Why Did We Choose Plum Paper Planner? (for D.I.Y. Rock Star Planning)
This blog post is a great accompaniment to Gab & Jam
Ep 150 Goals: Why less is more (for the D.I.Y. Rock Star)
We are so excited to FINALLY be able to take advantage of the Black Friday sale from Plum Paper Planner, where we ordered our third 18-month standard-size planner. We’ve never done a blog post about it—although we have done a couple of unboxings and a couple of “Plan With Me” videos (here’s the playlist: https://bit.ly/goalsplaylistvid )
Plum Paper Planner Unboxing 3.0: https://bit.ly/plumplannerunbox3
Why Plum Paper Planner?
Well, until I create my own D.I.Y. Rock Star Planner—which is in the works-—decided that with all that we have going on right now—the blog, the podcast, the YouTube channel, and the record company—that we needed a base of operations to run it all from. I looked around at the various most popular custom planners and ended up liking what I saw when I checked out the Plum Paper Planner website. —No, this is NOT a sponsored post; I am just sharing, because when I was looking, it was these kinds of posts helped me be able to choose between all the many planning methods and choose specific options.
2019 Plan With Me video: http://bit.ly/planwithmedos
How the planner habit got started….
As you will see if you look at our first unboxing video (http://bit.ly/plumpaperunbox1 ), I started with some really tiny planner I picked up at Walmart before I took up the arduous task to research what the options were out here in these streets. —Oh, and also to be prepared to pony up the large amount of cash to get this customized planner (which has ranged from $60 to $75 each year, depending on the options I chose).
Why did we choose a customized planner?
It’s a fair question to ask why I might choose a custom planning system versus just finding one that can be more budget-friendly and that I do not have to sit by the mailbox and wait for to be delivered? Frankly, once I started looking at pre-made planner systems—like Franklin Covey—and start adding up what it costs to buy the binder and the refills, I have already spent nearly $70. It seemed more exciting, more usable, and more effective to choose the options that we were most interested in and leave all the others behind. So that’s what we did. And each year, we have chosen something slightly different (as you will see in the video; http://bit.ly/planwithmedos ).
This time, I chose what I am calling the “goal-oriented” page layout. It has space on the page for 2 major priorities for each day, an empty block for note-taking, and something like a habit taker for each week. This is the first I have seen this, I think, and we are at a different place in our creative enterprises, so I knew that we needed something different than the last 2 times. —To be COMPLETELY honest, the first time out (in 2018-2019 edition), I didn’t have a clue what we wanted/needed, so I just ordered without TOO much thought to the weekly configuration and it didn’t help that I could not look at the thing in-person and flip through the pages to ACTUALLY see what I liked and didn’t, so I chose what I thought was best; the weekly configuration. When it arrived and it had absolutely NO lines WITHIN the week, I already knew I had messed up. 😳 But it was too late by then (and so you will see (at this time stamp in the video https://youtu.be/g3YrCO-udr0?t=98 ), that I went to a coffee shop with a ruler and a pen and drew in all the blocks for the days of the week. 🙄 It took hours and looked ugly, but what was I gonna do? It was my own fault that I ordered a custom calendar with the wrong customization! 🤷🏽♀️😳
Layout options (similar to last one; http://bit.ly/planwithmedos )
What do you do when you know you’ve messed up?
So, I just had to make it work and that did make it function better, but as you can imagine, for a colorful and creative person, this hurried, raggedy looking week was NO a joy to use. 📝 That’s why, in the second iteration (2019-2020), I was SURE to select the interior that was labeled and lined with the days of the week. (And I have been pretty happy with that.) However, even then, I would write my 5 major goals right at the top edge of my page each week and then figure out which day I would tackle each within the week. So, when I was looking through all the possibilities for interiors—and this time, I really did stop to look at ALL of them a couple of times, actually—I saw the configuration that I ordered this time, which has a space for 2 priorities for each week day and a spot for listing weekly priorities at the top of the page, which seems pretty perfect.
Here was the first Plum Paper Planning unboxing: http://bit.ly/plumpaperunbox1
What I didn’t find, but wanted, is a one-page, simple income and expenses ledger anywhere in their customizations. —When they had budget enhancements, they either were so complicated that didn’t even understand how to use them or they were a section unto themselves or, in the case of the “budget-oriented” variety of planner that they sell, finances dominate every page and EVERY section! 😳🤷🏽♀️ —What I was looking for was something super simple to be able to write in the few transactions we have a month. What I ended up doing was researching a solution—and I could not find one that was exactly right—so I created my own. I was able to make it cute, the right size for the planner, and that contained only the fields that are important to use now. (If you would like a download of it, click here.) So, right after the unboxing, I took time out to print them, cut them, and paste them into the months of the new planner.
