Planner Organization | My New Addiction

Planner Organization  My New Addiction

{Note: This turned out to be a long post, so grab yourself some tea or coffee and settle in – if you’re interested in planners, that is!}

Sometime back in October, I decided I needed to find a system that works for me in order to help me stay organized. I used to be the kind of person who never needed to write anything down – I always remembered. Even in high school I could go home without writing down my homework. Planners for me were simply pointless, especially because I never lead a busy life. But in more recent years I’ve realized my memory has started to fail me, life has gotten busier, more things go on in my mind than ever before making me forget certain tasks, and I was beginning to find that I accidentally let things slip between the cracks. I’m also a procrastinator. It’s something that in my adult life I’ve been struggling to fix. So with wanting to become more organized and making myself more accountable, a planner was in need. Little did I know how addicted I would get to it!

When I started my planner research, I remembered hearing about a brand from one of my favorite Youtubers, OrganizedLikeJen, who loves her Filofax. I had never heard about the brand before but about two years ago I watched a video she did on how she organized her planner and I made a mental note to strive to be that kind of organized. In October of 2013, I was finally ready to make the commitment to at least try it out. I first browsed the Filofax website and saw immediately how expensive the planners are. I was both eager to try one out and yet discouraged to invest right away. That was when I remembered seeing the Martha Stewart Discbound Notebook in Staples months earlier.

I realized you could easily customize it with both the Martha Stewart and Arc brand sold at Staples and was immediately hooked. I had never been introduced to a discbound notebook before but learned quickly there are a few other brands out there that offer inserts to further customize it if I felt the need, such as Levenger. Let’s admit it – Martha Stewart offers plenty of tools to help us stay organized, but in this case we needed to branch out to fully customize this notebook to my needs.

Martha Stewart Discbound NotebookIf you’ve never seen a discbound notebook before, the paper is hole punched in a unique way, literally fitting around the discs that keep it together. The Martha Stewart version came with small discs and some notebook paper. That was the base I was working with and new this baby would need to be expanded, so I bought a new set of discs in the next size up (and the biggest, I might add. There aren’t too many size options). You can see in the picture above, it’s pretty full when closed, also thanks to pens I keep in there.

Now let me break down the additions, sections, and the fun accessories!

Planner Organization

  1. Clear storage pocket: This came with the notebook and has proven to be quite handy as I’ve thrown random papers in there (like receipts that need to be filed away, shown above).
  2. Week and day at a glance: Of course I had to buy the calendar separately, which is the main reason I’d be using the notebook (and converting it into a planner). I’m still a little unsure of how I feel about the set up, seeing as how the days are in columns and don’t leave a lot of room to write details (so thankful for sticky notes!). The fun part about it, other than the fact that the calendar is done in the gorgeous Martha Stewart blue, is how the days are divided: Morning, Afternoon, Evening, and two smaller blank squares (I’ve used these two blank ones for either meal planning or other to-do tasks for after dinner). It also has space on the right hand side for you to list your tasks for the week. If I don’t complete something, I’ll write it into the next weeks tasks column. A lot of the times, I’ll have pink sticky notes helping me to remember additional details.
  3. Arc sheet protectors: this may not be the official product name, as I can’t find it online, but these were a must have for me. It’s helped me stay organized with things I usually just toss in my purse or elsewhere. I’ve tabbed them according to their purpose, which I’ll show later in this post.
  4. At the beginning of every month you have the full Monthly calender (or month-at-a-glance). Here is where I mark our pay days, note any events or appointments (color coded), or add any domestic duties using the Martha Stewart removable color-coding labels (aka teardrop labels).
  5. The Color Key: This is at the very front of the entire calendar. It shows what label colors are for what task (which may change than what is shown above) and what color pen (currently using Paper Mate felt tip pens) is for who’s pay day, events, appointments, travel, and business.
  6. Not pictured: I absolutely knew I would need a pouch for my pens and was delighted to see Arc carried one! They also have a ruler insert that can be used as a bookmark (I use it to mark what month we’re in).

Planner tabsI realized very quickly how useful tabs are. The top ones here are from Martha Stewart. These are on the clear sheet protectors and help me find what I need quickly (coupons – for any that print out on receipts or elsewhere, recipe’s – for when I print them out and want to remember to try them, receipts – in case I need to take anything back, color key).

The bottom ones (sorry for the bad picture) are dividers that are in the Martha Stewart collection for the discbound notebook. I haven’t tested it out yet, but you can wipe these off and reuse these dividers, which is great when you want to change your planner or notebook around (Calendar, Finance, Blog [with more tabs in between], and Business).

