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Why Did I Start Planning In The First Place
We Backtrack A Bit Today To Examine The Why Of Things
Now, recently I spoke about my journey to Planner Peace here:
I don’t think I touched upon the why that journey began in the first place.
See, I had been a journaler all my life since I was very young. Although during times of great trauma or stress I would not write because I never wanted anyone to see or hear about the things that I had gone through. I guess this is why I started to write stories and poetry. I wrote poetry and stories so I wouldn’t have to face the realities of my own world, so I wouldn’t have to reveal the horrors of my real world, not to myself, nor to anyone else.
It was not a big step for me to move from journaling and morning pages to using a planner.
But, why? Why did I do it?
First of all, I needed to know what day it was. I could not keep the days of the week straight in my head. Not with a wall calendar. Not by looking at the computer for the date, several times a day. Not for anything.
Trash needed to go out to the curb. Recycling needed to go out. How the heck was I supposed to know when to put stuff out when I hadn’t the faintest clue what day it was?
Before you start with, but you had kids, how could you not know what day of the week it was when they were in school?
Because we homeschooled…and we still homeschool. Why I homeschool is a very different story that I will tell another time. When you homeschool, you keep track of the hours the kids work (at least in this state), not what day they do what.
So, no help there in knowing the day.
I bought a little calendar book planner thing, nothing fancy, and started writing down the things I did during the day.
This brings me to reason number two of why I began planning. I needed to keep up with something outside of my head, outside of my infant at the time. I needed to see that I was doing something, anything, aside from sitting and rocking the baby. I needed to feel as if I had accomplished something during the day when I looked back at things.
But how did I get from that humble little beginning into the planner that I now am?
Honestly, I cannot remember, but I can bet you that YouTube and the random selection of hey, watch this suggestions had a great deal to do with it. Why? Because that is how I get into things a lot even now these days.
Hobonichi. Oh yes. I’ve been there; tried that. What about a weeks style journal? I have two years’ worth of the weeks style journals now. I am using one in my everyday carry Traveler’s Notebook (it’s not a real Midori one, but it is the very first real leather TN that I ever bought and I still love the darn thing.) I found Stalogy. And on and on and on that rabbit hole goes.
I found Passion Planner. I found Planner Perfect. I found Simply Gilded. I found way too much on Etsy. I have a stack of notebook covers from Etsy from a number of sellers. I have covers I have made myself. (More on these later.)
I found the junk journal and bookbinding communities through YouTube. Oh my, did that trip off a huge thing for me, something that I still do and still use.
I found Ryder Carroll and the Bullet Journal method. I saw all the intricate artsy spreads and I thought, oh, yes, combining my love of art with my need to plan and track and record. Then I tried to recreate the things I saw on Instagram and YouTube…and I HATED it. I mean, I fought my way through a few things, outlining a few spreads, but the actual lack of creativity for me (following someone else’s ideas or even my own) and sticking to a set of colors (that I picked out), and keeping that cohesive for the entire month for every spread, nope. It took too much time. It took too much work. I was still putting everything into a single journal.
Then, as I do, I had to work out the best way for me to do things for myself. I do love stickers and washi tape and colorful pens and markers and highlighters. I do need to keep adding different colors and bits and bobs to my journals.
I do highly recommend watching as many YouTube videos on planners, journals, notebooks, diaries, junk journals, and everything in between to see what other people do with their journals/etc. Then you can see what you might want to try or what you know you never want to try.
A warning: for me, planning has become a lot like knitting. When I started knitting, I bought cheap needles, as many different types as I could manage, to see what I liked. I would buy cheap yarn because that’s what I could afford. Eventually, I found needles that I love (KnitPicks wooden interchangeable needles, any color, every size) and I stick with those. I found out that it can be worth investing a little bit more in yarn to create a finished piece that will last and look good for years to come. I might still have to be careful with how much I spend, but I no longer go thrifting for your dead granny’s yarn stash from the attic or the basement. (No disrespect meant, because I lived on that yarn for years when I first got started.) I don’t grab every single skein of yarn I find on sale. No. Now I check it carefully against the list of projects I want to make that I keep in my head…and as a collection in my planner/bujo.
With planning, I started out with what I could buy in stores. Around here, stationery stores do not exist, that I am aware of. I can go to bookstores to find some journals, but not always the ones I want. And pens…I know of a few pen shops that used to be around here, but the last time I checked, they had gone out of business.
Amazon became my best friend in this instance. As did Wish and now Shein and a company called Weee.
I have a healthy fountain pen collection and an undeniable desire for Tomoe River Paper or something very like it. I also have some amazing Japanese pens.
I have learned, thanks to Archer and Olive, that good notebook paper is a must. That nice thick sturdy paper makes a world of difference as I work on my days, on my spreads. Even now, when I work on thinner paper, even in my diary, I find myself getting cranky.
I like good paper and I cannot lie.
I used to tell people, and I promise you I still do, use what you have on hand; use what you can afford. If all you can manage is a school composition book, then guess what, use it. Love it. Make it your own. But always be on the lookout for when you can upgrade. I am not saying buy the most expensive thing out there.
My go-to journals these days are under ten dollars. They are 160 GSM paper. They are called Smart Planner Dotted Journal on Amazon. There are three colors, only two of which are under ten dollars.
So, you see, every single step of the way, from deciding I need to keep track of my days to bullet journals to trackers to everything in between, it’s all a journey. It’s all a process. Just as I have found my way forward on my journey, if you so choose to take a similar journey, you must find your own way through.
One thing, no matter where you are in your journey, no matter what type of notebook or pen or stickers or whatever you have, always remember to take the time to enjoy the journey. Enjoy the process. If you are doing things because you have to, it will not be a sustainable practice for you for a long period.
Remember that. Life is too short not to enjoy the things that you choose to do.
Until next time…
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