Planning – a love story (and giveaway)

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Okay, straight up, this post was originally scheduled for last week, but my planner hadn’t yet arrived because I ordered it after the holidays, during the busiest time, and so it took longer than I was expecting, and I just wasn’t ready in time.

Ironic, huh?

Back before cell phones and computers, I used to take great delight in getting a new planner each year, putting all my contacts and birthdays in it, carrying it with me everywhere I went. I loved the idea of planning, even though I was nineteen years old, and I didn’t really have a lot of things to juggle.

Fast forward twenty something years, and my life is a massive, chaotic, scheduling tornado. Between work and kids and errands and LIFE, it just requires a level of organization to keep everything running smoothly.

Most of this is handled by technology these days. My contacts are stored in my phone, and Facebook tells me when people are having a birthday. Most of my doctor’s offices send text reminders, and my Google calendar lets me set alerts for all the things I forgot I scheduled.

But last year, I started to really miss pen and paper planning. And since, for me, interest often turns to obsession, I went a little planner crazy. I got a desk sized planner, a purse sized one, a journal, a fitness planner.

If one planner is good, four is... crazy.

If one planner is good, four is… crazy.

Want to guess how that turned out? I practically pulled a shoulder muscle out dragging all my planners around, and I darn sure wasn’t any more organized. It was too much of a good thing, and the stack of planners were soon gathering dust.

I really wanted ONE planner where I could put everything. Preferably not the size of my fifth grade Trapper Keeper. And pretty. Possibly monogrammed.

Basically, I wanted an Erin Condren Life Planner. Even with the sticker shock, I just really wanted one. Sadly, when I looked into them, while they were very customizable, they still weren’t exactly what I needed. So, I kept looking.

And in the meantime, I Googled ‘menu planner template’ and printed out some sheets to tide me over.

Keeping it simple

Keeping it simple

Finally, I found what I wanted in the Plum Paper ME Planner. I could customize it to fit all the things I wanted in there, in a way that made sense for my life. And it was pretty. And I could put my name on it. The hardest decision was picking which adorable design I wanted.

Adorable, no?

Adorable, no?

Goals, Bills, Appointments, Meal and Fitness Planning, Self Care, etc. And a fitness section add on. It’s everything, fits in my bag, doesn’t break my shoulder socket. I’m so in love.

Me and my planner spend a few minutes together each night, looking over the next few days, and a few minutes each morning, prepping for that day. We’re still getting to know each other, but I think this is the beginning of a beautiful, organized, relationship.

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One might say I’m a bit old school. I’m a very visual, tactile person. Books over kindles, letters over emails, that type of thing.

Last January I was lamenting the fact that I didn’t have a planner to Bec, which I guess she took as a challenge. Not even a week later, I had a cute little planner delivered to my doorstep (and lip balm, because lip health is important).

We have a family calendar in our kitchen.

Random fact: I've used this template on my computer since I was a Resident Director in college and had to post RA schedules.

Random fact: I’ve used this template on my computer since I was a Resident Director in college and had to post RA schedules.

But the one that Bec sent? It was mine, all mine! Mwahahaha, world domination!

Ahem. Anyway, I used that planner for everything related to my life. I do a lot of freelance work where I need to track my own hours in order to get cash money and who wants to screw up with that? Um, not me. The planner is a great way to track hours and payments.

It stands to reason that when December rolled around, a planner was on my holiday wish list. I went with this one because it was on Amazon and not one billion dollars.

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It is hefty but thankfully I’m not really using it anywhere but in my home, so the bigger the better. (That’s what she said!)

Look at all the pretty planning tabs!

Look at all the pretty planning tabs!

There is something about having things all laid out in front of me that just works for me. I like the order of this planner, it actually reminds me of a book that I used in Girl Scouts when I was younger.

On the full calendar I have an overview of the month. I particularly like this one for keeping track of my work related activities.

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On the weekly page, it’s more about my personal events: workouts, food planning, volunteer work, etcetera.

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Isn’t she lovely? Isn’t she wonderful?

I mean, I know it’s not normal to be in love with a planner but… I LOVE MY PLANNER, OKAY? I am not ashamed.

In addition to Bec and I both loving planners, we absolutely love Skinnytaste. And, naturally, we love YOU. So we decided to pool our resources of love and gift the Skinnytaste meal planner to a lucky reader. Cool? Cool.

We'll pick a winner in a week and then we'll ship out this little beauty.

We’ll pick a winner in a week and then we’ll ship out this little beauty.

Click on the pic below and enter today!

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Do you use a planner or have you in the past? What keeps you motivated? If you see something in writing does it mean it must be done?

16 thoughts on “Planning – a love story (and giveaway)

  1. I’m an Erin girl all the way, but your post does make me want to stray… Shhh don’t tell Erin. πŸ™‚

    I’m with you I wanted a place for all my stuff: Workouts, Races, Vacations, Appointments, Meal planning, and now blogging. That’s a lot to go in one book! I’m still trying to figure out my system, but we are getting there!

  2. I usually fly by the seat of my pants and hope I don’t forget anything. But, speaking of pants, mine could use less straining so maybe a meal planner is what I need!

    (To follow the rules: I found you long ago when a race retweeted you)

  3. I like to use a month at a glance type planner. I write in pencil so I can easily make changes. I try and include as much info as I can related to events, phone # etc. I se sides and bottom if I run out of space on appointed day. Works for me.

  4. I love planners! I have one for work and want to find a good one for my personal life. I’m going to check out the ones you both mentioned.

  5. I’m mostly a “fly by the seat of my pants and google cakendar” kindof girl. I have tried written planners but I usually don’t stick with them.
    Oddly enough, I do love to write things down and take notes bUT it doesn’t translate to organizing my world.

  6. I’m also a “fly by the seat of my pants” kinda girl, but feel that it’s high time for me to grow up and get more organized. This may be the perfect start!

  7. I am such a paper planner obsessive. I force myself to only have one a year. I have an Erin Condren again this year, even though I didn’t want to spend the money on it. It just works so well for me! I use it to keep track of appointments, to-dos, and workouts. I’m digital all the way in the rest of my life, but that’s one place I’ve stayed old school.

    (Don’t get me started on my love of fancy pens though.)

  8. That planner is so cute. Like you I love my planner but to be honest I haven’t found one I love this year.

    To be honest I can’t remember how I found you guys because it was so long ago!

  9. I used to use a paper planner ALL the time, and in the last couple of years hadn’t been able to find one I loved. I did get a new one for daily stuff this year, which is making me so happy, but I need a meal planning one like whoa! I’m on the healthy train this year, and meal planning is the one area I always fall short in.

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