The story of my relationship with planners goes something like this.
For as long as possible, I resisted. About a decade ago a friend of mine was all into her planner. And I thought she was silly. Loved her, but a bit silly about the planner business.
What are good friends if not honest, right?
Our conversations back then went something like this, “Do you guys want to come for dinner next week?” And she would say, “Yes, let me check my planner!” And I would roll my eyes like a middle schooler and think, “Oh yes, the planner.”
Because as much as I like to write words here, for most of my life I’ve not been a big writ- it-down girl. I fought grocery lists for the longest time, fought to do lists with the same fervor. I just couldn’t see wasting time writing everything down in a planner when I could just as easily keep track of it in my mind.
And then I started missing stuff. Like kids’ doctors appointments. At the doctor’s office, that I work at. Or showing up at the dentist office, right on time, a day before my appointment.
That’s a little embarrassing.
I don’t know if it was age or lack of sleep or too many kids or the perfect blend of all of that, but at some point my mind could not keep up with my schedule like it had in the past.
And it made me a little sad. A little frustrated. And a little cranky.
Jumping on board
I tried using my phone to corral my schedule at first. I kept my husband’s calendar synced with mine and we both just found that all sorts of frustrating. We have a myriad of daily commitments that don’t apply to each other’s schedule, which just clogged up our calendars and made us want to hyper-ventilate rather than check the calendar.
That was not successful.
So a few years ago I admitted defeat and jumped on the planner bandwagon. If you have ever been here you’ll know this is indeed a big ole gigantic bandwagon to jump on.
There are business planners and financial planners. Daily, weekly and monthly planners. Homeschooling mom planners and blogging planners and planners that will just about cost you your firstborn child.
Seriously. The planner business is something special these days.
So I did the only thing I knew. I went to Wal-Mart one December and bought some $5 planner. Not a business planner. Not a homeschooling mom planner. A basic vanilla planner with simple calendar boxes to write in and not embarrass yourself by missing the things you committed to.
And just like that I was converted. Planners for the win.
Finding my groove
A year or two in to this planner relationship, another friend introduced to me to the academic calendar – a calendar that runs from August to July. At this stage of life, whether your kids are homeschooled or in a traditional school, much of life runs on the academic schedule. And when you use a January to December calendar you can’t write that June ballet recital down properly when you learn about in September because your planner does not have a June yet.
Do you feel me here?
So I converted to an academic calendar the next chance I got and it was perfect, just perfect, for my planning needs. Until about March.
In March I was invited to a retreat in September. I was asked to speak at a conference in November. And I made plans for another retreat in August. And do you see the problem? Academic calendars end in July; I have no August, September or November until the new academic calendars come out in May or so.
So I started writing wild notes, in the back of my planner, about all of these long range things I’ve committed. Yet each time I do, I feel a bit of anxiety that I’m going to forget something. Not showing up for a speaking engagement is, oh, just a tad bit more embarrassing than missing a doctor’s appointment. Right?
Lo, behold, this year, I believe I have the absolute PERFECT solution. DaySpring has just released an 18 month (18 MONTHS, friends!!!) Agenda Planner, July 2017 – December 2018. I could almost sing the hallelujah course here, but this is as good as it gets in my planner world.
So let me tell you what I love:
- SIZE – I love that this thing is not enormous. It’s 7” x 9”, which means I can still throw it in my purse and take it to a meeting with me. It is a bit thicker than a 12 month planner (hello – 6 more months here!) but they did a great job of keeping the size manageable.
- LAYOUT – Each month has a tabbed divider (essential in my opinion) with a full month layout, followed by an expanded weekly layout for all the details. Also, the front and back covers are a fully laminated, heavy card stock, which means if you spill coffee on this thing you will not cry. I’m pretty sure a mama designed this.
- GORGEOUS – I take my planner with me to every single meeting I attend and it’s often found laying in the common spaces of our home, because clearly my brain retains very little on it’s own anymore. But I LOVE how pretty these planners are. They’re gorgeous – with their gold, metal binding, color coordinating tabs with encouraging quotes and scriptures throughout.
- FUNCTIONAL – My current planner is a bit of a train wreck of scribbled notes I need to remember, writing inspiration that comes at inopportune times, and random lists of which classes of swimming lessons my kids are in. Because I need to remember these things! Each month of the Agenda Planner has a page for notes with several more lined and blank pages tucked in the back. There is a two-sided pocket folder where I like to tuck invitations and sign up sheets and even some grid paper in the back. How smart is that?
- STICKERS – So I’m going to be real honest and admit I’m not sure I get the stickers but I know it’s a thing now – all kinds of women are loving stickers and labels in their planners. I don’t know that I’m ready for that yet, but they give you 3 sheets of lovely little color coordinated ones with this planner if that is your jam.
- PRICE – Have you seen the price of some of those fancy planner these days?!? Holy smokes, they are going to have to start offering payment plans on some of those! So these Agenda Planners are $29.99, which seems super fair to me. Remember it’s an 18 month planner, so you’re kind of actually buying a planner and a half here.
My plan and a GIVEAWAY!
So my plan is actually to purchase one of these Agenda Planners every year. The pace and scheduling of my life right now demands a little more long-range planning. The ability to keep a planner that stretches out a few more months is a perfect fit for me. And I’m not sure I can find a cuter planner for the price.
The great folks at DaySpring sent me the lovely Gold Stripe Planner and they were kind enough to send one of the coral colored (in)Courage Agenda Planners, for one of you! I’m hosting this giveaway on Instagram so hop on over there and enter to win.
What about you – are you are on the planner bandwagon yet? Do you have one you love? Are you looking for to something different? Share your thoughts in the comments.
*The products reviewed here were provided at no charge to I Choose Brave but the opinions expressed were all my own. Links provided may be affiliate links that support this blog. Please read our disclosure page for additional details.