Bette's Pages Plans
For those of you who have followed my Instagram journey from the beginning, you know that I started off as @bette.plans. A social media account with humble beginnings, I wanted to share my love of paper planners with the world and at that time, I didn't have the time or commitment to work on a blog or anything long-form. I just wanted to take pictures of my stickers and find other people who still used stickers well into their adult lives. And I did! I found over 2000 of you wonderful human beings with whom I share many common interests and hobbies. You watched me transition from a Happy Planner, to a ringed planner, to a Traveler's Notebook (with a longstanding obsession with Foxy Fix in the middle of the way), and somehow back to a Happy Planner. I had the opportunity to experiment with different types of systems, and document all of those along the way! In so doing, I learned a lot about how I plan throughout the process, and as well as my potential and my goals.
Through the revitalized joy I found in sharing my stationery and stickers, I also cast a wary eye on my books. They lay in a disheveled pile on my shelf, my TBR stack mixed with thick texts from college seminars. There couldn't possibly also be a community around... books, could there?
Oh yes, there was! The magical community that is bookstagrammers opened my eyes to how books can be the center of a room, a photo. The hard work that authors put into crafting a novel and designing the cover were showcased in the best forum there was for short-form content. I knew I had to throw my own into the fray!
Managing an photo-heavy Instagram account, an Etsy shop, the inklings of a fantasy novel, and a blog on my downtime is a lot of work. But believe it or not, I relish it. I actually enjoy having my free time filled with things to do, whether it's an outing with a friends, a book I need to finish, or a blog post that I need to write.
How do I keep track of it all? Let me introduce you to the system that works for me. Disclaimer: What I use definitely is not a one-size-fits-all kind of deal. Find the planner system that works for your needs!
I always keep a notebook (or three) in my purse, and they're usually bound together inside a traveler's notebook. A traveler's notebook is basically a piece of leather (or fabric) that holds assorted inserts inside, usually with an elastic. It's meant to protect the paper inserts from damage inside your purse or from the elements. It doesn't necessarily need to be dedicated to traveling (because I wouldn't be able to afford to keep one, then), but the Traveler's Company (formally known as Midori), certainly intended it that way. The leather notebook pictured above is a standard sized notebook (4.25 x 7 inches) from the Traveler's Company. Nowadays, you can find traveler's notebooks or "fauxdoris" from many different small businesses as well. My favorite of those alternatives include Foxy Fix, which offers plenty of colors and customization options to help your note-taking companion reflect your aesthetic. Check out their options!
Inside my traveler's notebook, I have three inserts: Monthly, Weekly, Notes, and a kraft folder as well.
This is a simple monthly insert from Frasizzle Made on Etsy. She has some great pre-made inserts that can be both dated or undated, as well as customizable cover colors. This is a twelve-month insert, with a monthly calendar on two pages. That's pretty much it! I throw high level events and reminders in here and use a color labeling system so that I can see where each event fits into my life. I find monthly inserts really useful when it comes to remembering events that are several months down the road, like Book Con in June!
My main insert is a vertical weekly notebook by the Traveler's Company. You can find this version on Amazon. Each day is printed in hourly blocks, but I decided to forego that structure and just use each block as a "bullet." In this way, I just list out my to-do's for each day and mark them off when they're completed, or move them to the next day if not. Towards the end of each week, I like to decorate my weekly pages with washi tape and stickers, just to give them some color! I know some amazing journalers who decorate their spreads before they write, and I envy those with enough foresight to pull that off!
My last insert is a plain insert, and I take more detailed notes here where they might not have fit in my weekly bullet lists. It's a good way to break down a project I need to complete into even smaller tasks, like putting this blog together and coordinating the rest of my social media accounts!
Where my #PashFam at?! If you haven't heard of the Passion Planner yet, I encourage you to watch this Kickstarter video they put together way back when they were raising funding for the company. It's a comprehensive that planner that not only tracks your to-do's for you, but helps you identify and dissect your passion projects and goals. This is a compact (5.5 x 8.5 inches), dated Passion Planner in Blush. It's currently on sale! [REFERRAL CODE]. I use the Passion Planner exclusively to keep up with my social media accounts and creative pursuits. That includes things like: restocking my Etsy shop, outlining Instagram posts and planning for challenges, and of course, keeping up with my blog schedule!
Last but not least in the paper products that keep me sane is my Happy Planner. I don't "plan," per se, but I document my memories between these pages. Tools of the trade include a Xyron sticker machine for adhering loose mementos and tickets to paper, my Polaroid Zip to print out photos, and plenty of washi tape and decorative stickers. I love flipping through these pages to see my past weeks and months!
And that's what currently works for me! But who knows, I might switch things up in a few months if I find that I need more writing space or more structure. Paper planners are entirely flexible and I advocate them whole-heartedly. Do you keep a planning system? If so, I'd leave to hear about it!