Other Stuff

Plan Your 2020… With Paper!

Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com

It’s hard to believe, but 2020 is just a couple of weeks away. (I’m not sure how time sped up so quickly… I mean, the 90’s were just ten years ago, right?) The beginning of a new year brings many promises to stay more organized and attempts to meet new goals. It’s helpful as we get started to write those goals down, track our progress, remind ourselves to achieve them, and reflect on the results. That’s why finding a great organization tool is super important.

Yes, I know it is the 21st century and we all have a computer in our pocket. (How did I live before the iPhone?) There are lots of digital organization apps, from a simple calendar to tools with fancy journal space. Lots of people, including my husband, use Google Calendar and Tasks to keep their schedule. I know these are small, and convenient, and don’t kill trees… but I think that digital planners are rather impersonal.

I will be a paper planner girl for life! There is something so satisfying about using colorful pens and stickers to organize all I need to accomplish. I like having a canvas to personalize my schedule, thoughts, and goals with my own hands. Plus, I remember things much more if I physically write them down. Each week, I sit down on Sunday afternoon with my Staedtler Fineliners, my planner, and a cup of tea to start thinking about what’s ahead.

I’ve been using a paper planner to organize my life since I was in high school. I learned from my Dad that office supplies are happy things. When I got my first job, I bought a navy floral brocade Day Timer, buying new pages for it each year. I absolutely loved that planner, with all of its pockets and organization tools! It got me all the way through college too. (I probably would have died if I lost it.)

In my adult life, I am still committed to my paper planner. (I even use a physical teacher planner and journal.) It has taken me a while to find, as they say in the planner communities I follow, “planner peace.” There are TONS of options on the market, and at times it’s hard to cut through the noise and find what works best for you. For me, I like having something that is pretty but functional, guided yet customizable, and something substantial but portable.

In the last twenty years, I’ve tried a lot of different options. Some were just simple planners that I picked up from Target or Barnes and Noble to keep track of dates. They were fine, but weren’t necessarily a space I could do anything else. I started looking for something with more built in journal tools.

I have friends who swear by their Emily Ley or Blue Sky Planners. I’ve never used either one, but might try them in the future. I have a Plum Paper Teacher Planner (more about that in another blog). They also offer daily planners with lots of customized add-in sections for blogging, etc. I have also used an Erin Condren Life Planner. While these planners are colorful and beautiful, I found them to be a bit bulky to carry around in my purse. Erin Condren planners are made with interchangeable covers, which is fun for customizing, but I didn’t like how they tend to fall off and split at the corners.

Maintaining both the Plum Paper and Erin Condren planners can be quite an investment with all of the extras that make it look super cute and functional. Still, I love their accessories and stickers and incorporate them into other planners. Both of these planners are spiral bound books. I don’t care for spiral binding in a year long planner. They take up a lot of space and don’t hold up well over a year of being banged around in a purse or tote.

After a long search, I have found planner peace with the Passion Planner. Passion Planner began as a Kickstarter by college student, Angelia Trinidad. What I love about it is that it’s not just a planner, but a guided goal-setting tool. There are pages to map your short term goals, dream about the long term, and organize your weekly routines. There’s also plenty of blank pages in the back to customize your book for what works for you!

I love that the planner is book bound, so it tends to hold up well during the year. It’s available in three sizes. I use the medium (Pro) which is around 7″X 9″. This provides enough space to write, while remaining small enough to fit in most of my bags or totes.

The book begins with a Passion Roadmap, helping you set up goals for the next three months, year, three years, and your lifetime. Then, there is a space to focus on one Big Picture goal. This really helps me focus on the year ahead. After the month of June, there is an identical space to check on how you are doing.

The calendar pages are set up as both monthly and weekly spreads, with space for task management and a “space of infinite possibility” to doodle, journal, dream, or to use as a habit tracker.

One of my favorite features is the monthly reflection spread. It allows you to journal about what you accomplished during the month, what you are grateful for, and what you want to change moving forward. For someone who loves to journal, this is a great guided way to close out each month. I look forward to completing this at the end of every month and print a few highlight pictures from my HP Sprocket printer to help it feel personal.

I use the blank pages at the end of the book for a lot of different things. It’s my go-to space for my fitness tracker, mood tracker, lists of restaurants and bars to try, vacation planning, book lists, movie lists, and more. With both plain and grid paper, there are endless ways to use these sheets. This is where your book can really be customized to your own needs.

Passion Planner is plain and straightforward enough for those who just want function from their planner. It also has lots of room to decorate and make it your own. It offers simple, professional style covers, or more colorful and decorative ones. It offers style and function that can work in any setting for people of every gender. It is truly one of the best organizational tools out there.

Try a Passion Planner for yourself! Use this referral code to get 10% off your first planner.

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