A Month Without a Paper Planner

Hello everyone! Happy Monday!

It’s been about a month since I decided to move from a paper planner to a cloud based system, so I thought I’d give a little update about how it’s working.

It surprisingly wasn’t as easy as I had thought. As much as I hate to admit it, I think I actually went through a bit of paper planner withdrawal which is a bit scary to be honest. There were definitely days where I wanted to have a planner with me {for what reason, I don’t know. I didn’t have anything to write in it, and I wasn’t going to use it. I just wanted to have nearby.} There were also days {or weeks…} where I scanned Flickr, Pinterest, and Youtube for planners, and Philofaxy’s Webfinds are still a staple in my blog reading. I’ve just kept reminding myself that it’s all in my head.

I guess the most shocking thing, after I got the whole withdrawal thing out of the way, is that it actually worked! I did have to tweak Things a bit, but I’ve probably gotten more done this past month than I have in a while. I think a big part of the issue was that before I got rid of the paper planner, I had things scattered everywhere. Some tasks were in Things and others were in my planner, so I was never really using one system fully. Now everything is in Things and Google Calendar. I only have one place to check, and I only have it put it there once.

I’m not sure what the future has in store for my planning situation. Clearly going all digital works for me right now, but I still have some weird attachment to paper planners even if I don’t seem to use them.

Should I decide to go back to paper planners, my next experiment will likely be a Filofax Flex sort of set up with a monthly notebook and either a weekly or daily book that I’d use to implement my Bullet Journal + Life Mapping combo. Size and colors and books are all still up in the air.

Thankfully, for now, I have a system that works. I’ll be sticking with it at least until the end of the year {mainly for my wallet’s sake}.

Signature Update

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Paper vs. Digital Planners

It’s no secret that I love planners. It only takes a quick glimpse at the blogs I read, the pictures I’ve favorited on Flickr, or even this blog to notice.  It’s also no secret that I love technology. I work for an IT department, and have even been referred to as iAndrea for having so many Apple products. {I’m not even joking.}

In high school, I practically lived out of my monthly/weekly planners the school provided. Ever since then though, I’ve been buying planner after planner hoping one would magically solve all my planning needs. Clearly I haven’t come across one yet, because I’m still struggling in the paper planner world, but if I do find one, I’ll be sure to let everyone know.

Before I continue, I want to clear up one thing. I write about planners a lot, and I have a LOT of calendars and a LOT in my calendars for that matter. I have had some people in my life claim they need to book an appointment with me just to hang out after hearing about it. {Think 27 Dresses, where the guy penciled himself in throughout her Filofax.} That’s not me. My Filofax/planner/whatever does NOT rule my life. In fact, I’d say 90% of what I write down with the exception of work related meetings doesn’t even get done. I just like to {pretend to} have a plan about where I’m supposed to be or supposed to be doing. It’s my way of dealing with anxiety, and I also like going back seeing what I’ve done or written down. It is by no means some minute-by-minute guide for my life.

Anyway, with that rant out of the way, I’ve been carrying my Filofax with me everywhere for months even though I rarely even use it anymore. Don’t get me wrong. It makes me feel incredibly fancy when I grab my Osterley out of my bag, and it makes me look crazy organized even though nothing’s written in it, but looking pretty isn’t what an organizer is actually for. Lately, I’ve actually started thinking that maybe I’m not in planner fail at all. {Crazy idea right?!} Maybe I just don’t have a use for a paper planner anymore. Maybe I’m just trying to use it because I’m used to carrying it around. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed to make sense. I mean, before I got to college, phones weren’t allowed in school, and laptops were almost taboo until senior year. Tablets weren’t even a thing yet. I HAD to use a paper planner. Ever since then, there’s been nothing stopping me from using my phone/iPad/laptop instead.

With that in mind, I started to think about what I gravitate towards when I do need a planner.

  • When I’m at work and have to schedule a meeting with someone, I open up Google Calendar on my computer.
  • When someone wants to schedule a meeting with me, they do it through Google Calendar, and I get an email invitation.
  • When a friend asks me to meet for dinner, I add it to Google Calendar from my phone.
  • All of my recurring tasks are in Things.
  • Anything I think of spur of the moment usually gets put into the inbox in Things.
  • Outside of that, my other to-dos are either in my email or in Pocket/Readkit.
  • And meeting agendas are in Google Drive.

Nothing is on paper. Everything is digital, so it makes sense that I wouldn’t check my Filofax. My Filofax ends up being just another place I have to write things down, and being the efficient person I like to be, why waste time doing that if I’m not getting anything out of it. Even the other things people track like health, books to read, or wishlists are online for me using my Fitbit, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

So here’s what I came up with about why I prefer using a digital calendar instead of a paper planner.