Paper Accessories

  1. Martha Stewart Tabs: The teardrop tabs, I’ve noticed, are a coveted piece of equipment for keeping your planner in order. When I was doing my research and watching a ton of videos on how other people set up their Filofax/planner, these were usually always included. Even on Pinterest, when looking at other blog posts, it was almost guaranteed to be among the sticky note madness in the beginning of the planner. And I seem to be no different – I love these! Another thing that I kept seeing was that everyone had the Martha Stewart small Note Tabs. I thought they were gorgeously shaped (unlike post-it brand. How boring!) and gorgeously colored. The pastel colors also go with my planner, so I was on the hunt for them, as I was unable to find them in the stores. How sad! But luckily, Amazon came through! And finally, the other Martha Stewart tabs, which I think are also no longer available. I got these in the store for $1 when I purchased my notebook and accessories when I couldn’t find the previous tabs mentioned. If these are to be discontinued, I don’t mind one bit. They’re paper and the entire back is sticky. These easily began to roll up on my planner, making them ineffective. And where the tab sticks out, there’s an option to peel away the small backing and stick to whatever you’d like, which is great when you’re not using them for tabs. The backing almost always came off. No thank you, sir.
  2. Tartan Oli Magnetic Paper Clips: This was inspired by “OrganizedJen”, as I like to call her. She uses one in her Filofax, and I thought it was a great idea to help me bookmark. I got these at the Container Store and was very excited to do so. The only disappointing thing is that the clips are not as strong as I thought they would be. What I ended up doing was clipping the following weeks in the month and the entire next month together (for now). In Jen’s video, it looks like her clip can withstand a big chunk of paper, but when I tried clipping the up coming year together, it just wouldn’t work so I had to break it down.
  3. Martha Stewart Sticky Pads: I know – yet again, another Martha Stewart product! I love how different the shape is (again, post-its…so boring!) and the soft colors. My only qualms about these is that yes, the sticky is strong like they say, but they roll up and the ink smears pretty easily. So sadly, after these are done, I’m going back to my regular post-its. Plus, I can’t find these in the store anymore anyway.
  4. Semikolon Sticky Page Markers: These I found on Amazon as I was trying to fill my cart for that free shipping for orders $35 and over…Darn Amazon…You know just how to reel me in! Luckily, I don’t shop there often. These caught my eye simply for the beautiful colors. And again – they’re different! For whatever reason, when these arrived they were smaller than I anticipated. I knew they’d be small, but there’s hardly room to write. I haven’t quite designated a purpose to them quite yet (although I do some independent spiritual studies, which I may use these for). They’re actually a little transparent, which is neat. Still love those colors, though!
  5. Post-it Super Sticky 4×6 Line-Ruled Jewel Pop Notes: Hey! It’s not Martha Stewart! I picked these up at staples when I realized that I would need bigger stickies to write my longer lists for groceries and such. They’ve been working perfectly and I love the colors.
  6. Poppin Pens: I have a thing for pens. So when I saw these in the store, the sleek design and color made my heart skip a beat. It goes perfectly with my planner and they write very smoothly. {also visit for additional amazing office finds! They’re so cool and all color coordinated!} The only thing -and it’s really not at huge deal but – they write in blue ink when I prefer black. But whatevs!

Kate Spade Paper Clips

Kate Spade paperclips: Let me first say that I have a thing for office products. I always have and forgot how much I loved this stuff until I started putting this planner together. When I first saw these, I may have drooled a little. The gold. The bows. They were different in every way (can you tell I like unique office products?) and I put them on my wish list. The price isn’t something I could quite justify for paperclips until I couldn’t stand it anymore. And they only had thirteen left in stock at the time. They just needed to go in my collection – now. Nah what I’m sayin’? I don’t regret it and love that pretty bow sitting at the front of my planner.

Overall, I absolutely love this planner. I love that on the left hand side, there are pockets if I choose to use it as a wallet (which was my initial thought, as a reminder to keep track of money better and budget – one of my original ideas for the planner that is still being put together). I like how I’ve set it up so far and can’t wait to see how I iron out any kinks. I want to make this system work for me and luckily the fun office products help me continue using it (weird, but true).

If – and that’s a big “if” – this system works for me for the entire year, I’m considering getting myself a Filofax as a reward for actually sticking to this. I need all the help I can get to stay organized and on top of things that the incentive is okay with me.

Do you have a planner system you work with? I’d love to hear about it! Any suggestions on how to make my planner better?

If you’re a planner addict or setting up your planner, feel free to check out my Pinterest board, Planner Organization.

13 thoughts on “Planner Organization | My New Addiction

  1. Sooooo late to the party! Want one so bad to keep track of medical stuff! if you ever stop using it or want to sell it please let me know I would love to buy it!

    1. Hi! Thanks for commenting 🙂 I’ve actually moved on to another planner and have already sold it. But be sure to check back later in the month when I do “planner week” showing what I use now 🙂

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