Planners can be functional, and pretty

Today’s trend in the Planner Community is for “pretty planning” or “functional planning”.  You will find several people on YouTube, Instagram, and in Facebook groups sharing how you can keep your planner functional, but beautiful.  In general, women like things pretty, and there is nothing wrong with that.  Even Franklin Covey has several lines of planners that are beautiful, but intended for function.  The real question is Why? Why do you decorate (or not decorate your planner)?

Since I do decorate my planner, I am not an appropriate judge of why you wouldn’t.  I’ve made my planner pretty since I was a freshman in high school.  That is who I am and that is what I do.  Now granted in high school paper crafting was not a thing and sticker choices were limited, so my style of decor was very different.  My planner was a spiral bound weekly planner with a green cover.  I HATE GREEN!  Forgive me, but I do.  I love green in nature, and that is about it.  So looking at the outside of my planner wasn’t a joy, so the inside is where I turned my attention.  I used markers, colored pencils, and doodling to make the planner something that I would want to open.  My planner kept track of practices, tests, homework assignments, and everything else high school kids do.  It was also a place to be creative.

Fast forward to college and I got my first Franklin Planner.  It was a beautiful black zip binder in compact and I felt so professional.  I used this binder for years, though now I really only needed (or only used) monthly pages.  I kept lists and reference documents in the other sections.  I still used this planner when I was first married and scrapbooking started on the scene.  I bought a few sheets of scrapbook paper and decorated my dividers.  I still have this planner and I still have those dividers and it is a wonderful trip down memory lane.

Today’s planner is my Hobonichi Planner.  I love that it is a blank slate that allows me to use it how it is best for me.  Today’s planner is very decorated.  For the purist, they may miss the function for the stamps and stickers, but for me, its those decorations that make me want to open my planner and peruse my pages.  And that is the answer to my why.  That is why I decorate my planner, because it makes me want to open it up and see what is inside.  Regardless of the type of planner and whether it is decorated or not, if it isn’t opened, it isn’t useful.

The moral of the story: don’t worry about others, worry about you.  You will know how much decor is too much or too little.  Our planners are intended to serve us, not be a method of comparison and stress.  So, enjoy the journey and enjoy this time of so many options.

Hobonichi, notebook, or rings?

For us in the planner community, this is an exciting time, yet it is overwhelming too.  I’ve planned since high school.  For the majority of my life this occurred in a Franklin Covey compact, then the years of the Palm Pilot I went digital.  Now after my Palm Pilot crashed and I had to call to retrieve all my appointments, I haven’t been solely digital since.  Now I realize today we have the cloud and things happen magically.  However, I share the calendars with my husband and he has a way of deleting things that don’t pertain to him.  My paper planners, just me.  Besides, the act of writing down what I need to do and reading what I need to do helps me get things done (even if I don’t physically mark them off).

About five years ago I moved from a ring planner to an Erin Condren.  The Life Planner is an amazing planner and I loved it, but it just wasn’t me.  It was too big, I couldn’t really add to it, and I didn’t like the layout.  That is when my time feeling lost in planning began.  Since then, I’ve wanted a permanent home, like I had with my Franklin Covey (darn you “shiny object syndrome”). What I learned using the Erin Condren, I hate rings!  At least I hate writing in rings.  When it comes to reference and viewing, rings are my preferred way of doing things.  So, the elusive journey for “planner peace” continues.

Here is what I learned, and I’ve heard Carie Harling and MissVickybee state the same information.  I have a system that works.  I can do it on a napkin, in a binder, in a notebook, in a bound book.  What really matters is I write everything down and read everything.  While this is common sense, this is a line from Anne Ortlund’s book “The Disciplines of a Beautiful Woman” that really stuck with me.  When I forget to do things, or I just don’t do them, it is because I didn’t write it down, and/or I didn’t read it.

My journey has come to three paths.  Last year I had a different “planner” every 3-4 weeks.  What I learned to hate is duplication!  Duplication is my nemesis.  So, listening to the advice of the brilliant ladies (and gents) in the planner community, have ONE calendar.  Okay, that is common sense too!  Why am I making this so hard!  So I decided that my personal size ring binder would be “Home Base”.  This would house my monthly calendar, references for goals and planning, and has the ability to change as my needs change.  By selecting “Home Base”, I can change planners weekly if I want.  I can use a #2 FoxyFix this week, my Hobonichi next week, and be back in rings the following.  This can be done with little duplication.

