In which I unveil my Personal Planner

Three years ago I was broke, and in desperate need of a day planner. For a crafty girl like me, that’s not an obstacle – it’s a Gauntlet of Challenge thrown down on the table. I rose to the occasion, hand drawing a monthly calendar and a week-at-a-glance … and thus a tradition was born. I’ve handmade my planners ever since.

As time went by, I started realizing my needs were changing. I was taking on more and more of the housekeeping, and the tasks to keep my business running kept snowballing. A simple weekly calendar was no longer going to cut it, but I wasn’t sure what else I could do. So for a time, everything in my life suffered – I constantly felt behind, and because I had very few concrete goals for my business, I made very few stock items and even fewer sales.

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So I began to research. Pinterest made it easy – there are bloggers so Fanatic about personal organization that their blogs practically read like porn. It. Was. Delicious. I started really trying to figure out what aspects of my life needed to be whipped into shape, and researched tools and methods to do so. I loved the myriad “binder systems” I read about, so I brainstormed and planned.  It didn’t take much time at all to notice a pattern – the three main areas of my life that needed some Discipline were …

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50 Shades of Organization:
+ My house binder contains: family budget & bill worksheets; monthly/weekly/yearly Home maintenance projects; family chore delegation; and is being expanded to include our favourite local to-go menus, and our list of home repair companies at a glance.
+ My business binder contains: blog post outlines, brainstorms, and rough drafts; stock ideas and product sketches; inventory tracking worksheets; local craft fairs and dates; and my various To Do lists in preparation for those.
+ My personal planner binder contains: monthly calendars; week-at-a-glance pages; an editorial calendar for my blog; and a monthly list of my social media goals.

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In my many hours of research, I came across tons of printable worksheets – if you can imagine it, there’s a worksheet of it. (Kind of like Rule 34 of the internet, actually…). Since I have a deathwish always like to learn new things, I downloaded a freeware Publishing software called Scribus, and taught myself to make my own. I really like how I was able to strike a balance between structure and flexibility – for instance, my editorial calendar can include both scheduled posts, as well as blog-topic brainstorms. As long as I write in pencil, I can rearrange things once they’re actually written or posted.

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Personal Organization is a process, not a destination. I’ve accepted that I’ll never be as anal-retentive as Monica Gheller from Friends, but my various tools help me get a handle on the creative chaos that sometimes seems to rule my life. And that’s a nice feeling.

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What tools do you use to keep yourself on track? I’d love to see pictures, or hear about your favourite techniques!

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