Month: December 2017

2017: The Year of the Planner

2017: The Year of the Planner

2017, as I’m sure has been seen, was undoubtedly the Year of the Planner here at Bibliophilotherian. I spent a lot of time (and money, unfortunately) trying to find the ever-elusive *~*~*~planner peace~*~*~*, and find it, I finally did.

BUT, just for funsies, here’s a run down of all the different types of planning styles I tried this year.

Style #1: Traditional Bullet Journal

This is what worked for me throughout most of 2016, and for solidly half of 2017. I was working out of a single notebook, an A5 Leuchtturm 1917. It was everything you expected a traditional bullet journal to be. I drew out my monthly, weekly, and daily spreads, I had collections, I used markers and colored pencils and attempted (key word) to make it look attractive for the Internet. And yet, I wasn’t entirely happy with it. I hated (and I mean hated) having to draw out my monthly and weekly spreads. I am not a creative person, and so I always felt like I was falling short of the fantastic Instagram bullet journal spreads. I know this was not the purpose of the bullet journal, but still. I didn’t like that I had to spend an hour or more every week just trying to make it so I could start to plan for the week. I try to be more about function over form, and that just wasn’t very functional for me. (Important to note at this point that I had already starting doing the two-column style daily planning, and that has been consistent across all these different styles I’ve tried). Enter planning style #2, stage left, please.

Style #2: Bullet Journal in an A5 Traveler’s Notebook

Sometime in June, Foxy Fix held one of their fabulous Mystery Sales. I had been doing some research in the bullet-journal-in-a-traveler’s-notebook community for a while, and I was really thinking that this was going to solve all my planner problems. After all, the TN style gave me the ability to have an insert for dailies, an insert for collections (solving that pesky your-notebook-is-filled-but-your-collections-aren’t-complete-so-you-have-to-redraw-everything-in-a-new-notebook-every-six-months problem), and pre-printed inserts for weekly and monthly calendars, which is like the key for me.

So I managed to snag a No. 8 Foxy Fix in the Mystery Sale and I anxiously awaited its delivery to my door. Now, I’ve seen some very poor attitudes towards the Mystery Sale in the My Foxy Fix group on Facebook and in general on Instagram – everybody wants to pay half price for a FN, nobody wants to get a single-strap FN. People would legitimately be bitching about getting a crazy good discount and *~*~*~only~*~*~* getting a single. Like #1, be happy you got anything at all. #2, sell that shit if you don’t like it. #3, stop bitching that is such a first-world problem omfg.

Anyway, I digress. I got a No. 8 Sugar Cotton Candy single-strap with no stitching in the Mystery Sale and I was stoked. After all, this was just an easy and inexpensive way for me to try out the bullet-journal-in-a-TN method. I loaded up the single (managed to fit six or so inserts in it at one point) and carried it around for about a month. Once I decided this system would definitely work for me (oh, how young and naïve I was), I went ahead and invested the money into a custom-made Foxy Notebook – a No. 8 Sugar Cookie, wide fitting, with black stitching and elastics, left card slots, right secretarial pocket with pen loop, and with my initials embossed on the spine in black.

A peek at my daily in the No. 8 – not much has changed about this particular part
I really wanted to love the Sugar Cookie.

The Sugar Cookie took 28 whole business days to complete and ship, and an additional 3 days to arrive at my house, but that was fine by me. For those not familiar, Foxy Fix’s wide fitting has six strings, which means it can hold anywhere from six to twelve inserts, depending on how stuffed you like them to be. I carried the Sugar Cookie wide for about a month before I gave it up as a lost cause – I just don’t stuff them enough to make a wide fitting worth it. After I had a miscarriage in July, I went on a pity-me-spending-spree and spent way more money than I should have in a (failed) attempt to make myself feel better. That’s how I wound up with a No. 8 Boss Babe Kate, compact fitting, left and right secretarial pockets, with grey stitching, grey elastic, and my initials embossed in silver on the spine. The compact fitting has 4 strings and can hold 4 to 8 inserts, again depending on how stuffed you like them to be.

Loved the Boss Babe leather – so lush
Still keeping the two-column dailies running

The problem that I quickly realized I had with the No. 8 size was just that – it’s size! It was so big, and so heavy, and didn’t fit in all of my bags (which I hated). It was a lot to tote around and was not easy to reference when I was out and about. My solution? Planning Style #3.

