Why do I plan? Why do I plan on paper? Why do I use the type of planner I use? Questions I have asked myself repeatedly since starting my own business, and I thought it was as good a place as any to begin my blog.
I had my third baby in January 2016, and life became infinitely busier. With two other children, one just about to start primary school and one playschool getting by was not going to hold things together much longer. I lived in a house that looked to anyone visiting tidy and relatively clean, but every available hidden space, drawer and empty jar was choc full of “stuff”. Panic and mayhem would ensue every time we would need to find something that we hadn’t seen for a while. My then 2 year old lost the car keys one day, after months looking for them we eventually gave up and ordered a new set as we were too nervous with only one set of keys … just in case it happened again. The day before we collected the new set we found the original keys stuffed in a travel cot that we weren’t using – too late to cancel order – lesson learned for €250!!! Let’s not even start talking about the piles of kids clothes (grown out of, to grown into, to donate, to give away) stuffed into bags and shoved anywhere we could get space.
I remembered my days of control, my days when I knew what I was doing, when I had a plan, when I got stuff done, when I was working full time, with no small people to mind. I found one of my old Filofaxes, Ironically the last one I owned; the year I got married. Why I felt I didn’t need to plan so much after I got married I’ll never know. Maybe it was with rose tinted glasses, but looking through my appointments, to do’s and action items; I thought there’s my answer, I need to start planning again.
I had a few failed attempts since becoming a mother, with various apps on my phone. It was something I had on hand all the time, surely there was something that would help me get organised. Strangely a lot of the home cleaning routine apps had lots of bible reading and scripture studies tasks. I’m a catholic, and with an emphasis on Irish Catholic at that, so let’s be honest that kinda thing does not feature in our lives. I downloaded, tired for a while, and gave up/forgot about loads, they never seemed to tick all the boxes, and they were impersonal and easily forgotten about, a little swipe and that reminder was gone forever.
Then came my new guilty pleasure, YouTube cleaning videos, while sitting on my backside, drinking coffee and feeding my newest little baby I watched power cleaning videos, cleaning tips, cleaning routines, how to keep a clean home, how to keep a clean and organised home. I then bought my first planner in years, I needed to come up with a plan – I felt I couldn’t move forward until I had the basics in control, and that meant decluttering, coming up with a home routine. So I did, pickled together from bits of Konmarie, clutterbug, how jen does it, fly lady and many many others, I wrote out a plan. It took me 5 months, I was doing it right – initial plan was 3 months but it was a learning curve. I decluttered and organised my house as best I could. The relief, the weight lifted, the house feels lighter – not saying its spotless or anything but its way better and easier now.
I got the bug, what else could I plan for, to organise. Next was budget, let’s get that sorted, there’s so many little jobs I want to do, places to go with the kids: I needed to budget for these things. I needed another planner as my original one was a diary so no room for extra planning, days out, to do’s, menu planning, capsule wardrobe planning (new thing), Christmas planning, birthday planning, getting all those to do’s, want to’s, would love to’s, the kind of stuff that circulates in your head when you’re trying to go asleep, down on paper. Not an app, apps are not the same for this sort of thing.
I had a problem, I had a pile of notebooks and diaries going at the same time, it was too complicated and I started to lose focus again. I needed a system that kept everything together and worked for me. I started looking for a planner, new obsession planner YouTube videos. At this point I’m going to skip through quickly as I’m not out to slag other types of planners, and start sounding like an infomercial. Suffice to say, I stuck with the Filofax type ring bound planner that gave me the flexibility I needed. Do your own research and figure out what type of planner meets your needs.
I wanted a pretty one, that did the job, but they were impossible to find here in Ireland. The home of the planner at the moment is definitely the USA. There seems to be a real renaissance in paper planning, with a huge craft type of following with people decorating their planners with stickers and accessories. The crafty, decorating side of things would not be so popular here, but there was a gap in the market for planners that were functional and beautiful. I found the Simple Stories Carpe Diem Planners on line initially but struggled to find a way of getting my hands on one without paying huge shipment costs from the USA. A business idea was born… I’ll say no more
My planner and me
I use my planner all the time, it holds my life, big enough for everything. I use it for planning the day to day, reminders of things in the future, and a bucket to catch all the random thoughts and idea that pop into my head so they are not running around my head when they shouldn’t be. It allows me to relax because everything I need to remember is there. It’s big enough that I can’t lose it, and I can customise it to my heart’s content, popping in and out paper and dividers as my plans and focus change. I don’t have to worry about dropping it in the loo (or someone else), dropping it and breaking it (or someone else), or it being robbed (obviously by someone else). I can plan my weeks, weekly and I’m not constrained by a set layout or schedule, each week looks completely different because it is, that’s life. And at the end of the year I will be able to get new inserts start a brand new years and file my old ones, to look back at in years to come, and remember just how crazy my life was, with three small children.
My Facebook Business Page is under Paper Ink Planners – Ireland, and I am on Instagram under Paper Ink Planner – love some extra likes and followers and you can contact me if you are interested in getting your own planner.