Van der Spek standard with Sew Much Crafting inserts

So, using the one calendar concept, whether I chose to use a monthly book, my Hobo, or rings, I only copy and duplicate the month.  That is way less overwhelming than trying to copy days and weeks (unfortunately I have an issue with incompleteness).  Also, I am less likely to let something drop through the cracks because I know where my official calendar is located.  It is with me most days, though it may not go into stores and other facilities with me.

Hobonichi Planner

This method is working.  It also allows me to change as my tastes change without the guilt of not using (or under using) planners.  If you haven’t seen the VeganOrganizer’s video about this, I do recommend it.  Future posts I will share my struggle between my Hobonichi and rings (and why the notebooks have been out of the running).  I will also share what and how I duplicate, and why.  I will also do a post on how I am using the Jibun Techo mini.  Then I think I will do a post on paper vs. digital planning for me.  While I think planning is a highly personal decision, I think it helps to read and hear the thoughts of others, so you can recognize your own thoughts.

Download of insert I created:  bujo-personal-graph

Chronological Bible Reading Plan

bible-readingLast October I joined a group on Facebook for reading the Bible chronologically in one year.  I am less than two weeks from completing this plan and it has had such an affect on my life I wanted to take a moment to share my resources as I restart reading in October.  My goal is for each month to upload the file for the daily reading each day.  I made these as inserts for my personal size planner.

Have a beautiful day!  If you start this journey, it will change your life.  If you have had this habit for awhile, I would love to hear about it.


One Book July 2016

After much thought, I’ve decided to participate in #onebookjuly2016

FoxyFix Sienna, Darling, Rowena 2.0

I came to this decision because I’ve gone back to a notebook for my everyday everything. My Hobonichi planner is still in use (but has become too precious to carry always). So I have my notebook with me at all times. In the last six weeks I’ve used a pocket, personal, wide, and A5. There are advantages and disadvantages to each size.I’m happy to expand on this idea, however I feel the size of notebook is such a personal decision. 
Why did I decide to give #onebookjuly2016 a try?  I’m traveling at the end of this month and I wasn’t about to take 4-6 books with me. So I am using a Foxy Notebook 5×7 as a bullet journal. While I love the Planner Perfect Method by Jenny Penton, the Bujo meets my needs in a smaller space and it is easier to switch notebooks as my tastes and needs change. What is beautiful about the Planner Perfect Method, the theory sticks, regardless of how you do your planning. Every task, every event is about designing a life you will love. 

Sojourner trifold in seed

I LOVE my pocket traveler’s notebook. This size really meets my needs and is just so portable. While I am challenging myself to use one book, I will still carry my pocket TN because I would miss her if I didn’t.  

So, for #onebookjuly2016, I am using my 5×7 Foxy Notebook. While the cover may change, I plan to keep my setup the same. Later I will give details of my layout. 

Today’s layout

I adore my Hobo and I feel so much of me is in it. I love having the option to change that the FN provides. So we will see, can I use just one (two) books. 

Note, since my Hobo will not be with me always, I plan to reconcile it on Sunday’s. Next year I plan to get another Hobonichi Planner, though I plan to do more of a journaling approach to the planning. So my Hobo will likely not be carried. What is beautiful, my planning system fits wonderfully in both vessels. I will write a post about my system once I feel I can communicate it effectively. 

My Unorganized Family

Regardless of what method you choose to organize, it only works if you use it. 

My husband uses an all digital calendar. This is great for work, but not working so well for home. After forgetting an event and constantly asking what the next thing is, I decided I wanted to create a paper calendar that is useful for him. Now, I just need to keep it up to date and encourage him to look at it. Right now, the calendar stays open on the desk in the living room and the layout is simple. 

Ramblings on Hobonichi

I’m a girly, girl and I like change (at least some change).  Like some women, I like to change my purses to reflect my mood or coordinate with my outfit.  My traveler’s notebooks, planners, and Hobonichis are no different.  I have a variety of tastes, so I have a variety of covers.  If I could only pick one type of cover, a supple, pliable, gorgeous brown will always be my go to choice (think Filofax Madlen in Ochre).  I am going to share a variety of ramblings on the Hobonichi and ultimately share some of the covers I have so far.  I won’t do reviews at this time, but some day I might.

As I’ve recently mentioned, I have become obsessed with my Hobonichis.  I have a Hobonichi Cousin (my main planner),  a Hobonichi Planner (my daily journal), and a second Hobonichi Planner that now serves as my every day carry.  I will be completely honest, the Hobonichi Cousin meets all my needs.  It has sufficient room for planning and I have space for daily journaling.  I ended up with three Hobonichis because my plans changed in November and I had already placed my order opening day in September.

