Are paper planners making a comeback?

Or, did they never really go away? With technology, it really is a legitimate question these days. I used a Day-Timer to plan my life for 25 years and then I purchased an iPhone. That was the end of the paper planner, at least for a while. Now, don’t get me wrong, my iPhone is still my first defense against the world, but there is just something cathartic about writing in my planner. The thought process slows down and the hustle, bustle fades away – which can be a very good thing in today’s fast-paced society.

Recently, I’ve come across a huge resurgence of planner addicts as they are referring to themselves. (I confess to quickly become one of them.) While scrapbookking has never tempted me, other than drooling over the many cute stickers and Washi tape and stamps – well, you get the picture, decorating my daily planner days has become one of my favorite past times. I would like to add here too, that there are many planner groups that have sprung up on Facebook. I am the administrator of one such group, Southern Charm Planners. Women are coming together to share their ideas and find new ones. I invite you to stop by. You will be pleasantly surprised at what you find. https://www.facebook.com/groups/LouisianaPlannerGirls/

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Charm says “Keep Calm and Carry a Planner”

Sitting in my own little corner, in my own little chair (Rogers and Hammerstein‘s Cinderella) with my crafting scissors and scrapbookking supplies brings me a certain degree of comfort.

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Desk size Day-Timer Malibu in Teal

Not only has scrapbookking made a new name for itself in the planning world, but so have planner designers. Whereas in years gone by, one had to pick and choose from structured Day-Timer, Filofax, Day-Runner (and other similar) formats, that is no longer true. With the internet and the ability to download PDF files, the possibilities are endless. Where one had two or three sterile options available, the are now hundreds (perhaps thousands) of bloggers and Etsy store owners who have developed colorful options that make planning your day a joyful experience. Instead of the confines we used to have, we are free to pick and choose the colors and formats that best suite our lives and personalities and the way we plan. I personally mix three different styles to achieve what I feel is my perfect planner.

I currently use a Day-Timer desk size Malibu planner. The leather is not rigid, but very pliable, which is why I chose this particular planner.  I also love the size and gone are all the boring guts. (Sorry Day-Timer and everyone else.) I’ve replaced them with colorful pages that speak to my heart. I write freely each day in a different color flair pen and use brightly colored post-it notes, stickers, and Washi tape. My planner is not only a necessity in my scheduling, it is a fun place in which to spend time.

photo 3 (3)In the above photo is an example of what my week/day normally looks like. I like this weekly layout (the second half is covered up with my daily page) because of the little sections that allow me to label the column. It is working very well and at a glance I can see what is going on for the week – appointments, personal, blog, work, exercise, phone calls, etc. There are weeks when the headings change, but not often. I also enjoy the colorful set up. It is really not necessary to decorate because it is already filled with happy colors.

To the left is the first half of my week setup with my daily page to the right. The daily page allows me to break my day up into a time schedule. I can list my ToDos and phone calls in separate spaces because for me, they are separate things. Some people like listing them together and that is what is amazing. You can find set ups to work with your scheduling needs and personality. In the long column I can break my day up with a time line.

Because I use a daily page, having the second half of my week hidden doesn’t bother me. The only time I normally refer to it is at the end of the day when I schedule my “Today” page for the next day or if I need to add something to the schedule. My topics on that page usually contain exercise, blog information and personal. These are topics I do not necessarily want laying open on my desk. Also, when I glance down at the week, the things I really need to see are available to me on the right side of the week.

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Week at a Glance page
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Daily Schedule page

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Next up and located behind the Daily Page is a “Peek at the Week” page. I use this page to schedule my blog. I schedule my book reviews and stories for the week. There is a section where I write ideas on posts. When I have ideas or thoughts that I may want to have the flexibility of moving around, I will write them on post-it notes. This method allows me to move things from day-to-day or week to week. And, there are so many colors and styles available on the market today that everyone can find a color that they like or different colors to color code. Personally, I do not color code my pen colors or sticky-notes. I like the freedom of choosing whatever my mood dictates.

If you look at the next two photos, they will show how I trim the pages so that they are contained within my week. Trimming the pages also makes it easier for me to flip to the second page of my week when needed.

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Right hand page of Week

As I mentioned earlier, the second page of my week is more personal. It contains my Exercise chart and weekly weigh in, anything personal I might have going on, and what’s going on on my blog. I keep track of my upcoming book reviews on this page with sticky notes. If something unexpected arises and I have to move a book review, it is easily done. It may look redundant because I use another week peek to schedule reviews, but for me it is not. This is a flex page, the other is not, and contains spaces to jot down notes. It is a system that works with my mind and not against it; and that is the key to being a successful planner.

