Do I Need a 2017 Planner?

September 12, 2016

That particular question has been on my mind lately.  Usually, by this point, I've already picked out exactly what I want for the next year.  Possibly even ordered it already.  This is the time for new year planners, after all.  The rush to get academic year planners is over, so now it's time for the new year ones.  Since I'm many years removed from school (I graduated law school in 2010 and have no intentions of going back to school for anything ever again), I like to get the planners that run January - December.  And although I have my top pick in mind if I were going to get one for 2017, the fact remains that I haven't ordered it yet because I don't think I need it.  Say what now? Yep, you heard me.


The main problem I'm facing is that I really enjoy minimalism and simplifying everything in my life; that most definitely includes my schedule.  I'm not just talking about not having the clutter of a planner and pens around, or not having to take the time to write things out in the planner, though I do see those things as upsides.  I mean that I actually love not having tons of activities and events planned!  So I question whether I even need a calendar at all for this aspect.  I say 'no' to as many things as I possibly can.  In October, for example, I currently have just two things planned.  One of which is my own Halloween party.  I much prefer to figure out my weekend as it comes, based on how I'm feeling, rather than try to juggle things or cancel at the last minute.  (Plus, let's be honest, it's fall, and my weekends have time for nothing but football.)  And you know from my schedule that I don't like planning things on the weekdays right now, nor do I feel the need to write down what I do on weekdays (beyond what I did for that post, of course) because it's such routine that I just don't need to.

When it comes to other things I'd normally put in a paper planner, it seems that I've automated as much as possible - all payments are auto-drafted, birthdays and anniversaries have been placed in Google calendar from now until eternity with a reminder to be emailed to me the week before, and I have reminders to give Hawkeye her flea and heart worm meds every month.  Which brings me to a 3rd issue beyond just routine and automation:  I'm getting quite good at digital methods of keeping track of things.  This shocks me as much as it shocks you, longtime readers out there.  I've always been a big lover of putting pen to paper when it comes to planning things out, but lately I've been a bigger lover of putting finger tips to keyboard and keeping everything in my Google calendar.  The Google calendar is always there, because I'm either signed into Gmail while at work, or I have my phone on me, which automatically syncs with that same calendar.  When I schedule a doctor's appointment, I put it in my calendar on my phone before I even walk away from the receptionist's desk, because I've never carried my planner with me.  Getting a full planner for social things and appointments, which I'd be sitting down to transfer from my online calendar into the planner anyway, seems silly.  I even keep my running to do list and shopping list on the Reminders section of my phone.

When it comes down to it, the only things I'd really be putting in a planner would be related to blogging and meal planning.  I generally just write out the meals we're going to have (I can do an entire post on how I meal plan, if anyone finds that potentially interesting) and I make a shopping list on my phone before hitting the grocery store on Sundays.  I don't see a reason why I couldn't just write these meal ideas in my Google calendar as well; we keep it simple.  As far as blogging, I've already mentioned a desire to simplify it and not do much with social media.  So when it comes to what's left, the actual posts, I think I could just write the topic in the same online calendar and be done.

All this to say that as people are getting more into planners, I'm getting away from them.  Is that weird?  Do you really need a day planner when you try to live as simply and minimally as possible?  I don't think I do.  I think this will be the year where I embrace not owning a paper planner.  Insert collective gasp here.

However.  They're just so damn pretty.  It's hard to stop myself from looking and from wanting one.  I bet you're wondering which one I was talking about when I said I have a top pick in mind, if I were going to bite the bullet and order one this year.  It would be the Emily Ley Daily Simplified Planner.  And no, not just because it says 'simplified' in the name.  I love the way it's set up.  I love the daily pages, even though that's probably overkill for my life, because as much as the Google calendar is suiting my needs right now, there is literally no feeling you can get digitally that compares to that of crossing an item off a paper to do list.  It's so damn satisfying.  Is that feeling worth dropping $60+ on a planner?  Alas, no.  Is that feeling worth the time I would take writing out daily routines that I don't need to write out to remember, just to cross them off?  Also no.  So me actually getting this planner would be solely to enjoy the process of writing stuff down as opposed to actually using the planner out of necessity.  (Though I've seen planner pics on Instagram with things written like 'binge watch Scandal' and while I totally feel you, I cannot write those things in my own planner.  It's bad enough that I do them, without needing written proof of it.  Netflix is judgy enough all the 'are you still watching after 17 episodes of Young & Hungry?' Yeah I fucking am, Netflix, settle down.) And I just can't spend the money on something I don't think I really need.  Never hold me to this though, because it's taking all my willpower not to buy a planner.  For the first time since I was, like, 9.
Now, I can't very well leave you this year still wondering about planners.  I have, after all, been planner queen in the past.  So I rounded up a few of my loves who are still paper planner gurus through and through and had them share some of their links to the planners they've discussed on their blogs.  It should help you get a real feel for the types of planners out there, and just how far you could take the planner craze.  (Ahem.  Kathy.  Looking at you.)  But never fall into the trap of thinking that buying a planner will suddenly make you a more organized person.  Or that spending a lot of money on a planner will suddenly make you use it, even though you've never stuck with one before. That never, ever works, I promise you.  That said, here are fellow planner fans who really know what's up:

Kathy has a go hard or go home attitude about all things in life, and planners are no different.  She goes whole hog with stickers and washi type, even using her own print outs.  She has a post on the Plum Paper, one on her new medium Kikki K, and then just last week posted about binder systems versus ring bound systems.  If you want to know about planners from someone who's had a wide variety, she's your girl.

Michael aka '#PlannerNerd'
Michael first fell out of the Erin Condren planner tree and hit every branch on the way down.  Search the hashtag PlannerNerd on Instagram and I'm fairly certain you'll see her desk.  She bit the bullet and bought an EC back in 2015 and has been hooked on planning ever since.  Take a look inside and let her tell you about her special pens.  Though those aren't the only supplies she loves.  After the EC planner, she too picked up a Kikki K.

Steph aka 'The System Works if You Work It'
Steph is take charge and no frills with it comes to planning.  She hasn't gone the decorative route like Kathy and Michael, but she knows the value of a good planner and isn't afraid to spend on something she uses so much.  She has a post on her original Erin Condren, which she followed up with one on the Plum Paper.  Now she's on a system of a purse size planner with notebooks.  She loves a paper planner, but she'll be the first to tell you that you need it to work for you - and certainly no one is going to come in and finish your to do list for you.

Samantha aka 'The Creative'
Samantha first posted about her passion planner but after graduating college, she fully embraced the bullet journal as an outlet for creativity.  Heck I might have too if I had her handwriting!  It's the ultimate outlet for a planner with no rules - you truly draw up each month and day as you see fit, tracking whatever you desire from appointments to work outs to practicing handwriting.

That was quite a post.  So, where do you stand on the planner spectrum for 2017?  Going all in like Kathy and Michael?  Bullet journal like Samantha?  No planner at all (or at least, only a digital calendar) like me?  Somewhere in between like Steph?  I'm curious to see how the rest of the world is feeling about planners lately.

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