Everyone is searching for his or her ideal planner. You know, the one that is going to be the perfect design, perfect color scheme, and somehow make your life complete. You join the planner community and the next thing you know you trick yourself into thinking that you need to purchase:
- 10 different planners/journals
- 15 several types of pens for 25 distinct reasons
- 25 different washi tape styles because you know…themes
- Various markers, crayons, paints and stickers
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You get home after your Michaels binge trip only to come to the realization that you are still missing something…a concrete idea on how your planner will function.
When I first started bullet journaling, I convinced myself that I needed EVERYTHING. The pens, the tape, the stickers, you name it. It felt like I spent more time ordering from Amazon than I actually did using my bujo for productivity purposes.
Well, the good news is I’ve been using paper planners for a while now and here are 7 things I have learned to help me obtain a sense of ‘inner planner peace’ by finding your perfect planner:
Get to know why you really need a planner
The bujo and planner communities are amazing. You see everyone planning, enjoying the planner conferences and you love the community but have you really invested the time into deciding WHY you personally need a planner? Is it to manage your day-to-day tasks? Is it to keep track of long-term goals and achievements? You should try to decide what exactly you need to get out of your planner or else you’ll start to purchase all types of planners and you aren’t sure why you have them or what you need them for.
To determine the best type of planner, you need to know what you like and what you need them for. Get a planner that fits your life – here is our list of the best paper planners of 2018, if you’d rather go that route than a bullet journal.
Think about size and orientation
Are you always on the go and don’t want to carry a gigantic planner in your purse? Do you like a vertical layout or a horizontal layout? These are all questions to ask before purchasing a new planner.
You’re probably thinking… “If I knew what I wanted I would get that planner, but I won’t know until I try every last planner on the market!”
No, that’s not true and that’s crazy expensive to live like that. Try this instead: download and print some free templates online that come in assorted sizes and styles that you are interested in trying.
For example, I would download an A5 size of a vertical layout. Try it out for a week and see how you feel about it. If you find that you aren’t able to fit everything you need on one page, then try out a full letter-sized model. Need something that you can pop in an out of your purse at a moment’s notice? Try a personal sized template!
Once you’ve narrowed down your size options, you have to think about binding and organization options. Do you like a hardcover or a softcover? Hardcover journals are definitely more durable, but also add in some extra weight to your bag. Are you a stickler for a logical order to your planner? If so, you might want to think about a disc-bound or binder style journal so that you can arrange and re-arrange as you see fit!
Still unsure as to what’s going to make you a productivity queen? Check out my trusty friends, YouTube and Google. The pros in the planner community love sharing their thoughts on which planner is the best, you’ll be able to find a video or blog post reviewing almost every single planner you can possibly buy.
Think about layout
Are you someone who likes to be able to experiment with your spreads and change things up on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis? For you, I suggest getting a “typical” bullet journal, aka a blank dotted journal such as the Leuchtturm1917.
If you’re more of a pre-printed layout kinda girl, check out the Erin Condren LifePlaners. Just like with the SIZE of your planner, the layout opportunities of planners are endless.
Have a system
Having a system on how you plan your day, your business, or whatever is important to you is going to help you obtain planner peace. Who cares how cute the planner is, if it is not serving a functional purpose in your life, it’s not worth your time. I’ve learned that I work better when I write out my to-do list in my chicken scratch handwriting and do the old school check marks than when I do a fancy bujo layout where I have to remember to color it in to match my code (I can never seem to find that shade of blue I used…) or connect the dots.
But, if making a beautiful tracker or layout motivates you to keep up with your goals or tasks, then more power to you! Learn what system works for you. The planner can’t work for you if you have no clue (or no motivation) how to use it.
Stop getting caught up in the flashing lights and glitter
We all fall prey to seeing a popular Youtube bujo influencer share their latest love for a certain product and then suddenly, we need that product. We can’t function without it and now we question our entire system and planner. Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves that we don’t have to buy everything we see – unless you find it a necessity for your planner system and planner then stay away from being sucked in to all the shiny things!
I’ve found that one way to hold myself back from impulse buying bujo supplies is to make an Amazon wishlist. It helps me to keep track of all the great products I see on blogs or Instagram accounts. I let them sit on my list and keep on with my daily life. If I find myself still thinking of how useful these products would be weeks after seeing them, then I’ll come up with a plan to purchase my “necessities.”
Determine how many planners you need
I, personally, can’t handle having more than one planner. So, my business plans, trackers, to-do list, appointments, and even my homeschool stuff have to be in one planner or I will forget to use it. I just need to house everything in one place. You might find, however, that you need more than one planner to manage your life. Some people keep separate planners for their unique needs: reference planners (recipes, class notes, etc.), task oriented (daily logs, monthly calendar spreads, etc.), and even just jotting journals for when you need to put down that thought before it disappears from your mind forever.
If you’re one of those people who like to keep your planners separate by theme, I caution you to remember to really think about planner SIZE (point number 2 above) when you purchase your planner. We can’t have everyone turn into journal hoarders!
Last but not least… actually use your planner!
We get a planner and then we insert our to-do list but I’ve learned that you need to make your planner work for you. Make sure you use your planner not just to write your to-do list but use it remind you how to plan for success, get you closer to your dreams, and make your day crazy easy and productive. Get yourself into a state of planner peace by using your planner for productivity.
Don’t use it because you think you should, but make it a part of your daily routine that helps you to become successful in your life. Whether your motivation comes from creating gorgeous, swoon-worthy spreads or you simply need a teeny-tiny notebook to be able to throw in your purse for idea jotting, finding the perfect planner for YOU can change your life!
Which planners are tried and true winners for you? Are you a multiple journal kinda person? Drop us a comment below and let us know how you have achieved planner peace!