I’m ridiculously excited about this post. It all began with the brain fog I experienced this summer. The low-key fun of our unscheduled days started out feeling spontaneous and relaxing, but ended up feeling just plain confusing. It turns out I really need to stay on top of my life even when it’s supposed to be the season of going with the flow.
Well thankfully, creative planning has become a thing, not just for lots of ladies around the country, but for ME too. I’m a newbie myself, but here’s everything I think you may want to know if you’re interested in starting out too.
Why Planning is Pretty Awesome
Here’s what I love about it:
- It’s functional and helpful to have one place for scheduling your life, taking down important notes, and making lists. Because I’d write things down in different places, sometimes putting things in my phone, I was often confused about where things were or when things were. Trying to go all e-calendar did not work for me, especially because I find myself naturally writing things down and I love to see the big picture all at once. Having control of how my schedule looks is huge for me.
- It’s a creative outlet that’s only at “artsy” as you want it to be. I was always big into stickers as a kid, and now I get to let my inner elementary schooler loose! I also love to doodle, so that’s helpful too. Even if you don’t feel all that creative, don’t be intimidated! If you enjoy things like pretty washi tape and colorful pens, you’ll be just fine.
- These planners are designed for you to customize them to your needs. The sky is the limit with what you can do with a planner. Use them to plan as well as to do a bit of journaling (like writing down the funny thing your kid just said), tracking your fitness goals, recording your verse of the month, and the TV show you’re binge watching. You can get a custom paper punch and throw in the birthday card from your mom, and the cute picture your kid drew. Me And My Big Ideas (MAMBI) planners are made so you can safely pull out the pages. That way, you can write in what you need to and decorate easily, as well as move pages around if necessary. I’ve already removed the last six months of the year from my planner to keep it from feeling bulky. When it comes to customizing, you can do a lot or a little.
- A planner that I design myself helps motivate me to use it. Instead of glancing at a blah calendar on my phone, I now look forward to sitting down with my planner and taking a few minutes to write out my schedule for the week, plus a few fun extras, and dive into my stickers! 😀 I not only love creating my weekly layouts, I love looking at them, and that means I’m going to stay on top of my schedule.
- At the end of your year, you have a keepsake that will serve as a reminder of what life was like for you and your family. But it’s a low-pressure “keepsake” because it’s functional and not, you know, the ONLY way you’re going to document and remember your wedding, for example. (umm…that scrapbook of mine is still unfinished, 15 years later.)
So if that sound intriguing, here’s how you can get creative with planning!
How to Get Started Planning
1. Okay, so you’ll need a blank planner. One that allows for decoration!
I got my planner on Me and My Big Ideas Website, but you can also find them at Michael’s stores and on Amazon. It’s called a Happy Planner, and now I know why. I recommend getting an undated kit, so you can jump in any time, and because it comes with supplies to get you started. (But not enough supplies for an entire year!)
One thing I love about MAMBI Happy Planners is the price point! I happened to grab my faith planner on sale and only spent $20 on it. You heard me right.
Here’s me and my planner. It’s not like I’m in loooooove.
It’s true that the extras, stickers, and washi tape bring the price up, but there are creative ways around spending an arm and a leg. Here’s how to dig in deeper.
2. Customize Your Planner with Extras
Think about what you want out of your planner, and go from there. You may feel like looking into little sticky notes, folders, or daily sheets to break busy days down by the hour. There’s a little bundle of extras here that people seem to love.
I got some notepaper and sticky sheets, and I’m glad I did. They are helpful, but looking back, I probably could have just grabbed some daily sheets or a paper punch to add whatever I need. I think it’s a good idea to have extra paper for writing down anything and everything that comes to mind. There are also hard plastic dashboards that you can use for holding your sticky notes.
I love that you can grab expansion packs for adding really specific elements to your planner. There’s a budget planner expansion pack, a home management expansion pack, a wedding pack, and a teacher’s accessories pack too!
