One of the things to come out of our marathon "home time" over the holidays, was an opportunity to do some making. While most of this making was focused in the area of food (being housebound can make you very hungry after all), I was also able to complete a project that I've been considering for a few months: to make a customized 2014 planner.
I'm a list maker by nature. I love lists. To-do lists, grocery lists, shopping lists, library book lists, blog post lists, house project lists. And while I do use my phone's calendar for keeping track of appointments and deadlines, I really need the physical act of writing something down in order to help me remember it and to organize my day.
For the last few years, I've experimented with a few different ways to keep my listy self organized. I've used a combination of monthly and weekly planners, steno notebooks and post-it notes to track my appointments, the kids' activities, work and volunteer responsibilities, meal planning and household management. And with each system I tried, I got a little more clarity around what sort of planner works best for me.
So in October I started looking for a 2014 planner. I wanted something that would show both a month and week view, with ample room for my daily to-do lists, appointments (I write them down in addition to having them on my phone), blog posts, and meal planning for each week. I wanted blank or lined pages for blog planning notes, project notes (craft or home improvement), and for notes related to our move (names, phone numbers, etc). It also needed to be spiral bound, so it would lay flat and be easier to write in, and less bulky than a binder so I could keep it open on my kitchen counter. Oh, and it needed to be cute, or at least colorful.
As you can imagine, finding the perfect planner was a lot harder than I thought it would be.
But after a few snowstorms and with frigid temperatures on the horizon, the thought of making my own planner became a lot more appealing.
A quick trip to Hobby Lobby yield a blank 9" x 12" sketch pad and cardstock-weight tabs. Then I dug around in my craft supply stash and pulled out a ruler, adhesive, markers, alphabet stamps and ink pads, scrapbooking paper, and a continuous date stamp (like the ones for stamping library books - you can find them at office supply stores for a few dollars).
The hardest part was deciding how I wanted the week view to look. I finally settled on each two-page spread to be one week, viewed horizontally, with Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday on one page and Friday, Saturday and Sunday on the second page with a section for weekly notes. I decided to start my week on Monday, rather than Sunday, because I usually do my weekly planning on Sunday nights. So with that decided, I pulled out my ruler and got to work.
The calendar section of the planner is divided by month with scrapbook paper and a numbered tab (for months 1-12) adhered to the page. I also adhered a blank calendar page for that month that I can refer to if I need to see the entire month rather than just a week at a time. Within each tabbed month section are the pages for each week. Each day has a large block for my to-do list and smaller blocks stamped "r" (remember), "b" (blog) and "e" (eat). Since I tend to have shorter lists and responsibilities on the weekend, Saturday and Sunday share their blocks. This left me room for a weekly notes section that I can use to record important things that happened that week (helpful for scrapbooking later), things I need to add to the grocery list later in the week, phone messages, etc.
Making the calendar section of the planner was easily the most time consuming part of this project. However, after doing a few week spreads, I kind of got into a rhythm with it and it started going faster. I also discovered that there was enough show-through with the weight of my paper that I could trace over the previous week's block lines rather than measure for each page. And truthfully, after a doing few months (and drinking a few glasses of wine) I started to be less concerned that each vertical line was at 4", 6" and 10" and started caring more about getting done :)
Other than the calendar section, the planner includes sections of blank pages for blog planning, project notes and moving notes. Each of these sections has a scrapbook paper and tab divider as well.
I've been using the planner this week and am loving it. I have plenty of room for my lists and I can add notes and make it as colorful as I want. I like that as I was stamping the blocks for each week, I played around with the placement of things and used different ink colors to keep each month looking unique. It would have been harder to do that if I'd designed week spreads on the computer, printed them and had them bound at Office Depot (something I'd considered). I like the spontaneity that came out of this.
I've already added washi tape flags to mark birthdays and holidays, and I foresee some doodling on the calendar pages as well. It could easily morph into more of a visual journal, who knows? It's my planner, so I can make it into whatever I want. And isn't that the point?