Style #3: Dual Traveler’s Notebook System – No. 4 and No. 8

No. 4 Boss Babe Madison Ave

This was a very short-lived planning style. I attempted to make my No. 8 Kate my stay-at-home planner, and my No. 4 Madison my on-the-go planner. I quickly realized I cannot make a dual-planning-system work. There were things in my No. 8 that I needed at work but couldn’t reference because it was at home, and I was just not a fan of the No. 4 personal size (funny because it circles back to this eventually). While I was attempting to sell my No. 8 Sugar Cookie, someone offered to trade me their No. 5 (B6 size) Bay Blackout – a vintage Foxy Fix notebook that I had been trying to get my hands on in the No. 8 size for a while. I jumped at the opportunity, and thus we begin planning style #4.

Style #4: Bullet Journal in a B6 Traveler’s Notebook

No. 5 Bay Blackout
Still at it with the two-column dailies

I stayed in this stage for quite a while, albeit with multiple different No. 5/B6 traveler’s notebooks. I loved the B6 size – it was the perfect mix of portability and space. Dimensionally, it was the same as A5 so I didn’t feel like I was losing valuable writing space, but it was much easier to throw in my bag and go. I had the Bay Blackout, a Chic Sparrow Outlander Verona (which I loved – such a lush, thick, delicious full-grain leather. Full Disclosure: that line is now discontinued 🙁 sad), and eventually a small collection of No. 5 single-straps.

My small collection of No. 5 Foxy Fix TNs – from left to right, Wanderlust Butterscotch, Sugar Coconut, Autumn Rose, Southwestern Santa Fe, plus No. 0 Sugar Icing and No. 0 Wanderlust Licorice

I thought I was done when I had the Bay Blackout and the Outlander Verona, but then Foxy Fix released their limited-edition Autumn Rose single-strap, and my husband acquiesced to my purchasing it (I had promised time and again that I was done buying planners – the lie detector test determined THAT was a lie!). As soon as it delivered, I was a single-strap convert. I loved the compact size, I loved how everything sat, I loved that it didn’t have pockets (as it turned out, I wasn’t much of a pocket girl after all), I loved that it didn’t require the reinforced spine (aesthetically, it’s lovely but functionally, the reinforced spine sucked ball sacks). I quickly sold the Bay Blackout and the Outlander Verona and purchased three more single-strap Foxy Notebooks (much to my husband’s never-ending chagrin).

As it turned out, this, also, was not going to work. While I loved the ability to use pre-printed inserts, to have an insert for dailies, to have an insert for collections, etc. etc. etc. I hated that the only insert that would lay flat was the middle one and that the rest of them had humped pages when I was trying to write. At this point I had discovered the ring-planner community, and thought that might be the solution to all my planner problems (spoiler alert: I was right).  And so, we arrive at Planning Style #5.

Stye #5: Bullet Journal in a Filofax Saffiano Personal Ring Binder

Worked out of rings and strings for a couple weeks while I waited on my new personal ring inserts to be delivered
Waddup two-column dailies again

I joined all the ring-binder Facebook groups I could find and managed to snag an aquamarine Filofax Saffiano personal ring binder for $10! That was the perfect way for me to test whether or not the ring binder system would even work for me – after all, I had already tried a personal-sized TN and didn’t like it one bit!

As it turned out, ring binders were my thang. I was obsessed. I loved that I could still use my pre-printed weekly and monthly calendars, that I could still have my two-column daily pages, that I could have separate collections, that everything was separated by dividers, that the pages lay flat no matter where I was in the binder, and that I could move individual pages around at my leisure! This was a luxury I never knew I needed in a planning system and now I can’t picture my life without it. I started my personal-ring-binder journey in October and haven’t looked back since then! The only change I’ve made is to upgrade my ring binder – while the Saffiano was great, it just felt cheaply made (and I mean, for $10….. come on).  This brings us to the final planning style of 2017.

