When a post I wrote for the Daily Mail received some negative comments from people who don’t understand the planner craze, I thought it needed to be addressed in a blog post. So if you’ve got a friend that likes planning and you don’t ‘get it’ or have stumbled across my blog and are thinking I’m a bit ‘OCD’ and ‘bonkers’ (as some people that commented on the article apparently think I am), here’s a bit of an explanation into why I decorate my planner.
Why I decorate my planner
1. If it’s not pretty I won’t use it
There’s something about a pretty planner that makes me want to use it. Makes me want to write neater. My handwriting is shocking – if you’ve seen my hand-writing you’ll know it looks messy in the photos I post on here – and that’s the neat version. Unless I use a planner that’s visually appealing my plans end up a mess, I can hardly read what I’ve written and I don’t want to use it. If I don’t use it then I won’t get anything done.
I feel less stressed and am more productive when using an aesthetically pleasing planner. I liken it to someone that feels better wearing a certain type of clothes or shoes.
2. Color coding
I have a lot of things I’m juggling:
- Full time day job
- This blog
- 2 Etsy shops and an online store
- My ecourses
- My investment property
- Travel planning (if you read this post you’ll know this is not something that can be done properly in a weekend!)
If I didn’t color code my planner I’d never be able to keep track of it all. The fact that it creates a colorful and aesthetically pleasing weekly spread is just an added bonus 🙂
3. I get bored using the same planner
The reason I tried a different planner each week was because I get bored of using the same planner each week. Much like I won’t use it if it’s ugly, if I’m bored with it I won’t plan using it. If I don’t plan, then things get forgotten and I don’t get nearly as much done as if I’d just taken 15 minutes or so to plan out the week. I actually tried not using a planner last year. I didn’t even last a day before I was reaching for pen and paper. Having everything planned out makes me a lot less stressed than flying by the seat of my pants and hoping I haven’t forgotten anything.
Using a planner means I don’t pay late fees because I forgot to transfer money onto my credit card or pay a bill and I don’t miss deadlines.
Some of my favorite planners that I’ve tried…
4. Saves space
It makes no sense to me to write the same thing over and over again – that’s why I tend to use habit trackers.
Planner stickers are also one of the biggest space savers, especially icon stickers and sidebar stickers (such as hydrate trackers, social media, exercise tracking etc.)
5. Saves time
It usually only takes me about 15 minutes to plan out my week. Using planner stickers, symbols for coding and highlighters saves time.
6. Better time management
I’m a visual person. I’m going to take more note of icon stickers, than a bunch of words on the page. So at the end of the week, I can see how many icon stickers I have for something and think to myself ‘how can I cut down the amount of time spent doing this task?’ and hence end up more productive.
I also find pre-planning and then journaling what got done that week is very helpful.
7. Journal / keepsake
I like being able to look back at what I was doing when. Planning is similar to a photo album only it provides a more detailed look back into what was happening at that point in time in my life.
8. Put my own stamp on it
I hate boring, generic planners – there’s nothing that shows you’ve put your own stamp on it. Customing a weekly spread makes it your own.
The Daily Mail Article
So going back to the article I wrote for the Daily Mail… I was really disheartened by the negative comments. From people telling me it’s impossible to eat leftovers for a week to telling me I should go get a real job, that they could complete my entire weekly to do’s in a day etc.
These people clearly don’t have or use a planner.
