Monday, January 6, 2014

She Plans on Paper

ver the years I have tried to perfect my schedule-keeping methods. I used to keep a pocket calendar when I was in high school--you know the kind, with sunflowers or kittens on the front? When I married, I had a wall calendar up, with stickers, colored pens, etc. But the problem was, I was the only one using it! So, I started using my phone calendar--it was easy to update on the go, and I could send a quick text to my husband so he could put it in his phone.

Then my phone broke.

It was never quite the same after that, and eventually I replaced it because I could no longer turn it on or anything. The touch screen had become completely unresponsive. I lost all my information, calendar or otherwise. Sad day.
I didn't trust myself with my phone after that. I was afraid if I broke it or if it got lost, I would be back in the same predicament! So, about that time, I discovered This is a great website--and they have an app for your phone! And did I mention it's free? When you sign up, you create an account for your entire household. Simply add the email addresses to everyone who needs access to the calendar, and create one password for all to use. It was like my colored pen colored calendar for the new century!

And, it had other things, like the ability to sync with online calendars from other places--church, school, etc. It also has a place to store recipes & create meal plans. The list goes on and on...but best of all, my husband actually used it! He could log in from anywhere and update things or see what we had going on before making plans.

However, around the end of 2012, I started wanting something I could put my hands started out because I was trying to organize my life (again...). When I was first married, I joined the Flylady bandwagon. I created what was known as a "Control Journal"...this is a home management binder that was like the Control Tower in an airport. It told me what to do and when. I kept everything in it...but it was HUGE. It took up valuable space on my tiny apartment counter and I couldn't take it anywhere even if I wanted to. Well, with a subscription to Pinterest came a flood of ideas from others as to how they have tweaked & perfected their own home management binders recently, most of which included printables--oh how I LOVE printables! I decided I'd like to give it a try again, but this time, it needed to be portable. I'm not a stay-at-home mom anymore, and I need it to fit in my purse.

So, I was on the hunt for the perfect planner...but some of the ones I found that I liked were tons of money and still not quite what I needed. What I wanted would include a calendar, a grocery/menu planning section, a budget/bills section, a project section (mostly for work & ministry), a prayer journal/devotional space to help keep me on track, a zipper pouch for little things, etc.

I was directed to a Martha Steward planner at Staples! I checked it out and it's exactly what I needed--because I could customize it! I even bought an ARC punch so I could create my own pages and customize it even further. The problem? Even after buying the bigger discs, I still can't fit all I want in I had to compromise... But overall, I really like it!

Here's what I built:

This is the planner sitting on top of a regular sized binder.

Post-its! I love Post-its!
My calendar & my grocery list (the calendar has a spot for your meals for each day in the weekly view)
About four months later, my purse was stolen out from under my desk at work.

Inside my purse was my beloved planner.

(Thankfully, that's the only valuable thing that went missing, because it could have been so much worse!)

A few days later, I went back to Staples and go a new pile of supplies so I could build Planner 2.0. I was able to get larger discs for the spine, so I could fit more pages, and overall it was nicer than the first one!

Martha Stewart's calendar pages are compatible with Staple's ARC binder
Now that 2014 is upon us, I'm happy to report I still use and love my ARC binder. Although now, I have decided to really amp it up and make it not only pretty but more functional & efficient!

Starting soon I'll be posting a video series that will take you on a tour of my new Planner 3.0, along with some tips on just how I use it. What is your preferred method of keeping track of your schedule? Let me know in the comments!

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