I’ve been using Erin Condren Life Planners in three different layouts as part of my basic planning system for 2016. I share how I’m using these planners in this video.
For the last couple of years I’ve used a planner as a scrapbook journal.
I thought the discs would give me more flexibility to add mementos and texture to my scrapbook. But somehow it never seemed to work the way I wanted it to and I inevitably stopped using it regularly.
So my first decision for 2016 was whether I still wanted a scrapbook planner. I do a form of Project Life but really it’s a more glorified photo album since I’m not big on the embellishments. I don’t keep a daily thoughts journal. If I ever feel the need for a rant or brain dump I use any notebook because I don’t need to reread what I wrote – for me the act of writing is enough. I like writing brief thoughts about my week, adding photos (even if they’re just what shows I’ve been watching) and stickers and washi galore. So ultimately I do want some kind of scrapbook journal which I can use as a creative outlet.
I like using planners as the basis of my scrapbook simply because they’re dated. I think the vertical layout of the Happy Planner was too restrictive. Journalling seems a more left to right process for me which makes me think a horizontal layout would work best. So my thoughts immediately went to my Erin Condren Rose Gold in horizontal
This is definitely a strong contender but I’m worried about bulking out the planner and not being able to add things to it easily, although I do have a build up of coil clips.
Another possibility is a simple horizontal layout in a Filofax such as the Inkwell Press inserts but this seems too ‘official’ for its purpose.
And a latecomer in the running is the Heidi Swapp Large Memory Planner. I do like the inserts but I’m not 100% sold on the binder, which feels a bit too much like school.
Since we’re already coming to the end of the first week of January, I’m going to have to make my decision pretty soon.
Do you use a planner as a scrapbook journal?
In this post, I explained how I was going to re-use some of my 2015 planners to help me decide on my basic planning system for 2016.
Over November and some of December I tried
- Passion Planner
- Day Designer
- Erin Condren Horizontal
- Plum Paper M.E Planner
- Plum Paper Regular Horizontal
- MAMBI Happy Planner
- Franklin Covey Her Point of View – Classic inserts
I didn’t use my Inkwell Press Planner simply because I’ve already bought the 2016 planner and will trial it next year. I also didn’t use my Limelife Planner – in all honesty I picked it up, the cover fell off and I just couldn’t get past the poor quality and awkward layout.
The Day Designer is just too big but I do like having the option of a daily planner.
I never did a review of the MAMBI Happy Planner. I really think this is a great quality planner for its price. But it wouldn’t be fair for me to give it a full review because I struggle with the disc bound system. I have a real like/dislike relationship with the discs. Simply, if you get on with the discs I would recommend the Happy Planner.
The Passion Planner‘s weekly layout doesn’t suit my needs at the moment. I would have to make too many changes to the layout to make it worth my while. This was a really helpful insight since this planner has been high on my list to re-buy for 2016. I do like the passion plans and some aspects of the monthly reviews but I think it would be easy to incorporate these into my basic system, particularly since a PDF is available.
I’m still undecided about the Plum Paper Planners. Instinctively I think the layouts may be too cramped for me. Luckily I bought 2015/2016 planners for both the M.E and horizontal so I can trial them again next year. But they definitely won’t be part of my basic system.
My biggest surprise over the last few weeks has been how I’ve gravitated towards the bound planners. I have been a Filophile for so many years it’s possible that last year I was trying to develop a system which used a Filofax rather than thinking about whether a Filofax suited my needs. I’m even beginning to suspect a Filofax (or other ring-bound planner) will not suit my needs if and when I return to work next year. A correlated surprise is I think a personal sized planner may be better for me than an A5, if I ever do return to a Filofax. I will definitely trial different inserts and set-ups in ring-bound planners next year but I don’t foresee them forming part of my basic system.
So now I have a better idea of which planners work for me, I can think about what I need from my planning system
I decided to start this new blog for all my productivity, planning and planners posts. How long I maintain it is anybody’s guess.
But I thought the best way to celebrate the birth of Planner Ru is by hosting a giveaway.
I’ll be posting my review of the Plum Paper Planner within the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, I’m giving away a 2016 Plum Paper Planner Regular Planner with the vertical lines.
1. The giveaway will end on 13 December 2015. 2. There will be one winner. 3. I will contact the winner within 48 hours of the giveaway ending. The winner then has 48 hours to get back to me. If I don’t hear from the winner within that time, a new winner will be selected 4. You must be over 18 years old or have parental permission to enter. 5. Open internationally 6. I am not responsible for any customs, taxes, fees or other costs which may arise as a results of receiving the prize.
As we approach the home straight of 2015 my thoughts inevitably turn to my planning set up for 2016. I don’t strive for planner peace in my set up; I enjoy trialling new planners so much I don’t think I’m even looking for the perfect planning system.