  • One device is all you need. At the very least, I have my iPhone with me, and that’s all I need. My events aren’t in a planner while my contacts are in another.
  • I can color code without toting around multi-color pens and highlighters.
  • I don’t need to rewrite things. Whether I check it at home, at work, on my phone, iPad, or computer, it’s the same everywhere.
  • I can switch between daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly views whenever I want without adding any bulk, having to rewrite things, or spending any money on inserts.
  • When plans change or I make a mistake, I don’t need to worry about whether I wrote it in erasable pen or how I can cover up the wrong information if I didn’t. I just have to edit the event. For a perfectionist, this is a huge win for me.
  • When I need to schedule an event well in the future, I never have to worry about where to write it down until I get next year’s inserts.
  • If I want to remember when something happened, I can search for it immediately rather than worrying about whether I removed inserts and if so where to look for them when I get home.
  • On a similar note, there’s no need to worry about where or how to store inserts or planners that you aren’t using. {I usually end up putting them in an old empty Birchbox and then losing the box in the pile of other boxes I did the same thing for the months before that.}
  • I don’t have to keep writing recurring events. When 90% of your life is routine, recurring events, it’s nice to not have to waste time rewriting them every day/week/month. It also keeps me on a regular schedule for appointments with doctors or when I need to get my hair done. {I will forget and it’ll be years before I go otherwise.}
  • Google calendar reminds me of events I might forget. If I have a meeting after lunch, you can bet I’ll forget about it if I don’t have a reminder, even if I wrote it down in my planner that morning and saw it on my calendar about 20 times. With Google Calendar, I get a reminder 15 minutes before my event which is enough time for me to get nearly anywhere on campus in time for the meeting.
  • It allows other people to tell me when they are available or unavailable. My coworkers share when they are leaving early or when they’ll be out. Similarly, my mom shows me when she’ll be away, and I need to watch her dogs. Simple.
  • I can choose which calendars I want to see. Some days I want to see when the Ravens are playing more than my Workout calendar. Some days I may want to check the dates on my university’s academic calendar, and other days I may want to see how my appointments line up with my daily routine. With Google calendar, I can choose to look at one calendar, a few of them, or all of them. I don’t always need or want to see everything, but it’s there if I ever need it. You can’t say that with a Filofax. It’s either there or it isn’t.

I’m sure some of you planner people are cringing at the idea digital could be better than paper, but for me it works. One of the most common things people mention in the digital vs. paper debate is battery life, but for someone who carries a battery pack and a car charger nearly everywhere, I’ve only once or twice been in a dead phone situation, but that was my own fault for not bringing the battery. Even so, I’m never going in a situation when my phone is dying {usually around 10pm} and I have somewhere to go to on foot. Moreover, phone numbers aren’t an issue for me either, because I rarely use the phone, and for those people I do call, I have memorized their numbers.

So for now, I’m actually thinking of leaving my Filofax home, and the thought of it makes me uncomfortable. Even though I’m not using it, I’ve carried a planner for so many years {since I was in elementary school really}, not having one to carry makes me feel like I’m forgetting something.

However, the point that proved I don’t need to be carrying it was that my first concerns were where would I keep my pen and store reward cards – two things I wasn’t carrying it around for. The pen is now going to live in the pen loop of my purse organizer, and I am relocating my cards back into my Vera Bradley wristlet. Problem solved.

I don’t plan on abandoning the planner world. I still very much enjoy reading about and seeing everyone’s lovely planners, but right now, it’s just not for me.

Signature Update

What’s Wrong with Erin?

I bought an Erin Condren Life Planner for the second time this year, and let me say I adore it. It screams everything Andrea. I mean it even matches my room! There’s just that something about it that I’m not liking, and for the longest time, I really had no idea what it was. I think now I’m finally starting to put things together and figure it out, and it really has NOTHING to do with the planner.

So what’s wrong with it if it’s not the planner?

Years ago when I was browsing Flickr, I stumbled on some Moleskines which led me to Filofaxes which led me to Philofaxy, and then I found all the people in the community. I fell in love with the blogs, the videos, the pictures, everything. Now I’m always reading up on the latest Filofax gossip. It’s fun to see how the community’s grown and evolved over time. With every new person, we get new ideas and things like washi tape or Martha Stewart dew drops go viral and then you see them in everyone’s planners.

That’s when I started to realize something in the back of my crazy mind has always been screaming Filofax even when I’ve had a different planner, and I think that thing has been the community.

Erin Condren’s Life Planner definitely has a following online. I’d say to some extent it has a bit of a cult status in the blogging world, but what it doesn’t have is a community of people that are constantly sharing updates and stories about them like Filofax does. That’s what brings me back to Filofax every single time. And, hey, maybe that’s weird to some people, but we’re all weird in our own ways. My way happens to be planners and stationary. Whether I use what I buy or not, I like having it. I like reading about it. I like looking at it.

