Wednesday, January 29, 2014

planning on paper

it's kind of funny that i'm writing this post now, at a time when i feel like there are too many loose ends to count.  but i do have to say that any shred of sanity i'm still holding onto is due to good organization habits cultivated long ago.  my planner is still an incredibly helpful tool for me, reminding me that the to-do list really is finite and that everything that's really important can [and will] be done in good time.

first, as promised, an update on my 2nd erin condren planner.  in summary: yes, still loving it.  the layout just seems to fit my needs more than any other, and i love the wide-open monthly planning pages and notes pages. plus, the cover is customized with a [now super-old but still cute] pic of annabel, and it still makes me happy every time i use it.

i wouldn't call this a comprehensive review - more of a brief tour, with notes on how i put this baby to good [i think!] use.

first -- the monthly pages:



these are on two pages so there is plenty of space, and there is a column on the right for goals.  LOVE this feature.  i put all of our call weekend dates on these, since this greatly dictates our availability for the month.  i'll also add any BIG events [ie, travel, relatives visiting, due date . . .] so i can get a sense of the more important things coming up ahead.

i try to be pretty reasonable about choosing monthly goals, putting things that are actually actionable in the time frame and avoiding vague reminders.  for example, i've been able to check off all of the above even though 'make plans to do closets' just means that josh and i have picked a weekend to go to the container store and go nuts in the near future.

then - the weekly pages, or really day-by-day:


oh MY do i love these big boxes and the layout.  you can see that on the left is space for smaller weekly goals, which i typically write out every monday.  i don't always FINISH everything each week, and then i'll put a line through the box and add it to the next week.  

in the daily spaces, you're theoretically supposed to divide into morning/day/night.  i just ignore this!  i use the top for scheduled items [ie, meetings, appointments, etc], the middle panel for any random notes or day-specific to-dos, and the bottom box for meal planning.  then, there are several lines below to become a training plan [well, not now . . .] and/or a workout log of sorts [also not now because as you all know i have GIVEN UP this time around].  

here's a closeup of that bottom part:


as i mentioned, there are also lots of lined and blank pages in the back to use for lists.  i use them for both practical things and fun lists, like the music one below.


finally, for those into stickers, there are plenty of labelled and blank ones in the back so you can doctor up your weekly or monthly pages.  i don't use these much except to clearly delineate call weekends, but they definitely draw attention to important dates.


the erin condren planners in my mind are perfect.  however, complaints that i can understand are:

- they are big.  not like, phone book size, but you can't toss them in a tiny purse.   it fits easily in my new work bag though with room to spare :)

- they are pricey.  watch for sales or coupon codes, because without them it will run you >$50.  remember, it's a custom cover item, so that likely adds to production cost, and the quality is good, as mine have held up well.  but it's not a bargain.

- they are girly and colorful.  personally i like this and consider it a positive, but i can imagine that would not be for everyone.  i think they should come out with a more minimal looking 'pro' version . . . although i'd probably still buy the rainbow one.

off to lie down and read.  and probably fall asleep in 5 minutes. . . .

a's favorite bedtime story:


now online for posterity.