Sometime during the middle of spring, I decided to go back to a paper-based planner. I’ve always been slightly in love with planners, agendas and organizers — part of my ongoing stationery fetish, I guess. I had the most intense relationship with the free weekly agenda they gave out to undergraduates at Duke, where I went to school — it was just a simple little notebook, divided up into weeks, with a blue leather-y cover embossed with Duke’s official seal. I used it all the freaking time, and covered every bit of free space with lists, brainstorming, doodling, and random information. Early on, I realized I liked a weekly view of time from this planner, and I haven’t really wavered from that format since.
After graduation, a generous friend gave me a fancy-schmancy Louis Vuitton pocket agenda — it was made of yellow Alma leather with a purple leather interior — and I used that pretty regularly for a few years, until they stopped making the paper for it. (Insert sad trombone noise here.) Plus, it was tiny, and at some point, I think my life was just getting way too complicated for it to fit into the pocket format. After I gave the LV planner away, I tried experimenting with larger planners and different systems, but nothing really took. A planner is a deeply personal thing, especially if you’re a creative person, I think, and I didn’t quite find my planner soulmate for some time.
Without a true paper home, I experimented with various apps, devices and other electronic gizmo-magic in the past few years. For awhile I used the calendar on my BlackBerry to keep track of appointments, as well as a series of notecards for to-do lists and project planning, but I didn’t like how my time and planning was split. Then I went all-electronic once I got an iPhone and tried out various apps — there are sooooooo many of them, but I ended up settling on WorkFlowy, which I liked a lot for its simplicity. It’s a list-maker’s dream, and it’s an incredibly well-designed app. And I did use it a lot for both personal and work — which it worked brilliantly for — but I was just missing something. Something fun. Just that extra little something that would kick up my inspiration just a bit. I missed doodling. I missed making little star- and heart-shaped bullets next to my lists. So I decided to go back to paper, only I would have to do it my way. DIY planner, I suppose.