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The Art of Planners

The Art of Planners

If you Google “planners” you will get about a zillion results almost instantly. (Actually, I got 139,000,000 in .39 seconds) There is so much information available from Pinterest boards, to blog posts, to YouTube videos all with volumes of information on what people think is successful.

Perhaps the reason that there is so much information is that there is not one perfect system for everyone and this is absolutely true for me!

So, what I have done is taken parts of things from a variety of “planning styles” to create a system that works very well for me. This took a bit of work, because when I worked in the corporate world – Outlook worked perfectly for my needs. I combined that with some other online programs and my work life was well-organized.

However, now that I am self-employed and I work from home a digital planning system did not work as well. I am not sure why – perhaps the fact that I am a team of one, and what I am doing does not need to be accessible to others.

Now, I do use some excellent online resources for my work, Trello, Slack, and Harvest are wonderful resources for working on projects – and they make working remotely seem less remote! But, for my daily, weekly, and monthly goals – I really like a paper planner.

Last year I moved to the Midori Traveler Planner. It has become the best thing I have ever used. I did a bit of modification to it (thanks to Bradley at Stuff & Things) and now it is just perfect for me. I am not an “art” planner person. You won’t find stickers, washi tape, or collages of stuff on my pages – just simple planning – daily, weekly, and monthly/yearly. I use this insert for my planner. It helps me “stay in the week” and focus on the tasks that I need to complete. It helps me know where I need to focus my hours and how many hours I am spending on a project.

I borrow a few things from the Bullet Journal System – not many, just a few.

Sometimes, I have a task that cannot be completed in a week – a little arrow shows me I need to move it to the next week. In the new week, it gets an arrow to tell me this was a carryover project. Sometimes it gets cancelled entirely. I can easily look back to see how my week’s went and can keep clear records of the work I did. I think this will make tax time next year infinitely better.

I also have a journal insert for my Midori, which I use daily for my creative writing. This year, I have been trying to work on my creative writing so I am using Spunky Eclectic’s monthly journal prompts. I look forward to expanding my writing as the year continues.

The last insert I have in my notebook is just a simple graph paper insert. I use it to keep track of inks I like, of projects I would like to make, recipe ideas, Breed School notes, and just plain doodling.

Not in my planner – my monthly calendar – this sits on my desk open and visible. I use this to remember birthdays, anniversaries, personal appointments, etc. Things that are not work related, but I need to remember.

There you have my planning style in a very portable planner. Tell me – what is your “Planner Style”?

For the Love of the Pen

For the Love of the Pen

My two fingers on a typewriter have never connected with my brain. My hand on a pen does. A fountain pen, of course. Ballpoint pens are only good for filling out forms on a plane. – Graham Greene

Today is Fountain Pen Day!

Regrettably, I was late to the fountain pen party – I did not buy my first fountain pen until earlier this year.

I know! How sad is that!

Then one day a friend tweeted something that caught my eye and down the rabbit hole I went.

Now I start the day with a pen in hand doing a bit of writing in my Traveler’s Notebook. It helps me organize my thoughts as well as my day. I have found it a great way to focus and it has helped me notice things that need to be changed, it helps me keep track of projects and how much time they take, and I think the process helps me be more creative. Moreover, the act of writing with a fountain pen is pure joy.

Now, I do not dress my pages up as some people do. While I think it looks great, personally for me it is too busy, too much of a distraction, and just too “scrap-booky”. I prefer a blank page eagerly waiting for me to deposit words to it. I am happy that my writing has increased drastically since I began to journal with a fountain pen.

Unlike Graham Greene, I do not dislike the practice of writing at a keyboard. However, about this he is right – there is something quite different and almost magical when you take the pen in hand and let the words flow with the ink to the page.

Put pen to paper today, gentle reader, and celebrate the written word.

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