OR - Confessions of a Recovering Planner 'Sheep'!

by Sharon Gubby


Planner stack of shame


As I started to turn the page of a new Scribbles that Matter Bullet Planner I felt the familiar rush of excitement at starting something new. New possibilities, new style and maybe the chance that this would be ‘the one’ that gave me that elusive ‘Planner Peace’ that we all crave. After all, lots of people were using one -  it brings together the structure of planning AND the flexibility of bullet journaling. Plus, if it's the up and coming new, must have planner that others have, then they must know something I don't and surely if I just follow the trend maybe, just maybe........


Is this sounding familiar to anyone else yet?


This isn’t the first time I've been down this route during the last 6 months. Please don’t ask me to admit to how many planners I have added to the ‘I love it BUT pile’ that sits mocking me in the corner of my bookshelf!  I don't consider that I'm a particular follower of trends or swayed by FOMO [fear of missing out] or ‘must have all the pretty things I see’ but somehow recently I've been in a ‘planner fidget’ - distracted by others seemingly easy planner peace, questioning my own style and being drawn into the rabbit hole of everyone’s gorgeous pictures of organized weeks, brilliant ideas and single planners that run their lives with apparent ease. Don’t get me wrong it’s a wonderful, pretty, colourful rabbit hole that I love, and I wouldn’t be without its inspiration and the colour it brings to life…BUT it has distracted me from what I need & enough is enough!


SOOO…. Here’s what I did:


  1. I put all of my planners away (yes all of them!), where I couldn’t see them, so I could stop feeling guilty every time I picked up one to use that I wasn’t using another one instead and ending up being totally unproductive in anything in the process.
  2. Then I picked JUST ONE to use for a month! I kept out my Erin Condren Hourly and I went back to basics with a blank week.
  3. I started to write a list of what I actually needed to plan and when I had that list I took the planner and added everything into it.
  4. I set up every section, with EVERYTHING.


And do you know what? 


It’s relaxing having all my day to day tasks etc in one planner on my desk. It’s calm and organized and I use it all the time without the need to keep several planners going with duplicate appointments and tasks etc AND I do now feel free to use some of the others for specific reasons! Not necessarily every day or every week but when those tasks arise.

hourly spread

So, I get the best of both worlds and I believe I have a system that works for me and is a ‘Planner Peace’ for my life as it is now. But the most relevant thing I learned is that the reason everyone appears to have ‘perfect planners’ that they like to show off on social media and which seem to work (rather crucial!) is because they are being true to themselves, their style and what works for them personally, whatever they do in their lives. It was liberating!


Now, if you’ve read this far - thank you! You deserve to have the good bit, the ooh and aahs (& really!) of what I’m using now. It will not surprise you to know I have regular use of more than one planner but only for specific tasks.

I bought a new Erin Condren Colourful Vertical Life Planner at the latest launch as this works better for me than the hourly. I’m now back at home in my ‘Workhorse’ and I love it – it’s what I started my planner journey in! I’ve recoiled it to have 3 notes pages between each month and more notes pages at the back. The vertical style suits my list making brain and I love how the bigger coil of the 18 month lets me add in lots of stickers and pretty stuff. I also added in May and June, so I can use it now (why would I wait!?).


I use a combination of sticker kits I make for myself and functional stickers from the EllieBeth Designs UK rainbow collection. I don’t really worry about what pens I use during the week, normally my trusty bic biro is on hand and my planner looks eclectic like my life. It serves its real purpose of being functional and organizing me and my household and I have found my planner peace.


So, what else do I now use to compliment this with enjoyment and without guilt?


I have an A5 Malden Filofax that I de-ringed and that holds all my reference materials that I need on hand: including my password log; an insert to record internet purchases that don’t have physical receipts; a book log for my reading project and my meal planning insert which I use every week to plan my food shopping.


I have an Erin Condren Vertical Colourful Life Planner that I use for my ‘Memory Planning’ and where I enjoy my real stickerating on a Sunday with Rachel’s kits. Since I don’t have to leave room for all my tasks I can go to town on the prettiness factor. I use photos from my Polaroid Zip printer to record events and the monthly pages are my camera record. Any event that has photos taken gets recorded here – I’ve used this system for a few years and it makes finding them for printing really quick and easy.


I also have a pocket Malden Filofax that I de-ringed and I use this when I need to carry around a sectioned notebook when I’m making costumes and need to record measurements and ideas and it goes everywhere with me over the Christmas period to record presents ideas etc. Other than that, it sits and looks and smells pretty on my desk!


My newest addition is a Papuro leather pocket sized cover with my initials on which houses a small notebook and a moleskin week to view and notes. It lives in my handbag and was bought for me by my Darling Husband as he knew I was struggling with carrying around my Erin Condren on trips etc. It’s also my only allowance to duplication of everyday tasks


It sounds like a lot but they all have a specific purpose that works for me and I’m being true to my planner style. I still have the pile of other planners, mostly undated luckily, and I will no doubt have a play every once in a while. BUT they don’t mock me, and the guilt is gone.


My advice to anyone who’s in a ‘planner fidget’ is go back to your basics, celebrate your own style, do what works for you and share it with the world with pride!







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by Lesley Clancy

I can relate to this so much! Last year I went from one planner to another, I definitely have FOMO and could not seem to stick to one way of planning because I had so many pretty planners to choose from. I’m determined this year to stick to my vertical EC and have put all of my other planners away. I’m only going to allow myself one other planner for work and that’s it. Putting everything away definitely works!

by Sophie B

This is me today! It may be only between two TN covers but still it’s such a hard decision! In the end I went with the one which was practical but pretty! 🙂