When I was 16 years old I scored a job at a deli that was in the heart of my hometown. It was a really cool place to work and I loved it. Lots of the popular kids worked there and you could always find something interesting going on. The deli sat on the edge of a small park and was surrounded by cute little shops and restaurants just waiting to take all the tourist dollars they could get. Behind the deli there was a staircase that led up to a neighboring street and at the top of that staircase was Ott's stationary. That's where I first saw him. My first true love.
For the sake of anonymity I will call him Carlos. I vividly remember the first time I laid eyes on him. He looked so exotic. Like he didn't belong in a small town. His skin was dark and smooth with little marks that were so perfect in their imperfection they almost appeared fake. He appeared so mature, maybe too mature for me but I didn't care. I knew from that first glance that we would someday be together.
At least once a week I would take a walk up to the stationary store to visit him. He never said much. He was a very quiet, mysterious sort but there was something so intriguing about him. He was like no one I had ever met before. A foreigner from a far off place I had never visited but at the same time it seemed like I had been preparing my whole life to meet him. I knew that to be with him I would have to do some careful planning. I would have to be prudent about letting my mother see me with him as I could already predict that she would say he "wasn't appropriate for me" and that "I was out of my league." But I didn't care and I meticulously laid out my plan for us to be together.
I would think about the places we would go together, the big events we would plan for our new life, and how I would keep track of each and every milestone.
Finally the day came for me and Carlos to be together. I planned to spend the entire day with him. I remember having the paper tightly gripped in my sweaty palm as I walked up to Ott's to see him. I found him in his usual spot towards the back of the store and I quietly whispered "You and I will never part." I opened my hand and placed $45 dollars on the counter and purchased Carlos.
Yes, I purchased him.
Because Carlos wasn't a person, he was my first day planner. An At-A-Glance Day Runner to be exact. A beautiful faux alligator, velcro closure, stuffed to the gills with inserts I would never use, day planner!
Oh, don't roll your eyes at me. I know that there are plenty of you out there just as crazy and neurotic about your paper planners as I am. (Yes, Nikki and Dawn, I'm talking to you!)
I have had a long relationship with paper planners. My earliest recollection is having one of those little square Hallmark calendars that they gave away for free in the stores. It was usually covered in overly stylized flowers or pictures of Precious Moments figurines and every grandmother had one in their purse. I had one that was given to me by my Grandma Claar when I was around 10 and I remember writing all my 4-H meetings in it. I have a vivid memory of walking to my ceramics class up the street from my house and checking the time in my calendar and thinking "Someday I will be so important that every day in this calendar will be filled!". Well, I don't know how important I am but that calendar is definitely full, and most days I wish it was completely empty!
Fast forward 30 years and I have tried just about every planning system there is. I've tried a Day Runner, At-A-Glance, Planner Pad, Filo Fax, Franklin Covey, the Passion Planner and the Uncalendar. I've tried wallet calendars, pocket calendars, desk calendars, and wall calendars. I've considered Kikki K, Erin Condren, Hobonichi, Midori Traveler, Plum Paper, Whomi, WeekDate and Inkwell Press. I tried digital options like Evernote, OmniFocus, WeekCal, iCal, Calendars5 and a horrible app called Fantastical and still no luck. I have even gone as far as to make an entire planner and all its components from scratch, which worked surprisingly well, for a while.
I think it's obvious by now that having a planner of some type is essential to me and that's why I am writing this post. I know it must be essential to some of you too and I want to let you in on my newest find (even though you guys may have already found it!).
In December of 2014 I was once again on a hunt for a new paper planner. While reading blog article after blog article and watching more You Tube reviews than I care to admit, I noticed that there was a new player in the paper planner world and it was called the Bullet Journal. The Bullet Journal concept was created by Ryder Carroll after he struggled for years to find a system that worked for him. The best part about the Bullett Journal is that it actually doesn't require a "special" journal. All you need is a book with empty pages and a pen and you can get started. I have been Bullet Journaling for several months now and find it more effective than anything else I have tried. Is it perfect for me, no, but I think this concept has had more impact on how I currently plan than any other. I love the versatility of having a blank book. A book that I can modify however I see fit rather than trying to cram my life into little boxes and lines that someone else has created for me. I will be writing future posts about how I have adapted my Bullet Journal to meet my needs but for now I'm just going to leave you with Ryder's quick video because the video explains it far better than I ever could.
Take a look and let me know what you think!