old notebook open

Truth be told, I actually used to really hate planners; and I don't mean a simple distaste for them. I actively despised the thought of them for most of my 23 year old life.

I know what you're thinking.

What kind of crazy person would actively despise something as trivial as a planner? As someone who was completely unaware of Filofax and Kikki-K, Erin Condren Life Planners and cute sticker kits, what could have possibily made me give more than 2 seconds of my time towards forming an opinion on planning?

Middle School.

For several years between fifth grade and ninth grade, our school district used to hand out really nice school planners to students free of charge for use over the entire school year. Agendas, as the school liked to call them. They had nice laminated covers, conversion tables and school policies, monthly views, weekly views, and even inspirational quotes, fun facts, and pictures on each week's page. All printed in full color. We were free to do with these planners as we liked, so there was no penalty or guilt over using it or not using it.

(I would have shared pictures, but I don't think I saved a single one... they all ended up in the trash after the school year was over.)

This probably sounds like a dream come true to many of you. I, however, would come to hate the thing.

You see, at 12 years old, I had my life completely under control. I typically would finish most of my assignments throughout the day before even getting home, and whatever little bits were left were not that difficult for me to remember. So, there really wasn't any need for me to write anything down. However, one day in the midst of 5th grade, I was overly mesmerized by another girl's planner in my class. It had colorful pens. It had neat handwriting. Each page looked so filled and beautiful and I knew at that moment that I had to give the whole planner thing a try.

I whipped out my agenda that day and waited anxiously for our first homework assignment to be announced so that I could have something to write; and sure enough, when the assignment was announced, I proudly jotted it down on the correctly dated page and headed off to my next class. It all felt so exciting.

...However, by the end of the day, my 12 year old self had lost all interest over the thing and had forgotten all about it. This was probably the result of going throughout my day as normal, doing the easy assignments between classes, and not wanting to write anything down that was already completed. So, at some point the planner just left my mind.

The following day, there I was, sitting in my first class, and the teacher asks us to pass in our homework. ...but what homework? I didn't do any homework for the class!

I just about died as I opened my agenda and realized there was the assignment that I had wrote down the previous day, that I had completely forgotten about. It was horrible. The perfect student in me felt totally embarrassed and devastated to have made such a stupid mistake. I had entirely forgotten about the homework, as if writing it down on the paper had magically rid me of any responsibility to keep track of it on my own.

I hated it. It was terrible. I vowed from that moment onward that planners were evil and I refused to use them ever since.

I'm not kidding.

This active disdain towards writing things down lasted all the way through my college education. In fact, it wasn't until just recently that I have felt overwhelmed enough to actually want things to leave my mind and give planners a second chance. It was the combination of starting my first full time job, moving to a new apartment, working on my software projects/business, and wedding planning all at the same time that finally broke me.

It all started with this little recycled cardboard notebook I had found at Tuesday Morning, this past August. In fact, I just recently ran out of the last page and have been trying to adjust to my new planner.

old notebook

I started using this notebook when I found myself extremely bored the first few days at work before I had much to do. I decided to bring this little notebook in with me and write down everything that I wanted to do when I got home. My commute was about an hour long, so I was out of the house for upwards of 11 hours every day. Getting home at 6 pm or later, each hour in the evening was very important to me and needed to be used to its full potential.

I was pleasantly surprised to see how writing down these thoughts cleared my mind and how it helped me focus on my work more easily. I didn't find myself getting as easily distracted or daydreaming, because everything that I needed to do was documented in my notebook. For once, clearing my mind of information was actually beneficial!

I mostly used this notebook by writing to-do lists. Sometimes I'd use different pen colors, but for the most part it was pretty bare.

old notebook open

My falling down the rabbit whole started on YouTube, when I found a video of the Hobonichi Techo, which is a daily page journal similar to how I was using my notebook. This piqued my interest and eventually I stumbled upon the many different types of planners that we all know and love.

I'm still trying to figure out what planner peace means to me, and how I need my FiloFax-esque system to work. The traditional week on two page spreads never have enough room for me since I'm so used to having an entire page per day in my notebook. I've been playing around with designs, and I've been really liking this 2 page per day layout I designed. Half of the page is a bullet journal style, so I still have the freedom to do whatever I want. However, each day also has a side bar with an Erin Condren sized box and notebook lines. This way, I can still decorate and use sticker kits. Its a work in progress, but I'm playing around with stickers and ideas and hope to open an Etsy shop soon with my designs! Look at how cute my cake and teacups are!

designed planner pages

Does anyone else have a similar planner experience? How far have you come in your planner journey? Let me know in the comments below!