Because we took advantage of the Black Friday special, not only was everything 30% off, but a free gift of planning stickers were thrown in (see Unboxing video timestamp here: https://youtu.be/AifyBM7i0mw?t=168 ). This was a nice bonus, because while I have been very curious about their stickers, I would have NEVER have ponied up the cash to throw it in the cart. —While I am a sticker whore, I tend to get mine from the dollar section of Target or on sale a Meijer; I would NEVER spring for premium planner stickers, because I buy so many stickers, so often, for so many other purposes. —So, it IS nice to be able to try them without paying extra for them.
They have some of these stickers that have some that have inspirational quotes, some that denote the activities that you can identify with them, and—something I’ve NEVER tried—habit tracking stickers (where instead using an X to indicate that you’ve done something for a day—or a series of days— you can put a colored dot, etc.) —You know what, I AM going to try these, because they just look like pure fun! 🥳🙃
Another extra that I ordered—probably BECAUSE everything was 30% off— is what they call a “dashboard.” It’s a coated piece of cardboard that you can move from place to place in your planner to remind you where to flip to. It also has the ability to take dry erase markers, so that you can jot down ideas for your week on it.
I couldn’t help it; I took the opportunity to stop by our local, major craft store, and picked up some third-party planner stickers. I ended up with two packs washi flakes by Park Lane Paperie (the super hero 🦸♂️ and the unicorn 🦄 packs), Day-to-Day stickers from Maggie Holmes, and some stickers from Yoobi.
I have never used any stickers throughout my planner—I only use them on the monthly cover and on the monthly thread. I am hoping to enjoy the planning process better, so this is my way of finding my zen and fun in it. 😬🙃
How am I using the stickers in the planner?
Okay, so there are a few things that we’ve been tracking lately in our planner and they are:
Gab & Jam episodes
Newsletter start and finish dates
Newsletter email sent dates
Snail mail Sugar Fit promotion sent
Sugar Fit email promotions sent
Blog posts published
Top three monthly goals
Monthly business-related income and expenses (new)
Ancillary business items (like press received, website blog updates, photo/video shoots, etc.)
This is really a new experience for me to use stickers functionally. —Usually, I use them to decorate the monthly divider tab, so that it is inspiring and looks ready for the Instagram post that I have been doing fairly regularly (http://www.instagram.com/bloomingprejippie ). —However, this time, I am going to use them to mark where the major, preplanned monthly activities fall.
Tracking Our Mojo…
So, for the next 18 months, I have used coordinating, themed stickers to indicate the days we publish our Gab & Jam episodes (podcast), what we call Mojo Monday. Though we record our episodes (and edit them) on Sundays, our due by date is Monday, so now, instead of having to pencil that in, as I had for that 18 months, the sticker shows where they fall. So, that’s like THE major activities that we track.
Tracking helps with….
The next major activity that I track is when I should be starting to write our monthly newsletter (https://bit.ly/jan2021diyrockstar ) and when I should finish up the email and get it ready to ship. —Again, instead of hand-writing it in, there are coordinating stickers that remind me to do those things.
Of course, I will still need to handwrite some of the details related to these events, but at least it’s easy to know that something is supposed to happen—or has happened—by quickly glancing at the monthly page. This way, when it is time to update our newsletter post for the month, I don’t lose track of the items to add into the post.
Gab & Jam Ep 139 3 Unusual Ways to Make Your Art More Attractive
We look at using a planner as a way to shape where we choose to spend our time (which is ideally in search of the following aims):
1. Guide our time (to support your vision)
2. Track our progress (for newsletter and for habit tracking)
3. To help visually chunk out time (without it, time seems big and amorphous and we can get lost in the daily living)
4. To track our income and expenses (as this is empowering and has been neglected for too long)
Those are the reasons that we choose Plum Paper Planner over anything we have used previously. If you have any questions, we’d be happy to answer them relative to our experience.
(Here’s the playlist: https://bit.ly/goalsplaylistvid )
What planning method do you use?
How have you come to use this planning method?
We’d love to hear about it.
Leave it in the comments below.
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