But don’t worry, you don’t have to get too crazy unless you want to. 🙂
3. Grab some supplies like stickers, stamps, markers/pens, and washi tape.
For stickers, you can’t go wrong with a value pack. They are, like the name suggests, a great value for the price, and they are gorgeous!
If you’re looking for yet more stickers, especially tailored ones for different needs, there’s a great alternative to buying branded packs: ETSY! You can find printable stickers for your planner, or pre-printed stickers to get through the mail. They are often very affordable.
Washi is a great way to add designs and color to your planner, and it’s a more affordable way to decorate. Repeat after me: Washi tape does not need to be expensive. You can look for sales, combine coupons, or grab some from Amazon. I got this pack for $15.99, so each roll is about $1.25. Yay!
I’m not a stamp person, but I probably should be. You can find some great options here.
Markers & Pens
I think decorating with colorful markers is also a must. It adds pops of color and is much more affordable than using a sticker for everything! I actually use my kids’ Crayola washable markers. They are very affordable, and they work very well for brush lettering.
When it comes time to write everything out, Happy Planner pens are actually fantastic! Here’s the pack of four black ink pens I purchased–they write like a felty dream.
It’s All About Weekly Layouts
The creamy center of planning is the fact that you can get really detailed. Each day is broken down into columns (either vertical or horizontal) of three, so you can plan your morning, afternoon, and evening for each day. There’s one week per page, and that’s your weekly layout.
I admit I was a little confused about the undated Happy Planner before I got it in hand. All those white pages make it harder to tell what they’re designed for. But I’ve got you covered. Each month has an awesome tabbed page, followed by a monthly view, and then 5 weeks of weekly layout plan pages.
So, you’ll start with a new month and add dates and appointments or ANYTHING you want to the monthly view. Think big picture!
Then, you’ll begin your first weekly layout. Add some decoration and fill it in. Think details!
As you can tell, there are lots of imperfections in my layouts…some of that is because I’m a beginner, and some of that is because I’m not the most precise person in the world. I still think crooked stickers and wrinkled washi tape look fabulous, though. Don’t pressure yourself and just have FUN.
One way I got some fantastic tips and inspiration is by watching a few Plan with Me videos on YouTube. These videos show a planner with awesome design skills go from a completely blank weekly layout to a finished weekly layout, sharing tips along the way. Here’s one of my favorites!
A Tiny Bit About Memory Planning
Memory planning is similar to creative planning, with one very important final step: At the end of each week, you print out some of the photos you took and add them to your planner. Do you know what you’ll have when you’re done? A hybrid journal/planner/scrapbook of awesomeness!
This is a great post about memory planning. If you’re interested in it, start with that one.
I’m not going to memory plan at this stage in my life (especially because I write a blog and have picture books made), but if I were going to, I’d jump on the new memory planners Me and My Big Ideas just came out with. They look pretty amazing!
Wait. Do I have TIME for all this?
The short answer is I think you do. I know that you have time to write down your schedule because it’s something you have to do one way or another. Managing your daily life and tasks takes time, but whether it’s entering details in an app on your phone or writing things down, you’re probably doing some of it already.
Finding time for creative planning has happened for me automatically. Sometimes I sit down and decorate my planner while my kids color–this is my favorite time to plan. I might pull it out for a few minutes after I’m ready for bed, or during the kids’ naps in the afternoon.
One thing that’s great about this hobby is how functional and helpful it is. You’ll compensate for the time you spent planning by remembering more, accomplishing your goals, and staying on target every day. It’s already happened for me.
And that’s proof that planning isn’t for crazy-organized ladies who have it all together. It’s for us. The moms and women who keep forgetting everything and have had it with our feeble brains. Trust me. If your current method of staying on top of your life isn’t working, it’s time to change it up.
You can do it, ladies!
I hope you have a great time getting organized, expressing your creative side, and planning your hearts out.
Linked up with:
Mommy Moments, Inspire Me Monday, One Project at a Time,
Home Organization, Talk Tuesday, Home Matters Party