Style #6: Bullet Journal in a Gillio Firenze Medium Compagna Ring Binder

My Gillio Compagna undyed, the day I received it
The one consistent part of my planner style – two-column dailies all the way

You can’t venture into the ring-binder world without stumbling across Gillio Firenze. Gillio has been making high-end luxury binders for decades, and while I won’t go into the specifics (you can find details in this post specifically about my Gillio) I will say that it is 100% worth every dime you’ll spend on it. Gillio announced its release of the undyed line at PlannerCon Europe in October, and I knew as soon as it was announced that I had to have one. I marked the release date on my calendar and happily managed to snag one the day they came out. My undyed delivered in the second week of November and I have used it every single day since then. I have no desire whatsoever to purchase another planner. I love the way the undyed leather ages with use. I love the ring mechanism. I love the customizability. I love the large back pocket. I love literally everything about this binder. I will never turn back. I have truly found planner peace (and for that, my husband is incredibly thankful – shout out to you for being so awesome about the amount of money I’ve spent on planner stuff this year!).

The undyed Compagna as of December 23, 2017 – it is aging beautifully!

So, there’s my rundown of 2017: The Year of the Planner. I am grateful to have finally found planner peace and hopeful that you all find it, as well! 🙂

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Plan With Me: December 2017

Plan With Me: December 2017

This is many days late in coming, but here’s what I’m working with for December 2017! I made a handful of small changes and am trying a couple new things for the last month of the year.

I’m still working out of my medium undyed Gillio Compagna – I can truly say I have found planner peace with this system!

Look at that patina developing tho

I’m still running the Michael’s Recollections Creative Year monthly and weekly inserts this month. These are undated monthly and weekly inserts – I’ve had to tweak the weekly calendars to be Monday-start rather than Sunday-start, because I just can’t wrap my head around a Sunday-start week!

Dividers from Michael’s Recollections Creative Year Collection in Dark Floral
Monthly overview
Look at that corner shine
Love that gold floral washi – got it from Target!

A standard weekly set up for me this month starts on Monday and has two sections – one for work and personal life, one for school-related tasks. They are color coded, as well: blue ink is for school, black/blue-black ink is for work and personal stuff. Because these are undated, I set them up a week in advance, so I’ve got two weeks running at any given time. That gives me a way to do some short-term forward planning, especially for looking to see upcoming due dates for school. Any long-term forward planning happens on the monthly calendar.

Standard weekly set up – paperclip from the Target Dollar Spot (AKA Bullseye’s Playground)

I’m trying something new this month by tracking my intake and exercise on a separate tracker. These are hand-drawn and a design I came up with that would work for me – feel free to take the format and use it in any way you may find that works for you! The page is hole-punched on both sides so I can flip the page whichever way I need it to be, depending on what side of the binder my task list for the day is on . This is a desperate attempt to hold myself accountable to my diet-and-exercise goals, and I’m actually on into week 2. So far, so good!

New this month: food logs!
Workout log on the back of the food log

One thing that hasn’t changed in my year-and-a-half of bullet journaling in its various formats has been the inclusion of a monthly gratitude log in my monthly set-up. I think it’s very important to keep up with a gratitude log each day, and I intend to (one day, eventually) dedicate a whole post to the importance of having a habit of gratitude, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

Monthly gratitude log

The habit tracker is another tool I’ve had in every style of bullet journal I’ve tried. In my B6 TN, I was using a weekly habit tracker. Now that I’m in rings, I’ve gone back to a monthly habit tracker. Full disclosure: these aren’t all habits. Really, this is just a handy tool for me to keep up with how often I’m doing certain things. For example, I’m tracking exercise and how often I shampoo my hair. My goal is not, by any means, to do both of those things every day, but including them on my habit tracker is a good way to see how consistent I’m being, and it holds me accountable to things I think are important.

The monthly tasks list is just a perpetual list of things that need to get done around the house at least once a month. Bathing the dogs, clipping their toenails, cleaning the floors, vacuuming, cleaning the bathrooms, washing my car, etc. etc. etc.

December habit tracker on the left, monthly tasks list on the right

New this month is a perpetual TBR list. As we approach the end of 2017 and I realize how miserably I failed at reaching my reading goal for this year (24 books read out of a 36 book goal as of this posting), I think I’ll be more successful going into 2018 if I keep a list handy of books I know I want to read that I can refer to whenever I find myself in a bookstore or browsing online for books. We’ll see how useful this proves to be over the course of the next few months.

Also new this month: TBR list

What does your December set up look like? Have you got any goals moving into the new year?

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