One of the photos was my weekly plan for the week of the Brisbane Planner Markets last year. I.e. when I was flat out prepping for the markets, maintaining my Etsy shop, juggling my 9-5 job and studying for an accreditation interview for my day job. But since the fact I have a day job wasn’t a relevant question I was asked in the interview it wasn’t included in the article – so apparently people think I just laze around all day decorating my planner – oh how I wish! 🙂
To the numerous people that told me ‘you cannot possibly have leftovers everyday of the week’. Actually I can. Because I used a planner to plan ahead meals so I could freeze them and have leftovers. The images from the weeks I’d planned prior weren’t posted. Only a handful of the photos from the planner challenge were posted. I’m also cooking for only myself. I am not an obese person and I cook enough that the same thing lasts 3 to 4 meals. That’s called being time efficient so I don’t have to waste an hour in the kitchen every night. I cooked 3 times that week, so yes it is possible to eat leftovers for a couple of meals per week. As a side note, the photos I post of the weekly spreads are also from the start of the week. Things can change throughout the week.
Someone even made a snide comment asking how much money I’d paid the Daily Mail to publish the post. When they contacted me to write an article for them about my love of planning I thought it was a joke. I legit didn’t think someone from the Daily Mail had emailed me until I checked the emailer’s profile on LinkedIn. So I said sure, send me your questions. I’m not someone that reads the news in detail so I didn’t realise people do actually read the Daily Mail. And that people troll the articles on there writing really catty comments. I was not paid for the article and I did not request payment for writing the article.
The Daily Mail removed the questions and re-arranged my answers in the article. They didn’t send me a proof to review before posting. I didn’t even know it had been published until I saw an email from a radio station in Australia saying they’d seen the article and asked me if I wanted to go on air (public speaking? Definitely not!). I sent through photos relevant to what I had written. They used some of the photos, ignored others and pulled photos from the site that I hadn’t selected / given them permission to use. They chose weeks from the challenge which weren’t my favorite and which weren’t directly relevant to my answers to their questions.
If you’re a regular blog reader you’ll recognise the article was just a snapshot into my planner obsession. Not all planning topics – reviews, tips, hacks etc. can be captured in just 1 article.
Someone claimed I was just advertising. No I’m not, my ‘mission’ with this blog is to provide helpful planning / time management tips and connect with people who ‘get’ the planner craze since I don’t know many IRL people that are as obsessed with stationery and planners as I am! I doubt most of the people commenting on that article telling me I must live a really ‘sad’ life to have ‘so much time to plan my week’ even have a planner. It literally takes less than half an hour to plan the week – time well invested in my opinion! So my response is that perhaps they are the ‘sad’ people… they wasted their time reading an article about a topic they’re not even interested in, then proceeded to write negative comments for literally no reason.
Someone said I was being paid to promote Paper Mate pens. Although that would be awesome, I am not paid by brands to promote their products and if I’m sent a planner for free this is disclosed in the blog post. Regardless, I always give my honest opinion.
To the people that claimed they could complete my entire weekly to do list in a day… The couple of photos in that article are only a snapshot. I have separate planners for things like ecourse and product planning for my shop. I also have a full time day job. One item on my to do list such as ‘travel planning’ could add up to 10 hours that week. Plus I add more private, personal stuff to the spread after it’s posted online – clearly I’m not going to splash super personal things all over the internet.
To the people thinking I’m ‘up myself’ – I didn’t choose the headline for the article. I highly doubt I am the most organized woman in Australia – the current state of my desk definitely says otherwise! I considered not even accepting the article request for fear it may come across as anything other than helpful.
Someone commented saying I could achieve the same thing much quicker using apps on my iPhone. They clearly didn’t read the article when I said the reason I use pen and paper is because I get frustrated by tiny phone screens and want to see the entire week laid out in front of me. Some people use digital systems and if it works for them, then great! I’m a pen and paper person and that’s the topic I was asked questions about for the article.
So if you’ve ever read an article or a post in a Facebook group etc. and commented in a negative way – please think twice. There are real people with feelings on the other side of that post.
If you were one of those people that commented or you read one of those comments and thought there was some truth to what some randoms who don’t even know me wrote, I hope this post helped you understand that those of us that keep a planner and enjoy decorating it are not ‘OCD’, ‘childlike’ or ‘utterly bonkers’ – we simply have a hobby we enjoy – just like you probably do.
To each their own.