So while I tried to jump into my Erin Condren planner whole heartedly, I had this nagging thought always screaming “But what about Filofax?!” Maybe I should have watched a ton of Life Planner videos instead of Filofax ones, who knows, but as usual Filofax won me over. And of course, as we all know, how can you resist buying a new Filofax?!

I certainly couldn’t, and so my next post will be about my latest addition to the family.Signature

Current State of Planning

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Since many of you have found me through Angela of PaperLovestory’s My Week posts or Philofaxy’s Web Finds, if you’re still here, you’ve likely noticed a major lack of anything Filofax related, so what’s going on?

{Be prepared for a picture heavy post.}

A couple of months ago I mentioned that right after posting about how I got out of planner fail, I started to think I jynxed myself. Well today, I’m here to say, I did. I’m sure if I took my own advice in that post about planner fail, I probably wouldn’t be in planner fail, but for the life of me I couldn’t even get myself to open my Filofax for like the past few months. The only reason I’ve opened it recently has been to retrieve store credit cards. Thankfully, life hasn’t been too chaotic, but towards the end of this past semester, I felt like I was all over the place, and not having a planner certainly didn’t help.

I’d imagine many of you can relate that planner fail makes us go crazy {if we aren’t already}, and my wallet is certainly not appreciating it now, but here’s what’s been happening.

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My first attempt to avoid planner fail was washi tape. {Over $50 worth to be exact.} I see everyone’s pretty pages, and then there’s mine, so plain and boring. I put a sticker or two on a page to make it cute, but it ends up looking stupid instead. I really tried with the washi tape, and my weekly pages were cute, don’t get me wrong. I loved creating and seeing every one of them, but it just took way too much of my time, and I just didn’t keep up with it.

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Around the same time I ordered the washi tape, I also preordered a Day Designer from Whitney English. This thing was pricey, so I had high hopes for it. It’s a monthly/daily planner with pages to really iron out your goals. I finally got it at the end of May, just in time for it to start in June. The daily pages have plenty of room to right down your schedule, your to-dos, dinners, expenses, due dates, reminders, and most important tasks. In theory it should have worked out fantastically, but it didn’t. I opened it up, wrote down the first couple days worth of tasks {only to realize I wrote them all down on the wrong week! – ultimate way to ruin that “brand-new notebook” high.} and never opened it again. From a product standpoint, it’s an outstanding planner quality-wise, and if you’re an entrepreneur with “clients”, I assume the planning pages at the beginning really would help you put things together. For my lifestyle though, it wasn’t much help. There were a couple downsides to consider aside from just the price though. It doesn’t play well with Frixion pens, and I’d assume any type of erasable writing instrument. The lines on the page started to smear, and the ink came off totally when I tried to reposition washi tape. I also wish it had tabs on the months as this is quite a large planner and there’s no way to locate where you are.

Anyway enough rambling. So I had two planners, neither of which I wanted to use. The obvious solution was to buy a third!

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I caved and bought a new Erin Condren planner! I bought one 2 years ago and loved the fun colors {instant cuteness rather than spending time with washi-tape}. Sadly three weeks into using it, I sort of ruined a lot of the pages by sweeping snow off my car right into my purse all over my planner. {Note to self: put purse in car before brushing the car off, and ALWAYS close your planner, don’t leave it folded open to the current week in your bag.} With the wrinkly pages and struggling to make the layout fit my lifestyle, I gave up on it for a while. I was actually using my A5 Malden successfully for a while so I didn’t repurchase one for 2012.

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Since my last Erin Condren planner, a lot of things have changed. I love the month on 2 page spread, and from knowing how badly the plain cardstock tabs held up, I’m glad they decided to laminate them. Tweaks in this year’s layout with the lines for random tracking at the bottom and goals on each week are nice as well. Overall, the quality of this planner has only gone up, and this year I actually felt the price was more justified than it was two years ago. I also splurged for some elastic bands to hold the book closed, pens, extra stickers, and a pen loop. I hacked mine a bit too. I took apart my old Erin Condren planner and added the pocket, left over stickers and folder to my new planner. I had initially planned on taking apart my new one to add everything, but the new metal spiral is a lot stronger than the plastic and I didn’t want to damage the pages. I trimmed down the sticker pages and stuck them in a folder pocket, and just snipped a slot into each of the tiny holes on the folder and pocket. Now I have an extra removable folder and pocket in my planner which is a little nicer in my opinion because I can move them around.

Anyway, that’s all for now. I’m seriously excited to be finally using my planner today. So much space, and it’s going to match my room once it’s all done!

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