra blank page if I need to.

I also need to come to grips with the fact that I don't have to carry everything around in written form all the time, since I do have a phone that contains my contacts, several list and journaling apps, i.e., plenty of places to record things. It still kind of makes me nervous, though.

Just the latest iteration of my ever-evolving planner saga ...


Beth Nelson said...

I have planner angst every year starting around September. The ongoing battle between Filofax and a run of the mill slim line diary. I spend hours gazing at pics on Instagram, flickr, pinterest, google image...I drive myself half crazy. This year I am using a miniscule church diary, 50p, no ribbon book mark, no extra pages for notes, 2 weeks to a double page whilst my pocket sized limited edition ivory deco filofax is languishing in my bureau untouched. *shakes head*
I feel your pain. :-)

Liora Hess said...

The planner addicts on Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube have gotten me in more trouble. I bought a the washi tape, stickers, stamps and other stuff as well as an Erin Condren planner only to find I don't like it. I understand what you mean when you talk about pressure. It felt like homework.

Yvonne said...

I like the Passion Planner: (And they are on sale right now if you want to try one.)
I also think this looks interesting, but I haven't tried it yet: