Me and Planners

So I’ve been wanting to make a post about myself and the way I go about trying to find and use a planner.

So about me. My early life was mostly analog. We did have a Commodore 64, Amiga, IBM 386 and 486, etc. It wasn’t until around junior high to high school that online became a thing with Bulletin Board Systems (BBSes) and then the Internet when I was in college. So I kinda feel like a cusp generation. Part of me in analog and part of me in digital.

As far as planners go I’m mostly analog while using stuff like Google Calendar, Google reminders, and various apps. I have dabbled here and there into digital planning but not too far. I’ve also looked into and done some Bullet Journaling, however, the problem with this is having the time to set it up, and having problems with future planning.

So I’m going to talk about regular paper dated planners.

There are some things I want in a planner.

  • Be fountain pen friendly
    Since getting into fountain pens I tend to lean more into good quality paper that can handle fountain pen ink.
  • Minimal ghosting (Seeing what you wrote through the paper.)
    If I’m journaling I don’t mind ghosting too much. When it comes to planning I really don’t like ghosting at all. I want to be able to clearly see appointments I’ve written out.
  • Large enough to write in
    I prefer an A5 size or larger. I need to have enough space to write in the monthly blocks along with the weekly lines. I can only write so small before the letters bunch together.
  • Monday start
    My work is Monday through Friday and through using asian planners the past couple of years I’ve come accustomed to the Monday start to the week. It nicely puts my weekend together in one chunk. Visually it just works better for me.
  • No half-sized days in the monthly calendar
    You know those months that begin on the last day of the week, and so it adds an additional week to the end of the monthly calendar? Well, some planners cut the size of that last row of days in half. I don’t like that. I want a full box to write in.
  • 2 page spread for each month.
    This goes with a previous point, I need enough room to write in. A month only on one page does not give me that room.
  • Vertical weekly layout
    I tried the Hobonichi weeks, and seeing the week horizontal on one side didn’t seem to visually work for me. I prefer a left to right broad glance at the week to see blocks of time that are taken and blocks that are free.
    Also since I work 6-3, I prefer a vertical layout with hours that more closely match my schedule. Starting at 9 am won’t work as I have meetings at 8 am. Timelines going to really late at night don’t work because I get up really early in the day.
    In the past, I didn’t really use hourly marked weekdays. Then this year got filled with tons of meetings and so I needed to see my availability a lot clearer.
  • No daily or minimal daily pages
    I just don’t have enough things to do on each day that would require devoting an entire page to each day. I tried full-page daily with the Hobonichi Avec (2nd book – bought late in the year) and daily pages just went unused.
  • Portable if possible
    I like to have a planner on me wherever I go. If I have to schedule an appointment, or quickly jot in a meeting time, I can grab the planner, open it quickly, and put the information in. I can also see just as quickly what my availability is at a glance. Google calendar (mobile) never really works for me for properly seeing my availability.

And it’s from all this that I will be posting about each planner I am going to try in 2021 and see how well they work for me. Since I have some days that I work from home, and some that I am working on site, 1 planner will stay at home, 1 planner will stay at work, and 1 planner will go back and forth with me. This way I will always have a planner on hand to reference, and I will hopefully be able to dedicate enough time to each planner to see which one works best as 2021 progresses. Maybe one of these days I will find the 1 planner that works best for me.

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