It’s become a bit of an in-joke where I work. Whenever somebody mentions planning, there is a cheeky smirk and a side eye in my direction, as I grin and say “I’ll sort it!”. Its true: I’ve become ‘The Planner Person’. I’ve dallied with diaries and organisers many times throughout my life I started in primary school, with a denim-look diary with a cheap padlock that you could take off by squeezing the sides of the lock. This I know this because I lost my key, but still trusted my diary implicitly with my deepest, darkest secrets. I continued to plan and chronicle in one way or another ever since then. I’ve relied on lists to make sense of my chaotic mind and, when I turned 23, was gifted my first ‘proper, grown up’ Filofax. My Filofax served as a gateway into what has now become a huge part of my life.
I currently use two planners: a Pirongs Ultimate Life Planner at work, and an Erin Condren Life Planner (Vertical) for home. I find it necessary to have two planners for two reasons. The first reason is that I’m lazy and forgetful, so if I don’t keep one planner in each location then there will come a time where I find myself caught short. Secondly, I just find that my mind works best when it is able to pour itself entirely into something. To put it simply: if my work to-do lists were filling my home planner, I would get overwhelmed and I would end up doing absolutely nothing. It has taken me years of experimenting to find what we call in the planner community ‘Planner Peace’ but I’m finally there, and ready to share the five ways that using a planner has changed my life.
It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? At its very core, a planner is an organisational tool. But by enabling myself to feel organised and in control of my life, I am more likely to actually accomplish the things that I want to. Further to organisation, my planner holds me accountable. Okay, so I don’t always clean the fridge every time I write ‘clean fridge’ in my planner, but if I didn’t write it down in my planner there would be no chance it was ever going to happen. This helps me maintain a happy home and allows me to feel at peace with myself.
I’ve never been much of a ‘hobby’ person, but this has changed in the last year. Planning isn’t simply a means to an end anymore: I enjoy sitting down and setting up my spread every Sunday. Throughout the month I bookmark any stickers I like the look of. On payday I trim the list down to my favourites and treat myself. I take pride in the way my planner looks, which makes me feel more excited to look inside it (and thus achieve tasks!). This year I have introduced a tarot element to my planner. Every Sunday I draw a tarot card that will serve as my guide for the upcoming week. I then draw and print a sticker of the card, which takes pride of place in the box on the top left of each weekly page. This serves three purposes: it looks pretty, it satisfies my witchy tendencies, and I get an excuse to commit myself to regularly practising another of my hobbies.
I had no idea how much a group of people could be brought together, simply because they all own a planner. I am an active member of two large planner groups. One group has around 60,000 members. It is an amazing space to talk about planners, of course, but also to talk about politics and life and everything in between. I have learned a lot about inclusive speech while in this group. I’ve also found support and encouragement whenever I have needed it. The other group I am part of is much smaller, but no less active and supportive. Both groups hold yearly planner conventions with expensive tickets which sell out within minutes. This serves as a testament to how active the planning community is. I’m lucky enough to be going to The Big Meet in Essex next month because the wonderful Daisy bought me a ticket for my birthday. That’s right, she’s a Planner Girl too!
Being part of a huge planner community means I have learned a lot about a huge variety of people. This has helped me be a better person in general, and more considerate of the needs of others. I have also learned a lot about art and design in ways that I didn’t think I would. I watch tutorials on how people decorate their planners, and invest my time in learning to draw and print things myself. My lovely husband got me a Cricut for Christmas so I’ve been able to do my own stickers. I am now practising hard to be able to get to a level where I can sell my stickers on my shop.
Using a planner has helped my mental health tremendously. I have something I can focus on when I feel out of control. It also serves as an outlet where I can channel my emotions. There is something to flick through and feel proud at the end of the year. I’m can see trends in my own life by using my planner. Maybe I have a really crowded week one week, and then three weeks of blank pages because I’m too exhausted to plan (and it does happen). So I learn that I need to balance things better or I am going to burn out. As I said before, I now incorporate tarot into my weekly spreads. I don’t necessarily believe that tarot cards are a predicter of future events, but I use them as a tool for reflection. Tarot is a starting point for me to look at what I’ve got planned for the week. I then think about ways I can achieve the good and avoid the bad.
Do you use a planner? Or are you tempted to dip a toe in the planner world? Lets chat!
I share my weekly planner spreads on Instagram.