Saturday, March 26, 2016

Planner // Journal // Brain on Paper

I am a paper and pen girl. Love pens. And fresh notebooks? I may have a small collection. So when it comes to keeping my life organized and all the info I need on a regular basis in one place, of course I do it on paper rather than in some app.  I've had this system going for about two and a half years now, and have always meant to share it with you - not because it's so revolutionary, but because I love seeing how other people do planners and thought you might, too.  And I'm finally sharing now... because I might be switching it up.

This is my planner.  My home binder.  The sections I have are:
  • To Do - this is a sheet of paper I re-do each week, and add to as things come up. Usually gets pretty messy by the end of the week, but that's ok.
  • Blog - notes on things I mean to write about, a blog calendar I used for about two months...
  • Scrapbook - mostly just a chart of months and each camera's file that I have to check for photos.
  • Shop - plans for Alice & Victor.
  • Workouts - see the photo below.  I am not that consistent at working out, but seeing the frequency is a helpful motivator to get out there and move.
  • Goals - If you write them down, you are more likely to achieve them.  It helps to actually look at them, too.
  • Inspiration - Just one verse I made into a printable in here.  Could get rid of this section.
  • Christmas - I keep a running list of gift ideas in my phone and brainstorm in here when the holidays come, and keep a list of what I've got for whom, so I don't forget.
  • Passwords - I have a password keeper on my phone now, which seems safer.  I just have to transfer the rest over and can get rid of this section, too.
  • Books - I keep my main list on my phone, so it's handy to add to and to have when I'm at the library, but this is handy for lists of books by specific authors that I'm working through, and a printout of the challenge I'm doing.
  • Cousins - I've got 17 nieces and nephews; this holds just a list by age with birth dates to help me stay on top of who's how old now.

But now... have you heard of bullet journals?  It's a notebook style system of planner that you adapt to how you want to use it - daily, weekly, or a combination of those.  The beauty is that you add pages for tracking your habits or future planning or goals for your shop, and then put the page number of that list in the index on the front page.

After trying the daily 'jot things down as you think of them' method, I decided that I would stick to a weekly page like I was using in my binder planner.  With moving things to the weekly to do list and crossing them off as I was done, things got pretty messy at first, and I wasn't too interested in a book full of scribbled out pages.  But with the weekly page, I decided to make an effort to actually keep it tidy and use checkboxes instead of crossing things out, and I like it a lot.  I use sticky notes for stuff I need to get done that day, like dishes or laundry; stuff that would get done multiple times per week, just so I have a visual of my priorities, but before I would star or circle things, leading to a mess... which is fine when you just toss your page at the end of the week.

One of the first weeks.  Not liking so much!
My weekly page.
Now with my weekly page I draw a little calendar up top so I can see appointments at a glance, and then do a to do list down the left side.  On the right side, working up from the bottom, are my shop items for the week.  I do it this way to leave room for the sticky note if I'm using it.

I do have a colour code that I use, but it mostly turns up in my habit tracker so far.  I like colour too much to keep it all in black!  :)  My usual rule of thumb is to grab a different colour pen every time I do something new.

The other pages I use are a future log, with a square to jot down things that will come up in other months, a master shop to do list for Alice&Victor, and blog post ideas and goals for my blog (4x a month!)  Here are a couple examples of other pages in my book.  This one is shop goals - I broke down how many items per month I need to make if I am going to sell as much as I did last year plus 25%.  I really hope to spread it out instead of starting a sewing marathon in September that lasts to December.  This is helping me keep track - very motivating to see the numbers.  So far March is only half as productive as I'd like.  I guess I need a sewing blitz in the next 5 days!

And this is my habit tracker, an idea I found checking out bullet journals on Instagram.  It, too, is quite motivating.  And this book, a skinny little 8.5 x 5" thing follows me around the house way more than the binder planner, so I update it daily.  And I drink that extra glass of water so I can check off that box. I am looking forward to starting a new tracker for April and tweaking it a bit.

So that's my latest obsession.  I still will keep the binder planner in the office to hold the other things, so I don't need to transfer them every time I change notebooks, but I am looking forward to this new system and how it helps me keep an eye on my goals while satisfying my paper and pen obsession.

I'm curious: What kind of planner (brain on paper) do you use??

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