I’m such a planner. I love feeling organized, looking ahead at what I have coming up and looking back on what I’ve done. It’s something that centers me. I had an Erin Condren planner in the past and, while I liked it, I always felt so pressured to decorate each week that it ended up being a chore and I was disappointed when I didn’t have a nice week set up. So the next year I tried to simplify with at Kate Spade planner, but it was too plain for my liking. Then I tried a bullet journal for awhile. I wanted to combine my love of planning with my love of journaling since I didn’t seem to have the time to do both as well as I’d like. I really liked the creative aspect of it and keeping notes about my day, but it ended up taking me so long to write in it each day that it didn’t seem worth it. I also like to write in events in advance so going just month by month was frustrating. Finally, I landed on something that was juuuuuuust right.
Enter: Plum Planner. For those of you who might be in a similar situation of wanting to combine journaling with planning, or those who are new to it altogether, I’ll outline how I use the Plum Planner and how you might want to start your own planning journey. It’s really been a life saver.
Plum Planner is made by Plum Paper. They have planners, stationary, notebooks, stickers, and more. I like the 7x9in planner; it starts at $32 but the price usually goes up with custom add ons. You can customize almost anything you’d like in this planner, from how the cover will look to the type of layout you want, to adding extra stickers.
The planners have a plastic flap to guard the front and back covers. It’s bound with a metal spiral coil that’s an inch thick. You can even buy different covers to swap out seasonally if you’d like. I just choose one cover that I like and keep it all year long. I like to have the date at the top (so I know right away which planner year it is) and my name at the bottom.
I chose the monthly layout and the weekly horizontal layout. I like to have my month at a glance and to also be able to have enough space to plan my weeks out.
I plan my weeks out far in advance-if I know I have something on a specific day I’ll go ahead and enter it when I plan my months so that it doesn’t catch me by surprise when I get to that week. Then I plan each week out on Sunday or Monday and refer to it daily, using a hybrid bullet journal style of check boxes and short reflection.
I use a box check mark for things that I need to get done, and I use a circle to mark events that I need to attend. I check off each thing as it’s completed. If something doesn’t get done that day, I mark it with an arrow to indicate that I will push it off, or I simply put a dash through it if it’s something I can only do that day (like an event). Then I rewrite it on the day that I want to complete it so that I don’t forget. At the top of each week is a box for notes where I enter in my weekly to dos that don’t necessarily need to be on a certain day but that I don’t want to forget. At the end of the day or as I’m referring to my planner during the day I’ll use a dash to indicate things I did or how I felt, kind of like a very mini journal entry. Sometimes I use stickers to add some flair but usually I keep it relatively plain. I love this method because I get the best of planning my days as well as keeping a record of what I was doing or feeling, kind of like you would in a bullet journal but without the hassle of having to write out each month yourself.
Each month has a space for your to list goals, birthdays, things to remember, and a page for notes in the front. I’ll list some goals and then use the note page to make a to do list for the month with longer term things I want to accomplish.
The end of the month also has a blank page for notes that I use as a reflection of the month. I look back through everything I’ve done, reflect on the events of the month, and write down how I feel it went overall. For my new 2019 planner I had one extra blank note page put in between each month so that I can have a bit of a longer reflection.
The back of the planner has lined and dotted paper for note taking. I use it to record books I’ve read, and general lists that won’t fit on a certain day. I also use it to plan things like my photo collage arrangement.
I like to get a few stickers so that I can use them to mark special occasions or add some decoration here and there. I don’t feel as pressured to decorate everything though like I did with my Erin Condren planner.
This year, I opted to add on an extra section in the back dedicated solely to reflection. It has a page to write down goals, values, and a vision for the year. Then two pages on each month on what you did, how you felt, memorable activities, goals, and how you can improve. I’m still planning on doing a journal style reflection at the end of each month but I also like the structure that this specific section provides. It will be my first time using it so we’ll see how it goes.
So there you have it! I’m always tweaking and adjusting what works for me but overall I’m liking how I do it and I’m loving my Plum Planner! How do you plan your days? I’d love to hear what works for you!