Type the phrase “plan with me” into the YouTube search box and you’ll be drawn in to a whole new world. It’s a world of Life Planners and kikki.K, spiral or arc bound, horizontal vs. vertical, half boxes and checklists, hydration stickers and weekend banners. Yes, planners have their own language but don’t worry; it’s easy to catch on. Actually, catching on is what you should worry about – because once you head down this rabbit hole, there’s no turning back.
Modern planning has its roots in the spiral bound calendars you find at Staples and Barnes & Noble but it has more in common with the diaries and notebooks you decorated like mad when you were a teen.
It’s a creative way of organizing your life, which makes it perfect for IndieMade store owners like you. The process begins with a two-page per week desk calendar. Planner aficionados often go for the higher-end Erin Condren Life Planner or the easier to acquire Happy Planner from Me & My Big Ideas. There are about a dozen other choices, some of which align the days horizontally and some vertically. If you have big handwriting or a lot to do each day, the horizontal gives you more room. If you’re all about the decorating, the vertical is the way to go.
Once you have your planner in hand, it’s off to Staples for the proper pens. Only certain pens flow nicely without bleeding through the page! Finally, it’s off to Wonderland. . . aka Etsy to order sticker packs designed specifically for the planner you chose.
Planner stickers fall into four main categories; tiny icons to represent the things you do in a week (vacuum, groceries, TVs, books, bicycles), check boxes for your To Do lists, daily trackers (water intake, medicine, exercise) and decorative boxes. You can liven up your pages even more with colorful stickers and washi tape from the craft or discount store.
Once you have all your supplies, the planning process begins. At the start of each week, you pick a theme or a color scheme then fill in each day with a combination of To Do lists, scheduled activities and embellishments. Remember, each week is a work in progress so don’t worry about getting it all filled in on Sunday. Some prefer to fill in the days after the fact like a diary for future reference.
If you want to jump into the planner community with both feet, record your planning session and upload it to YouTube. Or photograph your pages to post on social. It might seem odd sharing your personal agenda with the world, but that’s how it’s done. Planning is now a group activity.
Here’s the amazing thing about design-based planning; it keeps you motivated and moving forward. When you scribble your To Do list on a sheet of lined paper from your kid’s school stash it’s like admitting that the work isn’t important. But when you make a note to photograph your products on Tuesday and seal the deal with a cute camera sticker; that’s a commitment.
And did I mention that it’s fun? After I decorated my first week, I was hooked. I scoured the internet for inspirational images. I watched a dozen ‘plan with me’ videos on YouTube and I subscribed to the top channels. I even joined three planner Facebook groups so I could be among the first to hear about the newest stickers, planners and pens.
It’s been six months since I found my passion for planning and I’m on the downside of the high. I cut my decorating down to a few stickers per week and I stopped filming plan with me videos. I also got over the craving for an expensive Erin Condren planner since my inexpensive Target planner works very well. One thing that hasn’t changed; six months later and I’m still consistently planning my weeks on Sunday and my days each night before I go to bed. That’s huge for me. In the past, I was a dedicated planner in January and in September but hardly touched my calendar any other month of the year. Now, I’m checking the boxes on a daily basis and it feels good.
Are you ready to find your planner passion? Perfect! Because January is planner month here at IndieMade. Over the next four weeks, we’ll be sharing tips from planner experts including Alexis from Strange and Charmed and Boho Berry’s Kara Benz. We'll be talking about bullet journaling vs calendar planning and we'll help you find everything you need to get started.
Time to ditch those boring To Do lists and apps; we’re about to get creative.
Are you a planner fan? Tell us about your favorite brands and tools in the comment section below.