Planning on Paper

It’s Saturday–my planning day!  Really I just have an hour or so with the house to myself while everyone else goes to pick up the CSA at the farmer’s market and books on hold at the library.

We’ve finished our second week of school, but are still getting our sea legs under us.  For now that feels just right.  We’ve had a lot of changes come at us at the same time.  So we are easing into our Fall routine.  Soon, I’ll write about schooling by the seasons.  But for today…do you like to plan with paper in hand or on a device of some kind?

0912150912 This is my September calendar spread in a lined composition book.  Picture’s a little blurry because I felt shy showing you the details of my calendar!  A few things to notice:

  • I use the templates from Large Family Mothering to draw my calendar.
  • Meal plans for the week are fitting nicely on the far right margin.
  • You can see my washi taped edges from my favorite journal hack of all time from Mommycoddle.  Right now I’m tracking three categories: the monthly spread, school planning, and blog ideas.  I don’t really find it’s necessary to keep a bullet style index anymore.  The washi tape is a simple, elegant solution to the problem of finding what I need in a 200 page journal.
  • I use post-it notes for my to-do lists.  Although I can imagine liking a record of what gets done, I also like throwing them away.  That work is done, and I won’t see it again!  You notice even the 3″ square note is sectioned off–that’s simply too much space for me.
  • Next week, Mystie from Simplified Organization will be launching a new course called Work the Plan.  If you get your seat in the next week or so, you’ll be invited to a members-only webinar at the end of September in addition to the regular course materials.  Mystie made a quiz to help you see if paper or digital planning would be the best fit for you.  I took it this morning and (big surprise!) I’m a paper planner.  But the quiz did suggest that a combo method might work for me.  I have been using a few online tools of late, so maybe I’ll share my favorites next week.


  1. I’m a combo person too—I think I just like having multiple lists to cross off. But it’s my paper planner that gives me the most satisfaction. Over the summer my bullet journal really figured itself out. I like a nice black to-do list with boxes I can fill in with Prismacolor Pencils. So satisfying. This has led me to abandon my Post-it system—I used to do like you do, have the to-do items on a note that could travel to the next page. The notebook was only for recording what had actually been *done*. But my new system evolved over the summer and it’s working nicely. I draw an arrow in the box if the item is migrating to the next page. I also allow myself brain-dump pages for my messy swirl of notes. Since I don’t love looking at these later, I cover them with an art print held in place by washi tape. The print travels with me to new spreads. I don’t mind the mess after I’ve turned the page. 🙂

    I actually have a big post about this in the works!

    I love your calendar page. I used to make my own too, but I found I was always behind in getting a new month up. now I use Lesley Austin’s beautiful pages from Wisteria & Sunshine.

    1. I love hearing about how your current system evolved through the summer, Lissa. I always have the feeling that one I get a system up and running, the it’s set in stone. But really the systems need to breathe and grow with life.

      Really looking forward to your planning post , of course!

      1. Me too! 🙂 A little bird told me to expect a package this week, which is perfect timing because I only have one page left in my current notebook!

  2. I’m mainly a paper planner, but I also like using ToDoist for recurring things around the house or with the kids, things I might neglect to put in my planner from month to month, or quarter to quarter, etc.

    I love your homemade planner, Kortney! Like Lissa, I am currently using Lesley Austin’s planning pages — I so love her beautiful designs!

    1. I’ve got birthdays in Google calendar on repeat…I wonder about putting Apartment Therapy’s cleaning checklist in there too. It might be a really good way to have those tasks in front of me each day.

      And isn’t Lesley’s work just perfect?! I love the peeks and glimpses I see. Here’s the link to her shop:

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