by Lena Coleman Turpin
I have been on a multi-decade journey to find that sweet spot… Planner Peace. I have been a planner since college. I started off with an 8.5 x 11 inch calendar, planning out my homework, study and social events. Once I graduated, I discovered ring-bound planners and I kept a ring bound planner for several years keeping track of to do’s, projects and finances. Then something amazing happened! I got a smart phone!
Oh my goodness, did I have plans for this thing. I was going to keep track of my to do’s and projects in a whole new way. This was the best thing since sliced bread! Can you feel my excitement here? Over the course of a couple of years and several app downloads (some free, some not), I finally gave up on digital planning. I missed one too many items on my To Do list to continue down that road. I had to backtrack and figure something else out. I went to one of my local office supply stores and discovered the disc-bound planner. This was great!
The disc-bound option was working out very well until I stumbled upon a YouTube video about a wire-bound planner. Well shut the front door, I just had to have one of these! So I purchased one and the fight began! Which do I use? I carried both disc and wire-bound planners for a couple of months before I decided it would be wires. I loved my wire-bound planner. I bought a boatload of stickers to fit perfectly in the boxes. It had a beautiful color pallet. The only thing I did not care for was the weekly layout. The boxes were not exactly large enough for my big handwriting. My solution to this problem was to buy extra, extra fine pens. Well, the pens I purchased were not exactly working and out, so I purchased pens from every online pen shop I could find, trying multiple brands to see if one particular brand was more appealing than the other. This is when I discovered Fountain Pens!
I had a fountain pen in college but it leaked and I was so afraid that, if tried again, I would have a lovely ink stain inside my handbag. I decided to bite the bullet and order a fountain pen, thanks to all the vloggers. It was awesome but the paper in my wire-bound planner was inferior. It bled through and became a huge mess. I knew it was time for yet another change. Now that I found the perfect pen, I was on another search for the perfect planner with the perfect paper.
In my search, thanks to good old YouTube, I discovered the Travelers Notebook. Now we are on to something; Leather. Since I had a larger wire-bound planner already, I did not want to size down too small so I decided on a Wide/Cahier size. I liked this size but I did not feel it was very portable so I purchased a Pocket/Field Notes size to plan with. It was cute but just too small. So I ordered a Narrow/Standard size. It was good. I found a few paper options that would accommodate my fountain pen ink, I found the perfect size, I had the perfect pen, there were no complaints for several months… until the A6 size gained popularity.
I just had to try one. So one day, a favorite TN maker was having a sale and I decided to order an A6. When it was delivered, I was surprised at how much I loved this size. So once again, there was a battle to decide which size would be my planner; the A6 won! I carried this size for nearly a year before my work life got much busier and I needed more space to write. I knew then that I would have to switch to something larger. I purchased an A5. I liked this size as well but eventually it just felt too large. Next I tried a B6 Slim, it was nice but still not quite large enough. Lastly, I purchased a B6. I really liked the B6 size. I had plenty of space to write yet it was still portable. All my favorite Etsy shops provided fountain pen friendly paper options. Life was good!
However, after using the B6 size for several months I started to feel unsatisfied. I could not put my finger on what was wrong, I just was not happy with my planner. I had the right paper and the right pen so what was the problem? Once more I found myself at a crossroad, should I stay in the B6, switch back to one of my previously used sizes, or try something new? I had to think long and hard about this. I am coming upon the end of another calendar year and I cannot go back down this road the coming year, trying to find just the right planner. I quickly ruled out discs, wires and ring-bound planners. So which travelers notebook size was I happiest with and why am I not still using it? Then I remembered how much I loved the Narrow/Standard size. I still had many inserts but I had sold most of my Narrow/Standard travelers notebooks. However, I did keep one so I pulled it out and stuffed it with inserts. An immediate feeling of comfort came over me. The way it felt when I held it, my fountain pen filled with my favorite ink and the fountain pen friendly paper all played a role in this feeling of calmness. I knew then that it was my size and I had found Planner Peace.
It has been a bit expensive but it was all worth it. I just cannot believe it has taken me so long to realize all the factors that play into this feeling of solace. So if you feel as though you will never find planner peace I am here to tell you that you can find it and you will certainly know when it is right.
Lena is a wife and mommy to Maci, a fur baby. She works as a Project Manager and, as you may have guessed, loves all things planning. You can find her on Instagram.