Thursday, January 26, 2017

New Planner - What Do I Do Now?

The New Year is so exciting. We have a clean slate of opportunities. We put the past year behind us and we are ready for the wonder and opportunities of the new year.

You bought a new planner for 2017. You have looked on Pinterest for ideas on how to set it up or decorate it and there is a whole world of planner geeks on social media. It can get overwhelming and you may not know where to start. I have a few tips that I have learned.

Some people decorate every inch of their planner and to me it seems very little is written on the pages. That works for some people and good for them. Have at it! If you don't feel you are the creative or artsy type, don't fret! You make your planner fit you.

First thing - breathe. Take a deep breath and relax. I love filling out my planner. It is very relaxing to me because it means I can not think about those tasks 24/7. They are written down and they won't be forgotten, because i will check my planner every day.

Second, use a pencil. Trust me, you'll feel better. Take a pencil and write in all known appointments, work schedules, school schedules, family events, get togethers, holidays, etc. If you know something is coming up, but you don't have a set date yet, like a baby or bridal shower, write a note at the start of the month you think the event will be to look for the invite to come in the mail. This is a great way to get an idea of what time you will have available for vacations or weekend getaways.

Third, how do you want these events to stand out, if at all. If you find yourself constantly marking these out and re-writing you may want to only use pencil in your planner. If you love ink, there are erasable pens. Frixion makes erasable pens that I have heard rave reviews about. I may need to add them to my stash. Do you want to highlight appointments? Would you like to write on stickers or just decorate the page? Some people color code items. Personally, I only color code based on person. For example, appointments or events that are primarily for me, I highlight orange. It doesn't matter if it is a doctor's appointment, volunteer shift or a church meeting. Now some people color code by activity. That could work if the planner is just for you and not for family members. So work may be purple, church may be yellow, housework is green, volunteer work is pink, doctor appointments are red. Some people color code by highlighter or by pen/marker.

For this particular week, appointments/activities are highlighted.

Fourth, do you want to decorate your pages? Or do you just want to decorate birthdays and holidays? Or nothing at all. My suggestion to you is start slowly. If you like the idea of highlighters, then buy a couple of highlighters and use those for a week or even a month. If that works for you, you found your thing! If you feel you need more, then think about holiday/birthday stickers or are do you a favorite animal/icon? Like, do you love owls? There are lots of great owl stickers out there you could get to put your personal touch on the pages. Are you crazy about purple? Well, you could lose your mind with washi tape and stickers in that royal color. Start slow. Try one thing at a time and do not feel pressure to do anything that is not calling your name.

So far in 2017 I have not done much decorating. For this particular weekend, I used some washi tape along the time line and simple weekend banner sticker across Saturday and Sunday.

I can always use some motivation so I like to include motivational stickers or hand written quotes on each week.

Fifth, think about cost. It is so easy to add things to your Etsy cart and your craft store shopping basket and not think about cost. Most planners are not very cheap. My Passion Planner was $30. PP does offer sales throughout the year, so you can subscribe to their newsletter or follow them on social media to find out when items are going on sale. Stickers, tape and pens/markers can get expensive fast. Make a wish list of things you would like to purchase.  Then shop around on Etsy or in craft stores and get an idea of cost. Join their newsletters to get coupons or find out when items are going on sale. Then buy what you really want and what fits your budget. And only purchase what you will use in a reasonable amount of time. I say that as someone who has quite a few rolls of washi tapes and sheets of stickers that are not being used right now.

I hope these tips are helpful. The important thing to remember is to have fun with this. Take your time, enjoy the process and you never know, you just might find you have a creative streak.

Show me what you got!


  1. Planners always sound like a good idea, but I always slack off after a few weeks. I wish I could commit and keep up the momentum, because you do a great job of making it look fun!

    1. Yeah, I understand. I usually switch planners about six months after I start it. I have found to pick one that appeals to me and keep it simple. Primarily I need it to keep track of appointments, but I am starting to use it more for goals - like writing on a regular basis. Whatever you use, make it fun and make it represent YOU! Thanks for sharing!


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