“Planning” My Life

I have always been a list maker. It is how I function effectively. I have notebooks, post-it notes and pads of paper in spades. It is a small “obsession” of mine. I have spent the past 5 years working my way through planners (attempting to find the elusive “planner peace”) to try to organize and hold myself accountable for my daily life and healing from depression and PTSD.

Years ago I used to use a cheap fold over pocket calendar as a make-shift on the go type “planner”. It worked great to show me my doctor appointments, school days off and which job I was supposed to be at because I worked up to 5 jobs at once. But that is where the functionality of it quit working for me. It was as basic as it gets. A calendar the size of a checkbook in a plastic case that created a sort of pocket that I could store a few (let’s get real…way too many) various size papers in. It was not a planner just a calendar. I was always on the go and this was small enough to fit in the smock pockets of my uniform, the back pocket of my jeans, diaper bag or my locker depending on which job I was at.

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When I decided to claw my way out of one of the worst crippling depressions I had been in since losing my son, I knew I needed something different then the fold over calendar. There is no way to sugar coat it, I was suicidal, depressed, and knew that no one but me could save me. I needed to hold myself accountable for my own actions and to be able to look at certain things, find and see patterns, change what was not working for me. Basically, stopping the excuses I gave myself as to why I was where I was and to move forward in my life. I needed a place that I could have everything from mundane daily to-do’s (like dishes) to any appointments, and most importantly, mental health anything but especially trackers. I wanted it all in one place so that I would be forced to do it. My search a planner began.
There are many types of planners on the market today. Each one just slightly different enough to be a contender in the overwhelming world of planners. I needed something I could customize and change as my needs changed.
My first planner was what is referred to as a franken-planner. It was a mash up of  a Passion Planner, ARC from Staples, and freebies I found online. I did not work for my needs at all. 

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My search continued. I knew I wanted a planner with a calendar, a place for meal/grocery lists, monthly and weekly sections, a brain dump, and mental health trackers in it. Needless to say, it did not exist.

Happy Planner (HP) offered me the ability to customize some of what I needed in my planner with their add-on expansion packs. I could use some of my ARC accessories and my ARC punch. I was able to add my own things to the HP.  It sorta of worked in a lot of ways but I found myself again creating more and more of what I needed and the size was just too bulky for me. I am not a big heart, lacy, flowery kind of girl. HP is known for that.

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As my search continued, I stumbled onto travelers notebook (TN) next and knew I had found exactly what I was looking for. I had the ability to create what I needed or to buy customized inserts. However, the inserts only lasted about a month.  You have to order a few weeks before you actually need them to both allow for shipping and to also set it up from scratch. It was crazy CHONKY!!!!!

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The search continued because I wanted something that lasted longer than a month. I moved into a Hobonichi Weeks Mega. The Weeks has a monthly calendar, 2 page weekly set ups with the right side of the weeks blank and a section in the back that is blank grid pages that you can create whatever you need in it. While I loved the layout of it, I wanted to really create something that would work for me better and that did not use tomoe river paper. I really missed my standard TN size. The Weeks is smaller and thinner than a standard TN.

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I wanted to set up my 2021 planner skeleton and to take the full leap into bullet journaling when Archer and Olive came out with a Traveler notebook. I was overjoyed!!!!! The Traveler is actually a standard size notebook with 144 dot grid pages. This meant that I could go back into my standard size while truly simplifying and customizing it to my exact needs.

For my 2021 set up, I decided to separate my mental health from my main bullet journal. I am using a Dot Grid Slim Notebook from Sunshine Sticker Co.

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One Reply to ““Planning” My Life”

  1. oh I recall the days of balancing work assignments and home life on a calendar – one was too small, the other too big, the third too bulky….. now I keep things on a wall calendar and on my phone, but my notes have shrunk considerably!!! no more work helps! Done with searching for the right thing.
    Great to read from you again!!!!!

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