On Planners

I accompanied a coworker to the big Mega Store next door (which I will not name because I would rather not acknowledge that I went to this establishment) to peruse, among other things, a new planner. She really wanted to get a new one, and I was all too happy to join her. After all, I absolutely adore paper products.

When I was in seventh grade, I asked for a planner for Christmas. I’m absolutely serious. That year, I received a cobalt blue classic-size Day Runner. It was a beautiful thing. Of course, as I was in the seventh grade, I wasn’t fully able to use most of the segments that came with it (mileage? expense reports? meeting notes?), so it was basically a very fancy calendar and address book. By the time I got to college, though, my planner (no longer the cobalt blue Day Runner, though) had morphed into a beautiful, color-coded, highly functional, well, planner.

My planners and the way I used them changed with each job. At my very first job after college, I was a media buyer, so the best planner for me was a giant wall calendar onto which I could write all my due dates (color-coded by account, of course). When I moved into ad sales, I returned to the traditional classic planner. Then I was a market research assistant by day and working towards my MBA by night, so a smaller compact-size planner (that easily fit into my backpack) served me better. But a paper planner was completely useless when I was a retail manager, so I got a Palm Pilot, which also served me well when I worked with Vendor Relations.

(Yeah, I traveled a couple of different paths to get where I am today.)

So, now I’m an analyst with multiple deadlines each week (usually several in a day) and a mother to an active toddler. Over the past 18 months, I’ve discovered the best system for me is a combination of Outlook on my computer (on which I keep track of all my recurring tasks), a spiral notebook into which I jot notes from meetings and craft my weekly Must Do lists, and a portable (read: smallish) paper calendar that I can use to jot notes about appointments, playdates, travel arrangements, and other personal details.

Mom's Plan-It 2008 Softcover Engagement Calendar
As it’s the end of the year, my current calendar is close to becoming useless (go figure). Now, I really like my calendar. It’s a planner designed for moms, which is to say that it came with all kinds of cute stickers that would be completely out of place in a grown-up calendar. And since I love decorating my pages with stickers, this was great!

Except, it starts in August and ends in December of the following year. All of them do. Why the hell would I start a new calendar in the middle of one year when there are still plenty of other calendar pages left in my old calendar?

[sigh]

Anyway, when I went with my coworker to look at planners today, I was also looking for my own purposes. There was one planner that was absolutely adorable. It was a pink binder that snapped shut with a pretty silver clasp, and it wasn’t packed with a bunch of superfluous nonsense (like expense report stuff). I really, really liked it.

Now, I still have my old planner binders. One is a classic size and zips shut; the other is a compact size that snaps shut. Both are black and certainly not as attractive as the pretty pink binder with the silver clasp. The calendar refills that I needed were about $10; the pretty pink binder would only be another $17.

And yet, I put it back on the shelf, walking out with only the calendar refill pages. After all, the economy sucks, I really need to start watching my pennies, and, well, $17 can get me a super-jumbo pack of Pampers (after coupons, of course). Besides, what kind of example would I be setting for my son if I casually discard perfectly good items for no reason other than wanting a different color?

Oh, but it’s such a pretty shade of pink!

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