But ultimately planners have to be functional, I can’t play with planners at the risk of missing appointments or forgetting tasks. In order for me to have confidence enough to keep my planner hobby going in 2016 I need to make sure my back up system functions really well. This year one of my failings was trying new planners without maintaining my back up. Or perhaps my back up wasn’t really working that well.
Also a part of me is constantly tempted to buy the latest version of a planner I’ve already reviewed in case there have been changes which affect how they function (on that note, review on Emily Ley Simplified Planner 2016 coming soon). But with so many new planners entering the market it seems a little counterintuitive to buy planners I’ve already trialled.
So in November (and maybe December) I’m going to try something a little bit crazy – I’m going to reuse the 2015 planners I’ve previously trialled. Not only can I update some of my reviews, and remind myself why some planners didn’t work for me, it can also help solidify my back up planning system for 2016.
Obviously it would be ridiculous to use all the planners at the same time but I will use each one for at least one week. Inevitably there will be some planners I use for more than one week and I may use a planner for a few weeks but tweak the way I’m using it each week. I know this means I’m going to be writing the same appointments, tasks etc several times each week but I can’t see this short-term duplication (or triplication etc) being a huge burden. If I do get frustrated it should help eliminate layouts that aren’t working for me.
So a couple of caveats before I start –
- I’m only including 2015 dated calendars – there’s no need to try undated planners at this time
- where I know the planners have been revised for 2016, I’ll trial the layouts on that basis as far as practicable
- I would like to have one planner as my back up system so I’ll be seeing how each planner could work towards that.
- I’m concentrating on retesting weekly layouts, for my monthly layout I’ll rely on iCal.
- I already have some notebooks set up which are working for me (e.g. for writing and project planning) and I don’t intend to change that.
Some of the planners I’m thinking of using over the next few weeks –
And of course Filofax using different inserts
To make sure I don’t miss anything during these crazy weeks I’m going back to basics and using a simple weekly layout for appointments and a list for tasks.
Wouldn’t it be ironic if this simple layout was my ultimate ‘planner’ peace?
I recently went on another sticker buying spree.
I don’t usually decorate in my planner besides a weekend banner and a strip of washi but recently I’ve been hankering for an more cohesive feel to my layouts. Luckily so many Etsy offer theme packs. From EllieBethDesigns I bought the October and November Delux monthly kits and the Watermelon Delux Kit. These kits come with a household sampler pack but now I have them I don’t really understand why certain icons are in the quantities given. This is a monthly pack so how many people only clean or go shopping twice a month and why are there 3 beds?
I also bought the Blue Bokeh decorative and weekly kits and some more rainbow checklist stickers. As always the quality of the stickers, the cut and the colour vibrancy is excellent. There are more choices for the sticker paper including glossy and matt vinyl. I will probably buy more themed kits in future.
I wanted to buy some decorative weekend banner stickers and I couldn’t resist these from Oodlema Doodles. I also bought the ombre checklists which I haven’t used yet. The autumn leaves were a sampler set but very lovely. The quality is excellent, it’s definitely a store I’ll keep on my radar.
Still on the hunt for layout themes, I bought the Fall and Marble weekly kits from Djoisch Design. The sticker quality is good.
The theme was superheros and, although I enjoy using stickers, I’m not actually 5 so I gave these to my daughter. For me, this a complete waste of money and I’m slightly put off buying mystery packs again. I don’t anticipate placing another order with this store.
I was surprised to see some Australian stores were offering fair priced stickers with incredibly reasonable shipping to the UK.
The order I placed with Lime & Mortar arrived within a week, which was a welcome surprise.
In real life the colours are probably more muted than they’re appearing in the photo but the cut is excellent, particularly round the lotus flowers. I will probably place an order for some mini icons and perhaps the monthly kits.
I also ordered from MadeByElissa. I was possibly tempted to order purely because she offered silhoutte machine icons. I found the heart checklists are the right spacing for the lined Plum Paper Planners which is a bonus.
I keep telling myself I don’t need more stickers but I still manage to have a sizeable quantity waiting in my Etsy basket at any one time. There are so many stores now it’s hard to know who to order from.
One thing I have noticed is a lot of Etsy store owners send their stickers to YouTubers for ‘free’ publicity. I can understand this and when they’re sent to long-standing members of the planner community then I can respect their reviews. However a lot seem to be sent to beauty or lifestylye YouTubers who have large followings and just happen to dabble in planners. My
irrational opinion is I’m not going to buy from these Etsy stores. When they’re so many to choose from I’d rather support those who display some integrity. Anybody else make buying decisions on a similar basis?