Anyone who knows me knows that I am a type-A, list-making, label maker-loving, calendar-obsessed fool.
The command center in my house contains not one, not two, but three calendars! Across the room is another calendar. There are two more in our home office. I have a desk calendar and daily diary book at my place of business. Then, of course, there are the calendars on both my work cell and my personal cell. I am a little, shall we say, calendar crazy.
Now, not all these calendars are for me. I have a weekly calendar for each one of my sons at our command center and the monthly and weekly calendar in the home office is for my eldest, to help him track assignments and due dates. The rest, yeah, they’re all for me. The problem that I have is compiling all the information from all the different calendars into one, easy to read place. And it can’t be a digital format. I need it in hard-copy, it’s the only way that works for me. And having something that works for me is essential for me to be able to keep up with my ‘working mother of two boys and our family has a billion things to do’ life.
Enter the planner…
I fell in love with planners in elementary school and have rarely been without one since. Trouble is, I just can’t seem to find one that does everything I want it to do, looks the way I want it to look, doesn’t have a ton of extras I don’t need, and doesn’t cost my first child’s college tuition to buy (I’m not afraid to say it, I am cheap when it comes to planners). I have tried so many and just can’t seem to find the right ones.
I started out with the DayMinder calendar. The same type that I used to use in college. Trouble is, I’m not in college anymore. It simply didn’t have enough space for me to track everything that I needed and the executive ones that seemed to be better made and didn’t fall apart when traveling cost an arm and a leg.
The Day-Timers were nicely made and offered a variety of choices for executive-style covers but the pages were flimsy and still didn’t have enough room for both personal and professional life. Added to the fact that, once again, the covers and refills are PRICEY and, it just didn’t work out.
For a while, I was very happy with my Organizher planner by Mead. The plastic covers were somewhat durable and fashionable and it did not break the bank. The extra features that were available such as plastic pockets to keep receipts and bills in were extremely helpful but it only really offered a monthly view and the pages and plastic binder rings were a little flimsy.
Next up was the Planner Pad, which was recommended by a friend of mine. I really liked the theory behind this planner and if you are just looking for a planner for work stuff, you may want to check this out! It utilizes a funnel process to help you schedule everything in your life by first, categorizing everything going on, then prioritizing it, and scheduling specific times to get it done. It’s probably great for anyone whose job doesn’t change on a minute-to-minute basis like mine does. I do a lot of “triage” in my job and, what I thought on Monday was a low priority suddenly changes to a hair-on-fire issue in an instant. I did a lot of crossing out and rewriting. I also didn’t feel like I was really seeing everything I had in a convenient place.
I have a lot of friends who swear by their Happy Planners so I am currently trying one of those out. Found one on sale on the website that was undated (Score! I hate dated planners that I can’t reuse) and I am exploring all that it does/does not offer. So far, I like that everything seems to be in one place and I am liking the weight and feel of the pages. It seems to be a sturdy little planner. I really don’t need all the stickers and extras that are offered but, I do like the fact that I don’t have to buy these with the basic planner. They are strictly optional purchases. I wish they had some plastic pockets or zipper sections available for me to store important papers or bills in, however.
I’m only one month into my current planner experiment so we will see how I feel in a few more months. For now, the Great Planner Debate continues.
What is your favorite planner to use? What do you like about it? Which ones have you tried that disappointed you?