My Planning Journey

In elementary school, they gave us planners that we had to write our assignments in each day. At the end of the school day, we had a designated time and a special place on the board that was dedicated to the copying of our homework into our planners. Each night we had to show our planner to our parents who would initial the edge of the page to prove that we had done our homework. When we returned to school the next day, we laid our planner open on our desks for our teacher to check. If there were no parent initials, you got in trouble. Maybe recess was taken away, maybe a grade reduction on some assignment, maybe just a stern look from the teacher—it depended on the day and how many times you had failed to get that magic initial.

Middle school was when we used those supplied planners to express ourselves. No more planner checks each morning, so we were free to color in them and write notes to each other in them.

Freshman year brought a smaller planner (about A5 size vs. the previous letter size). All of my printed worksheets were turned in with a crisp fold down the middle from placing it inside.

With sophomore year came new iPads. That year they didn’t supply paper planners because we were to do it digitally. They did not take into account those of us who need to write things down in order to get them done. For the rest of high school I purchased my own planners from Walmart. Just whatever they had that was a size I liked.

College brought one more Walmart planner before I decided to try something new. I got on Pinterest and stumbled upon some beautiful Filofax binders that people who had decorated them beautifully. Dividers, stickers, stamps, page markers, and beautiful handwriting. Though my handwriting isn’t phenomenal, I decided to give it a try.

Enter Filofax Malden Personal Size in purple. The leather was so soft. The paper so high quality. It was perfect. I used it all summer until I realized that the paper was much too small for me to be able to fit everything I needed for school inside it.

“I think I have one of those planner things in the closet; I just don’t have the little papers for the inside,” said my mom. She did. She had an old 3-ring Daytimer binder which I created handmade inserts for. This was great for me. Plenty of space to write and fully customizable layouts. It worked for a while, but I eventually got tired of having to draw out all the lines for everything.

Passion Planner, began by Angelia Trinidad (read her story here), fueled me in 2016. She created a planner that helped you allot your time to achieving your goals. Her design is amazing, her instructions are clear and motivating, but they did not work for me. Not for their intended purpose anyway. I heard about bullet journalling through Goulet Pens after I fell in love with fountain pens, so the last two months of 2016 were spent bullet journalling in my Passion Planner (sorry, Angelia).

I purchased a Leuchtturm1917 dot grid notebook to be like Kara Benz of Boho Berry and Kim of Tiny Ray of Sunshine. These ladies are so creative, and I wanted to be just like them—beautiful handwriting, insightful prompts, cute doodles. But alas, my handwriting is not beautiful, and I was not fond of having to flip through pages to find what I need. I was continually frustrated when I forgot to put a page of monthly trackers after my monthly spread (I hated having to flip through pages every night when I set up for the next day). I realized that I needed the freedom to move my pages around. I instantly remembered my Filofax binder.

I set to work looking for anyone who bullet journalled in a Filofax or other similar binder. Kara actually did that with some dot grid paper from Goulet Pens.

My Filofax came with week-on-two-page inserts which, admittedly, are not my favorite, but they came with the binder, and I must use them so I don’t waste them. I inserted a blank ruled page between the two pages of the week on which to bullet journal, but I eventually grew annoyed with not being able to see my weekly pages. I moved the bullet journal daily pages to the section of my planner right behind the weeklies. I purchased some dot grid paper from Amazon that felt just like the high quality paper from my Leuchtturm1917 notebook, and now that is what I journal my daily pages on.

I’ve been watching Julie’s (plan2create on Youtube) videos, and I think I’ll purchase some of her undated inserts that have a week on two pages with vertical boxes. Then I can structure them however I need.

Will I ever find planner peace? Probably not. I will, however, work with what I’ve got and morph my planning into a representation of my creative inner self.