One of the first items I can remember saving up for as a kid — besides Breyer horses, of course — was a planner. It was from Roxy and had a denim cover that zipped around a refillable planner. I was obsessed with it, and obsessed with scheduling out my days and crossing off my to do lists.
Well, not much has changed, except that I’m not sure I would pick a denim cover again. I’ve always been a Type A person who gets way too much satisfaction from writing down my tasks, meetings, events, and classes for the day, and then subsequently crossing them off. And, yes, sometimes I even write things down after the fact just to cross them off. Needless to say, I’m a paper planner kind of girl for life. My Google calendar is good on the go, but it just won’t ever replace the organization that comes from a trusty planner.
HOW I PLAN MY LIFE
Wow, that sounds like a much larger header for this section than I intended it to — or maybe I’m just still in larger life planning mode from the amazing workshop I took this week with Katie Marshall Wellness on Vision and Goal Setting. But, anyway, how I plan my life is with the help of my old fashioned planner. There’s no way I’d be able to stay on task and on top of everything that I need to do in a day between work, side hustle, freelance work, self care, and a social life without it.
I’m a devotee of a monthly and daily layout in a planner. I like being able to look at the bigger picture for each month, writing down blog events, appointments, friend dates, social obligations, vacations, trips, and the like. In the month layout, I don’t write down smaller obligations like barre class, but I do include a vet appointment or a coffee date.
While I don’t love the idea of bullet journaling for me since I like things more organized, that is kind of how I treat my daily layout in my planner. There’s enough room for me to write down every single task I have on my itinerary that day and include those events from the monthly layout (yes, those get to make two appearances!).
THE NITTY GRITTY OF DAILY TO DO’S
When I say that I write down every.single.thing in my planner, I mean it. From my morning walk to doing a face mask to writing a blog post, there is not an item that will occur in my day that is left off (it’s worth noting that I do a separate to do list in my work notebook for work tasks, though I do include on-site client meetings in my planner). And, as I complete each item, I cross it off.
For example, today my daily section of my planner reads:
- Walk at 7 AM
- Meditate for 10 minutes
- Take pictures for planner blog post
- Write planner blog post
- On-site client meeting at 4 PM
- Barre at 6:45 PM
- List Poshmark items
- Get new key card for apartment
- Edit pictures from Nemacolin
- Finish copy for Frederick shopping post
There’s no task too small to go on my daily to do list. If I don’t write down “clean the litter box,” it may slip my mind between all the other items that need to be crossed off. As I’ve written about before, balancing work, blog, and a personal life isn’t always easy, but with a management system for everything that needs to get done, it’s possible.
ERIN CONDREN LIFEPLANNER
I’ve been using my Erin Condren LifePlanner since last July and it’s, hands down, my favorite planner I’ve ever used. A monthly and daily layout is a must, and the size of this planner is perfect. It’s not too small — I’ve accepted a purse size planner just doesn’t work for someone looking to write out everything like I do — but it’s also not a full notebook size. It fits easily in my work bag or backpack. If you’re a stickler for a pristine planner like I am, I would highly recommend getting the LifePlanner clutch to hold your planner when it’s in your bag. It’s like a laptop cover, but for your planner. Yes, that may sound ridiculous, but I guarantee there are a few of you who are like, “YES! That’s exactly what I’ve needed!”
If you want to take your organization to the next level, there are even wet-erase dashboards you can get for everything from meal planning to grocery lists to those longer term to-do’s that you don’t want crowding your daily task list. You can also buy interchangeable covers so that your 18 month planner always matches the season (I might have done this…). The Erin Condren LifePlanner is definitely a bit of an investment, but, trust me, it’s been worth every penny — and this is coming from the girl who usually ends up wasting money by buying a planner only to find it doesn’t work and then having to regroup and buy another.
AND, OF COURSE, MY OUTFIT AND DESK DETAILS
Well, this wouldn’t be a true lifestyle post without giving a shoutout to my outfit and desk. This striped turtleneck is one of my favorite purchases ever from J.Crew. I should add that all striped turtlenecks are my favorite — I have one from high school that I bought at Gap and still wear regularly. I went a little crazy on colors of the toothpick corduroys from J.Crew a few years ago and these royal blue gems remain one of the best colors to pull out in the middle of winter. My necklace is an antique pocket watch from the 1860’s that my grandmother used to wear, and now I do almost every day.
My Parsons desk is from Wayfair and is perfectly sized for the small home office space that I have. This gorgeous gold lamp is from Target, the gold pineapple dish is from Anthropologie, and several of the prints are from Minted. On the desk is the One Line a Day Journal I just bought after seeing it on Katie’s blog, How to Style Your Brand, Graphic Design Theory, HTML & CSS, and Thinking With Type — a mix of books I bought for my own needs and for grad school classes.