Monday, September 29, 2014

Time to put your big girl panties on and get organized.

It might not come as any big surprise to anyone but I am not really a big planner.  It's true.

I usually am a day late and a dollar short for everything.  I have great ideas but I suck at planning them out.  On top of that, I am forgetful.  Both of those are bad alone but together, I'm amazed we ever get anywhere we are ever supposed to be.

With life now getting more and more hectic as Bean gets older and involved in more activities, the time has come for me to pull on my big girl panties and get us organized.

My first step is to get myself a daily planner so that I will have one spot where I can write down everything we have scheduled.  Writing something on a post-it, putting something else on my phone's calendar, or just expecting myself to remember it all no longer works - not that it ever really did.

I started looking around for a planner/calendar that would work for me.  It had to be something that was a) cute and b) something I would continue to carry around.  I've bought tons of calendars before and somehow none of them ever stuck.  I would go back to using my phone or switch purses and not bother to transfer the calendar too. I also really had no idea what I wanted as far as types of calendars, project pages, whatnot.   Pinterest was consulted.  I also joined some Facebook groups and got ideas from other ladies on what they used or looked for in a planner.

There are a lot of cute ones out there.  Unfortunately, it seemed that "cute" usually ran to the cost of about $50 or so.  That ain't that cute really - not in my pocketbook's world.

Then I had a problem with missing a payment on a work invoice.  I handle the bills for three entities at work and juggling all of that is a full time job.  Oh yeah.  That's why I work there.  Anyhoo...I made a mistake and knew that it would probably serve me well to finally institute a full time planner at work, too.

But then do I have one planner for both work and personal, or do I separate it all?  I began with the train of thought that I should separate but now I am thinking

this is my life 

- all of it.  So I might as well put everything together and not stress myself out more with having to juggle two separate calendars for 7 people (work and home life).

I got a ton of great ideas from my Facebook groups so I began my search.  First, let me say that trying to find a planner in September is probably not the best way to start.  There are hardly any left in the stores and it's hard to get a "vibe" from looking online.  I also knew that even with my bosses footing the bill, I could not justify spending $50 or even $80 for some Filofax planner.

"You see, Sir, since I am such an airhead,
I had to charge a $90 calendar to the company card 
in hopes that I won't be late on any more of your payments."

That probably would not fly in this office's airspace, if you get my drift.  I have learned at least one thing in the past 17 years here and that is the less explaining I have to do, the better off I am.  So no.  No Filofax for me.

I found this ARC customizable planner at Staples.

Of course, it's PINK.  What did you think it would be?

There is a group on FB exclusively for ARC users. At first, I was not sure about this system.  You can buy refillable packets of different kinds of paper - calendar (they are out of these right now), planner pages, project pages, etc.  You can "grow" your planner with these different size discs, too.  The drawback is if you want to add your own planner pages you make or find online, you have to buy a special paper punch that will make the right type of notches that will work with the discs.  That thing is huge and costs over $40!  And you don't really have any other use for it.  This is my biggest reservation about this whole system. I don't need one more do-hickey cluttering up my office.

I have "prettied" up some of my pages with highlighters, colorful tabs and washi tape but for the most part, the ARC pages are pretty boring.  That's coming from someone that wants bright colors slapped on everything so if you tend to like more sedated looks, you'll be fine.

This planner system is not too pricey either.  The binder cover was marked down to $11.24, the page refills run in the $4 range, and the discs are in the $3-4 range, too.  Now since my binder was marked down to a final price, that worries me.  Will I be able to find ARC supplies in the future?

Again, the planner pages are pretty bare, not only in color but also in what it gives you as far as recording information.  The calendar I was able to get is blank and only has space for a few lines of daily information.

I also found a Day Timer reversible planner for 2015 that was $15.50 through Capital Office Supplies. Again, it's PINK.  Yes, another pink planner.  Don't be shocked.

I went ahead and ordered this one just to see it in person.  It looks a lot more professional than the ARC, but I do understand that pink patented leather never really looks professional to begin with, or at least not in the profession you want people to talk about.  I also really love the pages of the calendar.  There is a space for appointments, journaling, to-do lists and expenses.  It is a small print space but it's there.  There is also a separate section for monthly priorities like birthdays or projects, and a notes section, an address book and a plastic receipts or paper holder in the back.


So it's still undetermined which one will win out but I think I have two very good contenders to try out.