Getting Organized: Planners 101

When you’re trying to do the adulty thing and be more organized, sometimes it requires a planner. A lot of people prefer to use their Google Calendars (you should see my boss’ Google calendar. Its remotely terrifying to look at), a lot of people prefer to have it all written out. I’m in between these two groups of people. While having your Google calendar constantly reminding you of your schedule is nice, I love the idea of a physical planner. I can write myself notes, write in appointments, make to-do lists, and who doesn’t love color coding?!

Pros and Cons of Planner Types

The problem is, there’s like 10 bazillion different planners and planning methods available. It might sound like I’m exaggerating the number, but I’m honestly scared that its not an exaggeration. I’ve tried quite a few, but in comparison I’ve only tried a small portion of what’s available.
I’m a creative person. I’m crafty; I LOVE making things my own. A big con to this is that I’m a perfectionist when it comes to projects. I want perfect, I want to do it ALL. So I learned after a few tries, that a planner that I had to put any work into setting up or making pretty, was a really bad idea. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it! But when you take more time making your planner look pretty than you do actually filling it in, it might be a problem. So, simple might be better.
The other issue you run into, is price point. There are some absolutely gorgeous planners out there! But, some of the “designer” planners cost me 1/10th of a paycheck, and that is so not okay in my book. I’m ballin’ on a budget, and I can’t fathom spending my ice cream money on a planner. The thought hurt my soul.
So I compiled a mini list of a few of my planner experiences, as well as links to find them if you want. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them! After all, what’s a creative-but-trying-to-be-adulty gal to do without a new planner to try next year?

The Happy Planner: Create 365

I LOVED THIS SYSTEM. Its so fun to make different themed layouts and put all the stickers in the boxes. Since it uses a specific ring bound system, you can add and remove pages as you want and it makes it super customizable, though it already comes in a variety of themes. You can even make your own cover! It’s a great set up, and there’s an entire community surrounding it. It makes getting inspiration and ideas for layouts super easy.

I stopped using this system because I was having way too much fun (and taking way too much time) making the layouts. However, I still follow a few Instagram accounts who post content using the Happy Planner, and love seeing what people come up with!

Bullet Journaling

I probably liked this even better than the Happy Planner because it was 100% customizable to my needs. You just get a grid dot notebook and create your layout yourself. For me, this was a LOT of fun and took less time than the Happy Planner did because I would overthink it less. Plus, you can make it as decorative as simple as you wanted. I got a lot of my inspiration for my bullet journal from Pinterest. There’s a basic system you use by creating yourself a key, and an index, and then you can add whichever features you want. One of my personal favorites was a habit tracker, like this one.

Habit tracker used in a bullet journaling type of planner. Habit trackers allow you to track daily activities.
You can add whatever “habits” you want to a habit tracker. I added things like making sure I worked out, took my vitamins, ate breakfast, or posted to my blog!

I used a bullet journal for a full year until I decided to try something different and a little less time consuming, but I still love the bullet journal planner method.

Erin Condren Planner

The Erin Condren planner isn’t one I personally used, but a close friend did and LOVED it. It offers a really nice hourly layout, as well as a weekly, monthly, and yearly spread. It also comes with fun stickers and you can choose from an assortment of colors and themes. That’s always one of my favorite parts about picking out a new planner! The Erin Condren planner is one that I couldn’t bring myself to shell out the extra money on, but its still definitely on my list of planners I want to try. They do offer a petite planner now as well if you want more of a cross between structure and a bullet journal type vibe. They also have a few niche planners for wellness and budgeting, which I always think is a plus to have.

The Bloom Planner

The planner I currently use is one I found on Amazon, The Bloom planner. I chose this one this year because it offered a lot of the same features that some of the bigger planners offered, but in a smaller size and nicer to my budget. The fact that it offered more than just schedule planning, like goal setting was also nice. I did wish it had an hourly view like the Erin Condren planner, but for the price point its at I couldn’t complain too much.

When looking for my next planner before choosing the Bloom, I did a lot of comparison shopping. You have to find something that works for you. Make a list of all the things you need from a planner, if you have to. Maybe you have to have that hourly layout (looking at you, students!), or maybe you need a bunch of extra note spots for all the lyrics in your head. Maybe you really need a pocket sized planner. Its a personal thing. I’d love to hear what paper planners you guys are using or suggest! After all, 2020 isn’t all that far off.

Or maybe, you’ll choose to just stick with a Google calendar, and create one to rival even my boss’ absolutely insane calendar. If you do, all my positive vibes are being sent at you. You’ll need them.