Organize This!

Bipolar Planner Disorder

February 6, 2014 | 4 comments


Searching for the perfect planner is like searching for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. At first, you are convinced it doesn’t exist, but then you start believing. You start hoping. Maybe it does exist. It is possible. Weirder things have happened. Right? You tell yourself that it cannot hurt to look. Miracles happen all the time. And if you find it, it would be worth all the hours spent looking. You would be set for life. And then one day, you find it.

The perfect planner, I mean, not the pot of gold. I am pretty sure that one doesn’t exist. Considering that I live in Hawaii where you see at least a couple of rainbows per day, and yet I have never found the end of one (or the pot of gold waiting there), I feel like I have pretty good basis for this conclusion. The existence of the perfect planner, on the other hand, is something I still believe in.

If you did a survey among organization and planner fanatics like myself, you would probably find that many consider the Erin Condren life planners to be as close to planner perfection as possible. I got one in October and I have often referred to it as the perfect planner. Yes, they are a bit expensive, but it so worth it. And you can’t really put a prize on a perfect planner, can you?

When my life planner arrived my first thought was “oh it is so pretty”. Everything was shiny and new. Even the box it came in was pretty. I felt that with a planner like this, I could conquer anything (at least my daily tasks). Now, I’m not so convinced. I still love my planner (I mean, it is so pretty) but at the same time, I don’t like it at all.

I think I suffer from bipolar planner disorder.

This planner is perfect in so many ways, and at the same time, none of it works for me.

Let’s examine the symptoms:

#1: There is a range of predesigned covers which you can modify.
I won’t lie, there are nothing negative about being able to personalize your planner (except maybe that there are so many options to choose between that you might never make it to actually ordering one). I went with the collage edition and used a range of my favourite photos and quotes. They even made the text and squares black for me, because I don’t really like how colourful the cover was.

#2: The planner has lots of pages (monthly overview, weekly overview, and both pages for special occasions and empty pages).
As a consequence of this, the planner is quite bulky. I don’t see this as a problem (I mean, this is a small prize to pay for a perfect planner). My problem, however, is that there isn’t enough space for what I want or need to write down. If I’m gonna carry around a bulky planner, I want to get my money’s worth of writing space. Also, the weekly pages are divided into morning, day, and evening (with equal space allotted to each) and most of the things I want to write down should go in the day space, which never is large enough and then I have to use the morning or evening slots, and that just feels wrong to me. There is lot of extra space for notes, both on the monthly and weekly overviews, but these are also too small for me. I like to write detailed lists of all the things I should do each day. It helps me function (and yes, I know that not everyone needs to include “eat lunch” on your daily to do list, but I do so I need the space for it).

#3: The planner comes with stickers and a pocket at the end to keep extra stickers and notes in.
I wished every planner came with stickers and pockets. It speaks to my need for organization. And yet, I don’t actually use the stickers or the pocket. The stickers are just extra things I’d carry around all day. I barely have anything in the pocket, and still my planner goes all bulky and uneven and unbalanced. There are few things that bothers me more than an uneven surface to write on. Acutally, there is probably nothing worse than uneven surfaces.

#4: The planner is very colourful.
A planner is one of those special cases where what’s on the outside matters just as much (or at least almost as much) as what’s on the inside. Yes, the planner needs to be functional and nice to write in, and structured in a way that works for you, but it also needs to look and feel right. I carry my planner with me everywhere. I want it (outside and inside) to be aesthetically pleasing. The fact that you can modify the cover is a big plus, but the inside is another matter. It has a new colour scheme for each month, which is all nice and pretty, but I sometimes like to write with different coloured pencils. The problem is when the colour I want to write in clashes with the current colour scheme. What if my green highlighter doesn’t work with the pink theme for February? Do I not use my green highlighter for an entire month? I realize that this might not be an issue for anyone except me, but since it is my planner we are talking about, this cannot be ignored.

Diagnosis: Clearly, this perfect planner just isn’t perfect for me.
Doctor’s order: I need a new planner.

Any suggestions?

I should probably mention that there are plenty of people (Amanda Rose, Holly, and Elizabeth just to mention a few) who clearly are not as OCD (challenged?) about flat surface/space distribution/colour coordination as I am, and for them the Erin Condren life planner probably is the closest you can get to the perfect planner. You should visit them and read/hear about how they make this planner work for them. You should also visit the Peep My Planner monthly link-up for organization junkies.