Make Lists, Get Organized and Journal Your Way through 2014 With These Great Planners

Make Lists, Get Organized and Journal Your Way through 2014 With These Great Planners

I am a list lover. (Those of you who remember the old BlogHer List Lovers group will not be surprised.) I make lists every day. Sometimes multiple times a day. I make them on paper. I make them in Evernote. I make them in my head. I am all lists, all of the time.

I'm an art journaler. Or I would be if I didn't have a puppy who ate all of the things and caused all of the things to become piled on my art desk. Oh who am I kidding -- I stopped art journaling before Buster came into my life. BlogHer Conference season began and then my grandson, JMP, arrived and the biggest issue was that I had decided that I wanted to combine my list making with my art journaling and once I realized that's what I wanted to do, that was all I wanted to do. Which would have been great except that I couldn't find a method of combining the two that made sense for me. I decided what I needed was a Filofax.

I blame Lauren Graham for this. Right about the time I had the revelation about list+art journal = perfect world I was listening to Someday, Someday Maybe on audio and the Filofax played a prominent role in that story. A Filofax or some other type of planner was what I needed.

I asked for a Filofax for my birthday -- and got a puppy who eats everything, instead.

I asked for a Filofax for Christmas and was pretty sure that wish would be granted so I was content to wait until Christmas to get started -- until I saw Jenny on the Spot talking about her new planner. That caused me to wonder whether the Filofax was really the right planner for what I wanted to do. So, I went off to research planners.

Image Credit: Jenna Hatfield

I asked my fellow BlogHer staff members for their planner recommendations. I asked the BlogHer section editors for their planner recommendations. I did Google searches. I searched Youtube, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. I am now an expert in planners and will share what I've learned with you, so that you can make an informed decision about which planner you'll want to use in 2014. You do want to organize your life, journal your life, make a lot of lists, get things done, play with washi tape and fun pens, right? Of course you do. So here's what I've learned.

--> The Erin Condren Planner

I considered the Erin Condren planner. It's so pretty! And Jenna, from Stop, Drop and Blog, is a huge fan. If Jenna loves something, it's always worth looking into. And she's right. It's a great planner. You can add your own photos to the cover and end page. It has nice big blocks to write in with lots of room to add notes, too. The pockets, pouches, ruler and stickers are super. This is just a great all-around-planner -- the best of its type that I've ever seen.

I'm not choosing this one for myself because I want more customization options than this planner allows. I want to be able to add pages and remove them. I want the ability to switch to a day per page or use a combination of day per page or week on two pages. I want to be able to insert separate to do lists or notes pages within the same time period and not at the end. There's just not enough flexibility for me. You, on the other hand, might find that this is exactly the planner for you. It wouldn't surprise me one little bit -- check out all of the YouTube videos about the Erin Condren planner.

--> Project Life

The next idea I considered was the Project Life kit. There are tons of people doing Project Life and it looks super interesting and fun.

But, Project Life isn't as much about organization and getting things done as it is about documenting your life. That's something I'm interested in (which is why I want to combine my to do lists with art journaling) but it's not quite right for my needs. There are some great videos about Project Life and you should watch a few of those if you're interested in doing this kind of project.

--> Whitney English Day Designer

The Whitney English Day Designer is the planner that started me thinking about this blog post. It's the planner I saw Jenny on the Spot talking about on Instagram. It's the one that first caused me to re-think my decision to go with a Filofax.

There aren't many videos showing how people use the Whitney English Day Designer but there are a lot of blog posts. Do a search for Whitney English Day Designer and surf some blogs. Here's Whitney, on the floor in her bedroom, showing us how she uses her Day Designer.

This is an amazing planner. The page layout is brilliant. The worksheets in the front to help you build your personal brand -- brilliant idea for bloggers. I've seen some Filofaxers talking about how smart the layout is and how much they like it. I'm in full agreement with them. But, I'm not going to use it because because, again, it's not customizable in the ways that I need it to be.

If you're considering the Erin Condren, take a look at this one before you make your final decision. This might be an even better choice for you.

--> Filofax (or Franklin Covey, Day Runner etc.)

There are dozens of stuffable and customizable planners, Filofax, Franklin Covey, Day Runner, etc., available for those who want the flexibility to add/remove pages, use a variety of layout types, and customize pages. Any multi-ring binder will work in much the same way and you should choose the one that fits your organizational needs and your wallet. There are thousands of blogs, groups, pinterest pages, instagram photos and videos of people using Filofax (and other types of planners) so you can easily find ideas and inspiration when you're setting up your planner. Here's one that I like -- Nadine makes me laugh. A lot. You can skip to about the 10 minute mark if you just want to get to how she's set up her Filofax.

Because you can remove/add pages and change the styles and layouts, you aren't locked into a system that you find isn't quite right for you. That's the beauty of the Filofax type organizer and that's why I'm still sold on this type of planner for 2014 and I can't wait to set mine up. (I've also convinced my partner that she needs a Filofax and after watching this video she's convinced her mom can use one, too. )

Are you using a planner in 2014? What are you hoping to achieve by using a planner?

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