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Header tabs

I did not start out with many different sections in my planner, mainly because I like to see everything in one place. Lately, I have found myself venturing out in to different sections. I have even made my own dividers to section off my categories. That in itself was a creative and enjoyable process.

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Monthly tabs
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Header tabs

In days past, I was not a blogger, nor did I host a yearly Cookie Swap, nor did I do much menu planning. I find myself doing these things now and did not want my week cluttered up with these tasks, nor was it necessary, so I created separate sections in my planner for them. I also filled them with colorful papers to make the tasks fun.  Some of the different categories I use are (to repeat a few) are Cookie Swap, Menu Planning, Book Review notes, Blog post ideas, Notepad Paper (yes, for pretty paper when needed) Financials, and Year at a View.

These are the categories that fit with my lifestyle and activities. You will find different categories in every planner you visit. As I mentioned before, to be successful in utilizing your planner to its fullest and making it work for you, it is important to find a system that works with your personality and organizational skills. Start off small and then work your way up into different categories, if and only if, you have a need for more categories.

And, just a little note to say that you can find many, MANY planner pages for free on the web. Just try Googling and you will be quite surprised at how many come up.

I’ve recently developed a new and simple system of scheduling book reviews. I have used a spread sheet in the past, but with my “picture” mind, it wasn’t giving me a true picture of the number of reviews I had scheduled for a certain month. There were times when I overbooked without realizing it. My new schedule is in its own little calendar and has been working quite well. Post-it notes also give me flexibility in re-scheduling when life gets in the way of the best laid schedule.

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Book Review Book
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A month at a view

Hoping for a little audience participation, I will ask you this. What system do you find works best for you? I look forward to hearing what you think. Thanks as always for taking the time to stop and visit my blog. Links to the products used are listed below.

Day-Timer Malibu, Desk size: (Teal) http://www.daytimer.com/daytimerstore/mwv/product/Malibu-Leather-Snap-Tab-Desk-Sized-Planner-Cover/8176?pageSize=9&rootCatId=Collections_80&goToPage=1&catId=Malibu_80&prodId=8176

Weekly undated inserts: A Bowl Full of Lemons: (Blank weekly calendar, 2 pages) http://www.abowlfulloflemons.net/2013/09/the-rainbow-planner-products-page-2.html

Daily ToDo Page: PolkaDotPosiePrint (Etsy): https://www.etsy.com/listing/170968988/2014-small-size-printable-planner-pages?ref=shop_home_active

Peek at the Week: Iheartorganizing (free printable):(Scroll down page) http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/p/free-printables.html

Planner charm: (Keep calm) (Etsy): https://www.etsy.com/shop/shellybelly4evr

Check out Ruby for Women, an on-line Christian woman’s magazine. (I have an article in it.)
LINK to the winter issue of the Ruby for Women magazine:

http://issuu.com/ruby4women/docs

LINK to the December Book Giveaway:
http://rubyforwomen.com/2013/12/december-book-giveaway-our-hardcore-battle-plan-for-wives-winning-in-the-war-against-pornography/

Challenge – Organize your planner supplies

After using only my iPhone the last year for keeping track of my life, I have recently gotten back into using my paper planner. I have always loved Day-Timer products and have been using them for twenty-five years.

When I first began using a planner, the choices for inserts were quite limited. Today, the world is literally your oyster as the saying goes. Everywhere you look, someone has designed an insert. They are readily available through blogs and on the popular site, Etsy.

With the surge of women returning to paper planners (or some never having left) blogs and Facebook groups are popping up to unite and support women in their efforts. Never has it been more fun than now to track your life in a planner. I have jumped on board with the new wave of planner decorators who are combining their scrapbooking talents with their life organization skills and in the process I have accumulated a collection of “planner supplies”; pens, stickers, Washi tape, sticky notes, and notepads.

At some point, the supply mound will begin to topple and some organization is needed. This post is all about my Planner Organization Cart. I spend a good deal of time in my office and want it to be full of happy colors. My cart is a refreshing addition. It was purchased from IKEA and is heavy duty. It is heavy and what I like most about is that I can reach over and pull it out from beside my desk when I need supplies. It rolls easily.

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The front of the cart
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Front view, side view and rear view

Each shelf is dedicated to a different element of planning. The top shelf holds a pink Craftsman Tote. I use the tote to store a few color pens, scissors, hole punches and decorative papers.

The second shelf is dedicated to paper products. I have a few favorite containers that I like to use and I can fit three of them stacked comfortably on the shelves. I have containers for note pads, my 2014 planner pages, stickers, and various sticky notes.

