Monday, September 21, 2015

Organization & The Writer or...Kristina Needs A Plan

my new planner, the Happy Planner!
I've been a bad blogger. A really bad blogger...other than a couple of hit-and-miss promotional posts I haven't been here much lately. Partially because of my busy schedule (I know, we're all busy) but also because I haven't been very organized. Every year I start out thinking, "this is going to be the year that I get organized," and then three weeks later I'm up to my armpits in receipts and random post-it notes and illegible scrawls on my calendar. It's a mess.

For 2016, I'm doing something a little bit different, and I'm starting early so...who knows? Maybe 2015 will be The Year Kristina Got Organized and 2016 will be The Year Kristina's Whole Year Is Organized. :) Hey, a girl can dream!

The inside cover - what a great way to start, right?
So, two years ago I bought an Erin Condren Planner. Last year, I bought an Erin Condren Planner. Both years I loved the design of the planner, the extra spaces, the accessories (stickers. there are STICKERS!!!), the layout of the planner itself. But, each year I found I was still losing things - I needed a folder for receipts or a folder for notes and I want my business plan in the front rather than a random page in the back. I want that plan to be the first thing I see when I open up the planner. Also, I want the planner to lay completely flat (Erin's planners do) when they are open and when they are closed I want a flat surface rather than the angled surface from a binder. This year, I was looking at new Erin planners and thought, you know, I'm spending a lot of $$ (they're over the $70 mark once personalized and accessorized) for a planner that is kinda-but-not-completely working for me. So I started looking around. I watched YouTube videos, I lurked in my Staples, I read blogs.

People were talking about ARC-bound planners - they're not spiral so everything is easily movable,
and they lay flat when open and when closed unlike the binder system. What? I can add folders and pages where I need them? I thought I should try this out. Enter the last blog I read in which the writer mentioned Hobby Lobby and a 40% coupon...they had me at savings. Oh, did they have me.

my business plan is right behind this folder
I bought the Me & My Big Ideas Happy Planner (with a 40% coupon at Hobby Lobby it was $12). I added a selection of folders (4), additional note/graph paper and larger ARC rings. All told my haul was $25 with shipping (because our nearest Hobby Lobby is a 45 minute drive).

What I love: The Organization. I set up my planner with my business plan at the very beginning. In my business plan are the books I already have contracted for 2016 (there are 4 so far, gah!), daily/weekly/monthly writing goals, a few books I want to read on craft and other business-y things, the conferences/book events I want to attend and our big family vacation over spring break. I included our family vacation because it's going to take a solid 10 day chunk of writing time out of my schedule, I have to prepare for that. I also included a list of new books that are coming out from my favorite authors and the time I volunteer at my daughter's school because these are 'me time' things that I don't want to get lost in the shuffle.

After my business plan, I put in a folder for personal plans - more details about our vacation, some
important dates that are coming up, things I want to work on in my personal life, fitness plan, that kind of thing.

The Calendar options! The calendar part is next; it is set up with the date at the top and a morning/afternoon/night 'box' to pencil in appointments/activities and it's my favorite. Plenty of room! There is also a notes column where I can write down inspirational quotes or grocery lists or just doodle. Oh! And at the beginning of each month is an at-a-glance whole month calendar and a separate page for important deadlines/dates/whatever so with a quick glance I can see the major things that are going on.

The folders! I love this solution as opposed to my old stick-a-post-it-somewhere, hoping I don't lose it. I have folders now for story ideas, promotion, blog/newsletter ideas and a coming-up-next year folder for important things in 2017. See? Organization, yo! I have a place for all those extraneous papers, notes, business cards and they won't get lost!

The size:  This planner is a smidge larger than my older EC planners at almost 10x7, but it's still very versatile. It fits well in both my handbag and my larger totes. It uses standard A5 paper/folders, so I can get refills at any office supply store for cheap next year.

What I'm Not In Love With: ARC makes me a little nervous. Okay, now that I've gone on about how great it is to be able to add folders and move things around simply, the one thing I'm not positive about is the ARC system itself. Being a disc-bound system means the pages are free-flowing, so they 'attach' to the disc, but the paper doesn't go fully around the wires/discs/binder connector thingies like a spiral bound or three-hole-punch binder paper would. So, I'm a little nervous about pages falling out, even though I've been told that it's very safe. From organizing it all I've seen how sturdy the pages/folders attach, still, it's something I'm not 100% familiar with so...wait and see.

I bought the 2015/2016 planner so I'm going to play with the Sept/Oct/Nov/Dec pages to see what works for me and what doesn't as far as daily planning, but so far I am really enjoying it.

Are you a planner person? What system works for you?