UPDATED POST: I originally posted this in 2015 and well, it's still all true today. I seem to love buying planners like people love buying shoes. I also realize that as my life changes my planner needs change. The girls are older and I don't have their schedules to track quite as much, so simpler seems to work best. Right now I'm kind of in between what I want to do. So the below picture is what I've been doing. My husband saw this the other day and was like "why don't you just do this all on your phone or tablet". Me: "You just don't understand. I love paper". LOL. The monthly calendar just has stuff like appointments, (which are also on phone), bills I need to pay, etc. The little book is to do's and the other is for the FB page I VA for. I would like to whittle it down to one or two but just not sure. I really like the Bloom Daily Planners, and that may be the route I go. It really depends on your personal need. Since this post I re-activated my iphone and the kindle died so I now have a Samsung tablet. At the bottom you'll find some of my favorite planners. I also used the Day Designer for Blue Sky, and really liked that one as well (no pic though). 

PREVIOUS POST: I absolutely LOVE technology, all things technology...I love my computers, my kindle, my iphone turned ipod, my digital camera. But I still really, REALLY love paper. Yes, I broke down and got a Kindle Fire HD last year and I love it and actually read more books on it now, but there's just something about turning a page in a book, or crossing off something on a to-do list, with an actual pen. Since I got married 23 years ago, I can't think of a time when I haven't had a planner of some sort...I like being organized, I like seeing things on paper. Did I say I Love paper?! 

Last year I decided to try doing all my scheduling, to do, etc..on my Kindle Fire. I took it everywhere with me so why not use it for everything. Right? Wrong! I tried, I really did, but I just couldn't do it. I'd forget things on my to-do and it just wasn't "fun". Not to mention the fact that I didn't want to spend money on some of the apps that are out there even if they are good. Don't ask me why..I'll spend money on a paper planner but not a digital one. I just like paper. 

One of the things I have struggled with as I search for the perfect planner (kind of like looking for the perfect pair of jeans), is finding the perfect fit. Often it seems that many planners are geared toward professionals working in an office, not "professional moms" juggling all of life. OR the ones that are geared toward "moms" were a little too overboard or geared alot towards "school" and my girls were homeschooled. Every now and then I tossed around the idea of creating my own planner, and maybe I will someday but there are so many options out there. 

When I first got married, there was an awesome Christian Womans' Dayplanner and I really liked it, then a friend of mine used a Franklin Covey Planner and I liked it, so I used that for several years. I've used several different ones over the years, so many, that I can't remember what they were. Some were basic, some were a little more detailed. One time I just used a notebook to write all my to do's and lists in. I'm not sure what I did for appointments. 

I thought I would share the last two planners I've used with you. The last one I just received last month so I haven't fully gotten a feel for it. I'll share what I liked and didn't like about each one. 

The first planner that I used last year was the Day Timer Family Life Planner. I loved almost everything about it....almost. 
 I found this planner at Target. I was in desperate need of a new one and while I'm not a fan of the color pink, I liked the inside. When I got it home and took the sticker off the front, it promptly pulled a huge layer of the cover off. No Bueno!!! So I improvised and made my own decoupaged piece to go over the tear. The cover was a weird material and while it was sturdy, the top layer easily separated. This planner was about an 8x10, which is great and has lots of room to write (which I love), but it was bulky to carry with me everywhere. 
 The monthly layout was great. Lined boxes (score for me) with room to write in appointments. I tend to use colored pens and use a different color for each person in my house, the boy I babysit and the lady I work for. It had a side bar for goals, and a section at the bottom for notes. I used those for whatever I felt like at the time. 
The inside was a weekly layout, divided up for individual members of the family. There are not 6 people in my house, so one column was for "school" and the other for my "work". This idea was great because in one glance I could see who had what going on. It could work for a student to put classes there with assignments. Downside was that often it was wasted space. I suppose I could have utilized it better. 
 The top left was for To Do/Errands...not a lot of room for my big writing, but it worked. Then you can see maybe how the layout would look for activities..
 Right side held spots for school and personal as well as an awesome Dinner Menu and a large space for notes. LOVED these sections. 

They made a smaller version of this planner but I didn't care for the layout. The only two downsides I would say about this one are the size (if you want to take it with you places), and my lack of utilizing the individual columns. NOW, if my kids went to public school and were younger, I could see these being utilized more. I would absolutely go back to this planner again. I actually tried to find it, but it was sold out online and I couldn't find it in the stores. 

