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I began using a planner in 2006 while I was in the Army. I worked in what was called the orderly room. Which is kind of like a HR office for the unit and a secretary for the 1st sergeant and commander, all in one. I went to the Post Exchange to buy a binder or notebook to hold my massive amount of sticky notes that I had stuck everywhere. I mean literally everywhere, all around my computer screen, all over my desk top, the wall next to my desk and even crammed into my pencil holder. That’s when I spotted what was to be my very first planner. It was a ACU print zip closure 3 ring mini binder with velcro on the bottom for a name tape from one of our uniforms. Inside was day on 2 page inserts with hourly schedule on the left side and lined paper on the right. It was love at first sight.
Since then I have always kept a planner in some form. I’ve used journals to make planners similar to what is now known as bullet journaling but not really the same. I’ve used Avery mini binders. I even called myself making a “fancy planner” by sewing a cover for a two inch Avery mini binder, which I used for years, before I saved enough Swagbucks for the cheapest A5 Filofax on amazon. It was a A5 Filofax Aubergine with spots. It wasn’t the one I really wanted but I was obsessed with it none the less.
This is the Filofax I bought using Swagbucks. Image from Amazon.com
That is the planner I was using when I discovered pretty planning. Erin Condren was the planner everyone had and were creating the most beautiful spreads I had ever seen. Decorating my planner had never even crossed my mind prior to seeing these decorated Erin Condren planners. I wanted one soooo badly but couldn’t justify dropping fifty bucks on a planner that I wasn’t sure how it would work for me. I had always used a day on two pages and switching to a week on two pages was daunting. So I thought I would make some inserts that are similar to the Erin Condren layout and try it out before I dropped fifty bucks on it. And I did. And it was bad, like so bad. I didn’t have room to put everything. I couldn’t keep track of things that needed to be done at a certain time because I was so used to have a hourly view that showed exactly what I needed to complete and when. Plus there was no space for me to do my daily journaling, which at that time I kept in my planner. It was chaos. Needless to say, I learned pretty quickly that keeping only a week at a glance planner was not going to work for me. I needed daily and a hourly view. So I kept both for a while, which was great because I was actually forward planning instead of planning the night before and I was accomplishing more. But I didn’t like flipping back and forward all the time to see both my weekly and daily spreads at once. So I went on a mission to find planner peace. Which really means I bought and never used a bunch of planners and notebooks. From Happy Planners to faux-dories to personal sized planners (cause going smaller seemed like a great fix for not enough space, LOL) to various sized journals.
I knew I wanted to be able to use all those gorgeous planner stickers that are available on Easy and still have room for a hourly view of my day, a to do list, space for bill tracking, space for health tracking, and space for daily journaling. Getting all that in one book though was basically impossible. So I set to work. First I needed to make some daily inserts that will hold everything I need with me on a daily. I found that personal sized worked best for being able to make what I needed and still be of the size to use stickers made to fit the Erin Condren. Once I got that done I decided to use my Happy Planner for forward planning and household management (including my bill tracking). Then I settled on using a standard sized faux-dori to hold my daily journal, a common place note book, a monthly planner for this blog and my YouTube channels (That’s right I am finally going to get my act together and blog regularly, well, at least that’s the plan.), and a sketchbook. I have finally found my planner peace. Well, I change out my planner binder and faux-dori cover frequently to keep from getting bored with them but the system is perfect for me. I carry my personal planner with me everywhere all the time and my faux-dori most of the time and the Happy Planner stays home, for the most part.
Pretty planning is amazing and can be quite therapeutic but your system should be on that works for you not just one that is great for pretty planning. If making it pretty is important to you then you will find a way to do that with what ever system works for you, even if it wasn’t designed specifically that.
Here is some of my planner layouts.
For more pretty planning layouts check me out on Instagram @zanettes_studio.