Planning on paper

I started off the new year with this image on Instagram and to my surprise, it is my "most-liked" photo to date!

I started off the new year with this image on Instagram and to my surprise, it is my "most-liked" photo to date!

I love paper products. Did you know that UPPERCASE started as a gallery/store and I used to sell my own greeting cards and handmade notebooks? I also sourced hard-to-find paper goods and would scour the web for interesting things to bring into my shop.

When I launched the magazine in 2009 (and then had a baby in 2010), my time and resources became very limited, so I made the decision to close my retail shop in Calgary in order to focus on the magazine. I don't regret that decision... with one exception. The miss the fun of ordering beautiful paper goods from around the world!

Lately I've been feeling a little too tethered to technology... that my brain is becoming dependent on a computer, laptop or phone. Though I could totally geek out on some productivity app (I have) or Google calendar hack to get it working just the way I want it (I tried), I decided to unplug and give analogue a go this year. Finding the perfect day planner is was no small task, though. I'm very particular about the typography and design that I have to look at day after day! I almost resorted to designing my own one-off custom planner. I used to do design a unique-to-me planner back in my freelance design days, print it double-sided on my laser printer and have a local bindery but a spiral on it. For the sake of time, though, I decided to look online.

I'm always seduced by Korean day planners. Their websites always include beautiful shots of the planners "in use" with decorations of stickers and washi tape and perfect printing that is oh so appealing. Once stumbling on this site, and after hours of comparing one journal to another, I decided on the Object Diary by Livework.

To kit up my planner, I purchased some decorative stickers and place marker stickers. I also got a sticky note checklist pad, so that I can move my list from one week to the next. There are always projects or errands that you know will likely take longer than a few days, so these I'm writing on the sticky list.

I liked that this journal has each day listed on the left hand page and that the right hand side is blank. I don't typically have lots of appointments in the day, so I don't need a lot of space there. I'm going to use stickers to call attention to big tasks (like the dot showing the day mailing data goes to the printer... tomorrow) and the flag that indicates when I want to have all the content for issue 25 assigned.

On the right hand page, I'm going to jot down larger tasks or goals for the week, as well as observations or notes about the week. If I write something down anywhere that is an actionable item that needs to get done, I'll put a little check box next to it.

The book also has a month view, where I'm using washi tape (from Omiyage) to block off time. The thin checked tape is my typewriter book final countdown to getting it done, the floral circle is the day that a new issue is released. Finally, the orange checked wash is showing my upcoming trip to Austin, Texas where I'll be a judge for QuiltCon. (Any of you going to QuiltCon? The judging happens a month before the convention, so don't be alarmed.)

It's not practical to try and keep all my to-do lists in paper form, and there are plenty of instances when digital is the only way to go. For that, I'm using Evernote for my ongoing project lists and details and I suspect that I will still employ Google for some repeating monthly tasks that could benefit from a digital reminder.

My intention with the tape, stickers and, really, the journal itself, is to take some daily time to think, plan, breathe and declutter my to do list so that I don't get feeling overwhelmed. I also want to record more of me and my thoughts in the planner... thoughts and ideas that get lost when they're dumped into the endless storage of the cloud. 

By making the experience a little bit fun (pretty stickers!) and routine, I'll see how well this new system works out.