So what was my original plan?  In 2015 I used a Hobonichi Planner as my journal and I fell in love.  The little book, I just enjoyed holding it, writing in it, and looking through it.  So I decided I would get another Hobonichi Planner for journaling in 2016.  I loved the idea of one year of planning in one book, so I decided on the Hobonichi Cousin as my planner.  I was also playing with my work system, so I ordered a Hobonichi Planner to record my daily To Do’s and calls at work.  Some day I will do a post on how I organize myself at work, because I have found a system that seems to work.

Around November I decided to return to my “old” vessel for organization at work (system didn’t change, just the vessel).  The Filofax Malden in personal really is a good vessel to hold my vessel.  Plus I adore my Malden and I need an excuse just to hold it every day.  Since I decided I would use my Malden for work, I now had an extra Hobonichi Planner.  For me, my go to sizes are Pocket, A6, and Personal.  Books in that range really sing to my heart and that is a size that I know I will carry with me.  The Hobonichi Cousin is amazing and well designed, but the A6 size kept tugging at my heart.  Enter my conflict of planning for 2016.  So for 6-8 weeks, I trailed the A5 and A6 size for planning.  January 1st i really hadn’t made a decision, but I did decide to use the Cousin, a decision I don’t regret.

What is unlike me, I now have two planners for the same purpose.  I hate duplication and I fear I will forget something if I do duplicate.  So why am I using a Hobonichi Planner and Hobonichi Cousin for the same purpose?  Great question!  All I can say now is because I still cannot decide between the two.  Right now I am enjoying playing in both books, even if it is a duplication.  To make this work, I have to have one primary, one go to location, and that is my Cousin.  Will I spend the entire year going back and forth between the two?  I don’t know.  What I do know, both will meet my needs, I just need to use the one that sings to my heart, and right now that is both of them.


Common Sizes of Traveler’s Notebooks

As I said in my last post I belong to several groups on Facebook.  These groups are a great source of inspiration, community of interests, and information.  One thing I have noticed in many of traveler’s notebook groups is people asking for comparable sizes.  Now it is important that what one maker may call a wide another maker may call extra wide. It is important to read the descriptions of the products before purchase.   This is a short post on some of the sizes, common terms, and abbreviations about traveler’s notebooks.


Common Sizes

1. A5 (5.5×8.25)–May books, Moleskine large, Hobonichi Cousin
2. Standard (4.33×8.5)–Midori regular, Moleskine Chapters large
3. Personal size (3.75×6.75)–Le Petit (Foxy Fix), Moleskine Chapters medium (see note)
4. A6 (~4×6)–Hobonichi
5. Pocket (3.5×5.5)–Field Notes, Moleskine Pocket
6. Passport (3.5×5)–Midori passport, Scout books

*Note–while the Moleskine Chapters medium will fit in a personal size notebook, they are 3.75×7, so they are taller than most personal size  inserts.

Terms and Abbreviations

There are some common terms and abbreviations you will see throughout the traveler’s notebook communities.  This is not an exhaustive list, but if you are new to the world of traveler’s notebooks, hopefully this will help.

Midori–Midori is a maker of traveler’s notebooks and they are the company that set of the recent rage about this amazing product.  While the concept has been around a long time, its popularity has exploded in the recent past thanks to the Midori Traveler’s Notebook (MTN).  Midori has changed their name to Traveler’s Company.  They continue to offer a variety of products and traveler’s notebooks in two sizes.

Cahier–Cahier is not a size, it is a style of notebook (see Webster’s definition below).  Sometimes it is used interchangeably for A5 notebooks, but not all A5 notebooks are cahier and not all cahier notebooks are A5.  Moleskine offers their cahier notebooks in three sizes: XL, large, and pocket .

Ca`hier´ Pronunciation: kå`yã´ or kå`hēr
n. 1. A number of sheets of paper put loosely together; esp. one of the successive portions of a work printed in numbers.
2. A memorial of a body; a report of legislative proceedings, etc.

–dori–This is a traveler’s notebook made by someone other than the Traveler’s Company.  It is a play on the name Midori.

Every Day Carry (EDC)–EDC is the traveler’s notebook or planner that you carry with you always.  Often it includes your wallet, but this is not essential.

Traveler’s Notebook (TN)–A traveler’s notebook is a cover with straps to hold notebooks and inserts.  Traveler’s notebooks can be very versatile and the options for use are endless.

Until next time, have a beautiful week!