I would be a completely non-functional person without my planner. There. I said it. Acceptance is the first step to healing, or something like that.. But seriously– if I don’t have at least some kind of calendar to keep a handwritten schedule for myself, then my life devolves into darkness and chaos.
Everyone has their preferred way of staying organized: some people use calendars synced to their email, some use apps like Evernote— I’ve even heard rumors of people who can keep track of their schedule and to-do lists entirely in their head (but I’m pretty sure that’s just a myth..) Personally, I’ve always had a love affair with pens and paper.
For me, planning left the purely functional realm a while ago, and has become something of a
expensive obsessive hobby. Honestly, I’ve been using planners for as long as I can remember, but until this past year I never knew there was an entire community made of people who have just as much love for creative planning as I do (thank you, Instagram!) I don’t even remember exactly how I was introduced to “fancy planners” (as Justin calls them)– all I know is that last May I stumbled across a photo of a gorgeous kikki.K ring bound A5 leather planner– then with just a quick google search, approximately $200 and three weeks later, the rest is basically history.
This was the first fancy planner I ever owned. /swoon.
The one major drawback to my kind of planning, obviously, is that it can get expensive if you let it. I see cute stickers or washi tape or a beautiful new binder, and the word “no” all but drops out of my vocabulary. But that’s more of a personal problem, really. The godsend of creative planning on a budget? Free printables & Pinterest.
Some of the best inserts I’ve found for my planners are printables, and even if you don’t find a free set that you love, most printable sets on Etsy are often sold in themed bundles for less than $10.
A few of my favorite printable sets on Etsy are from Printable Pineapple:
Her sets are so fantastic– they come with multiple sizes for each design, and usually have a few different color options in each set. I use several of her Daily Planner pages (usually the “get shit done” daily page) at work to keep track of my tasks each day.
A lot of my favorite free printables are from Day Designer by Whitney English:
Her printables are simple and chic, and so functional. The four pictured above are my favorites out of the 25+ free printable choices she offers: the weekly menu plan, monthly cleaning schedule, daily schedule & to-do list, and weekly priority planner.
Printables are a great option for any planner since they can be printed as many times as you want to use them, so you’re guaranteed to never run out of inserts. For me though, the one (rather large) drawback of printables– even the free ones– is the actual printing part. I’m usually lucky to even have ink in my printer, and that’s assuming that I can get my printer to work in the first place.
So, like anything, printables have their pros and cons. But even a cartridge of ink and a ream of paper is still better than spending upwards of $80 on an elaborate planner system, right? Right??!?! I’m trying to convince myself of this, too.
Honestly, I’d still like to eventually learn to use Evernote and a few of the other modern organizing tools– but even so, my planner will always be my bestie. ❤️
What are your tried-and-true planning methods? Do you generally stick with digital planning apps, or are you a fellow pen-and-paper lover?
P.S. I have a confession to make: I broke my No Spend challenge for today while working on this post– I caved and ordered a few of the planner bundles from Printable Pineapple. Ironically, one of them was the Habit Tracker & Goal Planner bundle.
But I’m not giving up on No Spend February, even though I broke my challenge goal today. I’ll just have to come back stronger tomorrow. Wish me luck– I’m probably going to need it.