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The containers I use nestle on top of one another. A few other containers that I am partial to can actually be found on the fishing tackle aisle! I use plastic tackle boxes for an assortment of things in my house. I use them to organize my makeup. I use them to organize jewelry. And I use them to organize my Washi tape in my cart.

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Tackle box
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Plastic containers with locking lids

I find some of the craft containers that feature some of the same setups as tackle box are not quite as tall and tend to crush the Washi tape. The plastic containers with locking lids (these are from Wal-Mart) sit nicely one on top of the other and the handles secure the lids. Here, you see the Washi tape in the tackle box and my pens are sorted by colors and housed in 4×5 picture cases that I purchased Joann‘s on-line.

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The bottom shelf houses color pens, stamps, washi tape and my label maker
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Small container holding stamps and ink pads
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Sticky pads, washi tape, supplies

And, that is how I have organized my Planner Supplies. The challenge I am issuing is for you to start the new year with your supplies organized. I am the moderator of a planner’s group on Facebook and I invite to join us and post pictures of your planning station. You can find Southern Charm Planners at https://www.facebook.com/groups/LouisianaPlannerGirls/

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Washi tape in a tackle box
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A back view of the cart. The wash tape container stands on its end and fits perfectly. The smaller container of washi tape is a 5×7 picture case.
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I love this label maker. I can plug into my computer and use all the fonts available there.
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Labels made using computer generated fonts.
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Color pens
Post-it notes and tape
Post-it notes and tape

I’m sharing in the Thursday Favorites Blog Hop:

thursday blog hop

Join in the fun here and hop across the blogs as you make new friends.

http://katherinescorner.com/2013/11/27/thursday-favorite-things-blog-hop-116/

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“Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble”…Tuesdays with Donna, A Little Southern Comfort

It’s that time of the week again! Hope everyone had a wonderful week. Other than loads of rain the past few days, there hasn’t been much going on. 

 

Hubby had to make a trip Sunday afternoon to Lowes for paint. He’s trying to finish up a rent house before the building permit expires next month, along with the Builder’s Risk Insurance. I normally go with him, but this time I had something different in mind. Remember the Planner Addicts group I belong to on Face book? Well, Michael’s is just across the way, so I managed to inquire (with a very passive face) if he would mind dropping me off so I could browse while he made his trip to Lowes. Silly, silly man. He told me yes. I don’t know if that expression or plea will EVER work again!

 

project life 2013 | june
project life 2013 | june (Photo credit: vee*)

 

The automated doors opened up and the entire store was there, waiting for me to descend upon it. I’m sure Hubby wasn’t to the Lowes parking lot before my buggy was showing signs of distress under its load. I picked up a few more of the $1 items for gifts at my annual cookie swap in December. I thought it would be nice to have loads of little gifts this year instead of a few more costly items. That way, everyone could win at the games. But, that wasn’t where I stopped. I headed over to the Project Life isle. I have a plain brown binder and I was looking for something a little more colorful. Sure enough, there it was! A beautiful, colorful, chevron Project Life album sitting there waiting for me. I picked it up and gave it a place of honor in my buggy before heading on to the Washi tape.

 


I had begun decorating my planner for October and realized that I had no orange or black Washi tape. I didn’t want to use another color because I have the cutest Halloween stickers that I am using. After gathering the items I had come for, I took the opportunity to just wander up and down the aisles. Michael’s is a huge store and there are so many goodies! As I was coming back down one of the isles, I happened to look up and noticed the line of Sunday shoppers at the checkout counters, so armed with my 40% coupon (which I planned to use on my Project Life binder) and an additional 20% off my entire purchase coupon, I took my place in line. 

 


I called Hubby to see how his trip was faring and he was in the check out line at Lowes. About the time that I was walking out of Michael’s, he was driving up to the door. That was great unplanned timing. And, he never missed a beat as I loaded my HUGE bag of a “few little things” into the back seat. You have to give him credit. He didn’t blink an eye. Men just have to know that if they drop their wives off a ANY store for any length of time, that she’s going to come out with a bag, and it just may be the biggest bag that store has to offer. 

 


Monday is normally mow the yard day for me. That is, unless it’s raining, which it has been practically the entire summer. My schedule has been – mow the grass when it’s not raining. I had just begun mowing the front yard when it began drizzling. I checked the sky and saw that we were in for rain, but as long as there was no lightening and it was only a light rain, I continued to mow. It wasn’t long before my mind was doing its normal thing – wandering. At some point in my “wandering” I realized that I was getting a little wetter than I should be and happened to tune in to my surroundings and realized that it was raining pretty hard. I mow with my big straw hat and it was acting as an umbrella so that I didn’t realize it had gone from a drizzle to an almost downpour. You ask, “How did I not figure that out?” Folks. This is me. Need I say more? 