Next up is the one I was blessed to get this year. Some friends gave me birthday money towards a new planner and this is the one I chose. It is by Erin Condren. Now, I had come across it and watched her video on the website and thought hmmmm..this looks pretty neat...then I saw this CRAZE going on that I didn't know existed. People "scrapbooking" their planners. Really!?! Seriously?!? Were my thoughts. So I watched video after video after video of how people decorate their planners. My thought was "they just spent $50 on a planner only to scrapbook in it?". To be fair, yes, they had practical life in there, but they did it often with stickers, etc..and that actually somewhat is what attracted me to this. Sometimes in the midst of planning, I forget things, or it's there but I somehow miss it. These gals were using stickers to make their planners "pop". There are some that go waaayy overboard, and others who are more simplistic..I lean towards simplistic. I haven't had it long and haven't had the extra money to buy "goodies" to adorn my planner, so we'll see what happens. 

 All purchases come with a personalized cover (see their website). However, if you want a quick ship, you will get a generic cover. I was ordering mine at the tail end of December and wanted a new one ASAP, so opted for the quick ship. I love the cover and the quote on the front of it, but I was very excited to create my own. This was everything that was in the package. 
Fun gift tags, notes, etc...it truly was a fun package to unwrap. It came in a pretty box, wrapped in purple tissue paper. 
I did pick up some goodies from the store, but not much. A few of the items I already had at home.  Below is the planner cover I chose.
This planner is spendy. $50.00, but I did get a $10 off coupon so that helped. This thing is sturdy. The cover is heavy and laminated, and totally personalized...and can be removed and replaced....LOVED THAT. Go to Erin Condren to check it out and also do a search on youtube for the many ways people use their planners...There are even FB pages...yes, you heard right...FB pages for planner scrapbooking...who woulda thought! So while mine hasn't been "stickerized" quite yet..maybe after I pay off a few things I'll get a few things. Here's the gist of it. So, cover..super sturdy, which I love.
The monthly boxes are a reasonable size. The coil binding is so sturdy, and every page has a reinforced edge. There's a section for notes. Each month is a different color scheme and every monthly layout has an encouraging quote.
Here is my January month..plenty of room to write. No room for extra decorations in mine, though I have seen some creativity out there that I might try. My #1 goal is it is a PLANNER, first and foremost. #2 if I can pretty it up or make it more useful through stickers, then awesome! Otherwise, it is what it is. I still have 10 1/2 months to go..lol
 Here is the monthly "weekly" pages. The three sections are "morning, day, night". I'm not quite sure how I feel about these yet. Many people replace those with other things like "to do, to call, work", etc..there are etsy shops out there that sell stickers for this or others use stamps...it's amazing what people do..I feel like I've been living in the dark ages. I just do whatever. I find I categorize by the three given ones, but sometimes they flow over (I don't usually have as much going on in the evening). I don't put my "scheduled" things here, mostly the to-do's.

There is a section on the side for goals and notes..again people change these..I did get a chuckle thinking "why did they buy this planner when all they do is change everything about it?" The pages are thicker which is nice. There is also the bottom of the page which I usually use for meal ideas and I started putting exercising on there. 
 Here is one of my weeks in January...the first one after I got it. People love to use washi tape so I bought a few rolls. Mine looked crooked. I tried. I also like that because it is spiral bound I can flip it over on itself, which makes it easy to work with. 

 Here's another week..again...plenty of room to write. It's just deciding how to best utilize it. 
In the bag are two pages of pre-printed stickers....ummm...that's a lot of birthdays! The other ones consist of "game", "day off", "hair appt.", "doc appt", "mani/pedi", "party" "vacation"and way too many of each of those...lol. there are 12 vacation stickers...uh...that should last me, oh, say, TEN YEARS. 6 Mani/Pedi stickers...um...I've had two in my entire life...I'm 46. So, those I felt were a bit overkill! For $50 I would love the option of customizing them. 
 Then there are two pages of blank ones, which are awesome. However, it would have been great if they weren't attached in the book but loosely in there so maybe they could be run through a printer. But still, it's great and the colors coordinate with the months. I've only used a few of these so far. 

Finally there is a pocket in the back and a zipper pouch for storing other things. I purchased some Pilot Frixion Pens to use with my planner and I love them. Easy to erase and they don't bleed through. 

I really like both of these planners. The second is still too new to say I "LOVE" it...there are things I LOVE about it, but certainly things I'd change, we'll see as the year progresses. 

When it comes to planning, organizing and scheduling our lives, there are so many options out there. I've seen many printable options on the internet that I've considered and maybe will try this next year. I just know for me...I need paper, I need to see it all in front of me...and even then, I still forget. 

What do you use for planning, organizing and scheduling your life?

With Joy UNquenchable,


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