 


By that time, I figured I was already wet so as long as the mower was still blowing grass (meaning the grass wasn’t so wet it was clumping up under the mower instead of blowing out of the tunnel) I would continue mowing. About the time I finished up the front yard and was heading to the side and back yards, it had stopped raining and the sun was in all its glory. By the time I finished up, I was dry.

 


The next project up that I was about to just ignore was washing the bottom of the garage door. Calypso chases her tail and has made it a habit of cornering it against the garage door. She is not the cleanest dog around as she loves the swimming pool and the mud holes. Combine that with rubbing against a white garage door and it won’t take long to realize it’s not a pretty picture. Hubby kindly told me – my dogs, my mess. That meant clean it. Not that I mind. Poor man. He works long days and he’s tired at the end of the day. 

 


I gathered up the bucket and soap and a water hose and went to work. It is now a pale gray at the bottom and I’m thinking I shouldn’t have cleaned the top too, because now it is really noticeable how much its stained. Then, as soon as I finished, that silly dog went back to chasing her tail next to the door I had just cleaned. So much for that job being successful!

 


Now I am on to a rant. Our church just recently instituted a family of the month and minister (lay) of the month program. The recipients this month are close friends of mine, and if anyone was a a deserving family, they are. They are wonderful people and I feel blessed to a part of their lives. This “rant” of mine is in no way meant to diminish the honor I am certain they feel for receiving this award.  In fact, I had already written this post when I saw on Facebook that they had been chosen as family of the month. 

 


Ever since this program has been in formation, Hubby and I have been discussing the merits of it. Neither one of us think that the program should exist – for a litany of reasons. We also decided that if our names ever came up (which after this rant, I’m sure they won’t) we would decline the award. 

 


There is already so much division in the church and we feel that this will cause even more division – the people you “see” doing versus those who quietly do. The question is – should the church be bestowing awards on its congregation for what they should already be doing – and that is, being good stewards of faith?

 


There are many ways to serve in the Catholic church; altar servers, lectors, commentators, Eucharistic ministers, organizations, etc. I choose to be a lector, not because of the recognition I might receive, but because it is my way of serving God. I am a good reader and that talent is God given and I know that I should use it to serve Him. Hubby is part of the music ministry and he will be the first to turn the praise from himself to others. He is a very humble man who is quietly carrying on the legacy of his mother. I will not expound on the deeds that he does because that is between him and his God. It is not my place to praise him to others, although in the privacy of our relationship, I do let him know how proud of him I am. 

 


That being said, not everyone is comfortable being in an organization or reading in front of people, etc. Because no one sees them, does not mean they are not good stewards of their faith. Should those who are unable to put themselves out there not be recognized as well? Not being from the area, Hubby has pointed out different people and told me their stories and how they help people. There are many humble people out there who wish to remain anonymous, and they should be allowed that anonymity. 

 


After I published this post, my friend (award recipient) messaged me. And, no, she wasn’t upset with me. I think she would be okay with me saying she actually felt the same. In her words, “I do it for God and for love of my community.” And she does. She is a quiet, wonderful human being with a huge heart and a faith that I admire.

 

I also found out that it is a committee that nominates, and this again, struck me as being so wrong. I want to stress that this is my opinion, but to me, that is judging and it is not our place to judge. I would not want to be a part of a committee sifting through the congregation to determine who the humble are. 

 


The question is, should we single out any one person over another? What about those who do things only for the attention they receive? Should they be recognized over someone who sits quietly in the pew Sunday after Sunday, but helps his neighbor every day? We are called to be humble servants of God, not “awarded” servants of God. 

 


Who are we to judge who is or isn’t worthy of receiving an award here on earth? Shouldn’t our reward be bestowed in Heaven? I’ve heard it said that if we “toot our own horn” or receive our awards here on earth, then there is no reason to be awarded a second time in Heaven. It is those good deeds that go unnoticed, except by the Almighty, that will be our saving grace. 

 


And, not to mock the seriousness of my rant, but this song plays over and over in my head when I think of being humble, or when I notice someone else not being quite so humble. Maybe it’s just my strange sense of humor, or maybe it’s because we all struggle with humbleness. 

 

 

I’m sure I’ve stepped on a few toes – or, maybe not. So feel free to speak up – kindly though – or your remarks may be removed.