There are certain things I can’t live without.
There’s my computer for one.
I live for this thing. I’ve been a Mac-addict for about five years now and I’ll never go back. And of course, when I’m at home I have my trusty Macbook:
And then of course, there’s my Blackberry. Can’t leave home without that.
Even though I love all my electronic doodads, from my Ipod and my Bose Sound Dock to my Flip camera and my Sony Cybershot, there is one product that I would be CRIPPLED without. This is the item that is always in my bag. Never needs to be charged. Never needs batteries. Never needs to be serviced in anyway.
And it’s got my whole life contained inside.
I am absolutely helpless without it.
It’s my DayTimer Planner. I’ve had it for years. I faithfully replace the calendars each year and I don’t put my head down on a pillow at night without carefully plotting out my day on the appropriate page.
And I’m a bit obsessive about it. Yes, just as obsessed as I am with my Uniball pens. If not more so.
Let’s go over the important parts of my planner as outlined above.
1. The inside folder: This is where paperwork that is too large for my wallet goes. My paystubs, letters that need to be mailed out, stamps and gift certificates I haven’t used yet. Where do people put this stuff if they don’t have a planner? I’d really like to know.
2. Of course, I keep a pencil and pen in my planner at all times. And of course, it can ONLY be my favorite blue pencils from seejanework.com or a Uniball pen. I don’t like asking to borrow a pen from anyone. I like to have my own at all times. And where else would I keep them?
3. The front pocket is for important papers I need to see in my face. Like this prescription I need to get filled. I see it everytime I open my planner, (which is like ten times a day, at least) so it serves as a gentle but constant reminder.
4. Back there I keep receipts and other random slips of paper that I try to clean out once a month. You know how you get that little piece of paper you KNOW you’ll need one day? I put those right here. That little gold piece of paper sticking out is a coupon for my favorite day-spa. If I didn’t have a planner, I’d lose it for sure. And since I take my planner everywhere, I know I’ll have it even if I make an unscheduled stop for a manicure.
5. Don’t laugh. But I love the art theme incorporated into the calendar I chose. DayTimer teamed up with an artist named Flavia to design planner pages. And I love them. They are soothing to the eye. And filled with whimsical drawings and motivational statements like if you can love the stars without knowing the vastness of the sky, then you can believe in miracles. This is so NOT my thing, normally. It sounds like something that would be stitched onto a pillow. But somehow, for my planner, the cornier the better. Give me stars and floral patterns and uplifting words on every page.
6. Each month has its own page. I don’t put the entire calendar in here. It would be too heavy. I only have February in here so far. But I have a single page devoted to each month. I already have stuffed penciled in for May! I love getting an invitation to something months in the future. I pencil it into the planner and then I can throw it away. Purge!
I truly marvel at people who can get by in life without a planner and not forget wedding showers or doctor’s appointments or just all the tasks that need to be done in a given day.
One of those people would be TheHusband.
He doesn’t have a planner.
He doesn’t even have a wallet. Seriously. He keeps all his cards in the little envelope he got from the bank when he got a new ATM card. You know the ones I’m talking about…
TheHusband gives me a panic attack every time I overhear him getting information about an important date. He gets a phone call and I hear him say, “really important meeting? uh-huh. Life or death? Okay. What day?”
At this point, he grabs a sticky note and one of Tog’s crayons.
“Got it,” he says. “April 9th at 6:15 AM. I’ll be there!”
And of course, that sticky note ends up on the bottom of Tog’s shoe the next day. And I have to wonder for the next three months if he remembers this meeting. (Usually, he doesn’t remember).
How do people function without a planner? As soon as I get an invite, it’s penciled into my month. And each night, I have to write down what I need to do the next day or I just won’t remember.
Here’s February, so far. I don’t commit to anything without referring here. If I don’t write it here, I won’t be there. Or it just won’t get done.
But the most important part of my planner is in the back. It’s these two pages right here:
This is the heart and soul of my organizational system. You have to have a clean and neat section of your planner. Then you need some blank pages where you can just scribble important things in a safe place.
Let’s examine my important scribbles…
1. Again, don’t laugh. But one of my goals for 2009 is to read at least one piece by Borges, Calvino and Nabokov. For a writer, I’m not nearly as well-read as I should be. So I wrote that note right there to remind myself. It’s February. I haven’t even decided which titles I’ll read. But hey, it’s still early in the year. And I think about it every time I turn to this page.
2. Ideas for my blog. But of course! I need a place to pontificate and think about my content. I’ve already done three of the topics I scribbled here months ago.
3. The random phone number. You know, the one that doesn’t necessarily get programmed into your phone. But you want access to it anyway. This is the phone number for a guy named Schon-Jomel. He’s a singer and once sang back-up vocals for Faith while she was on tour. (“That boy!” Faith always says. “He can sing Soon As I Get Home better than me!” I met Schon-Jomel at a book signing. And I wrote down his information to forward to Faith. I sent it to her. So technically, I don’t need it anymore. But I wrote it here anyway. Something tells me one day she’ll email me and say, did you ever give me Schon’s number? And I’ll have it! Damn. I’m realizing I sound really OCD right now.
4. Let me ask you dear readers, how many user names and passwords do you have for various accounts? I have one for three different banks, three different email accounts, my online fax service, my picpad.com account, my dentist’s payment plan website, my facebook account, my ning account and all of the bills I pay online, from my cell phone to my cable bill. Some require a number and letters. Some ask for six characters. Some eight. Some require all caps. Some not case-sensitive. I can NEVER keep track of these things. So they all go here, in the planner. I’d be lost without it.
[sidebar. I know, I know. I shouldn’t have too many sensitive numbers in my planner. I don’t care. I’ll take my chances. I can’t keep all this information at home. I pay bills on the road a lot. If I lost my planner, my life would be over anyway…]
I haven’t always used the DayTimer brand. I started out years ago with Filofax.
I started out with this joint. Very classy. But it was 95.00! And the accessories were expensive too. After a few years, I switched to a brand called DayRunner. You can find DayRunner at places like Staples. Much more affordable. I got one that looked like this:
It was functional. But I wasn’t crazy about the styles that DayRunner carried. And when I went to Staples to get refills, I could never find what I needed. The option to buying online was there. But I wanted to get everything in one place. Not buy some stuff at Staples and then order online. DayRunner had to go.
I don’t remember how I discovered DayTimer. But the selection is great. (My joint is the faux-leather desk-size. Only cost about 40 bucks.) They have a great selection of accessories and calendars. And shipping is fast.
I reached out to Sharon Callahan, the Category Manager for Paper Products at DayTimer and asked her a few questions about my favorite organizational item.
Do most people prefer the wire-bound or the loose-leaf version? I can’t imagine using a wire bound version. I need to be able to rearrange my pages!
Day-Timer customers are evenly split in their choice of wire-bound versus loose-leaf versions. As you mentioned, loose-leaf planners give you lots of flexibility for adding and moving accessories and add-in sheets. However, customers also love wire-bound planners for their very slim profile and easy portability.
What’s the most popular calendar set-up? I like to see one page on two days. I do a lot of crossing out. And I don’t want to see my crossed out list when I start a new day.
Our customers’ favorite planner formats include the 2-Page-Per-Day, 2-Page-Per-Week and 2-Page-Per-Month styles.
I really love the Flavia designed calendars. How did that relationship come about?
The relationship between Day-Timer and Flavia® started approximately 10 years ago when one of our product managers discovered the company’s artwork and recognized a potential connection between their inspirational artwork and our customers’ need to plan their days. The Flavia business has grown considerably since then, and the company now has a very loyal following of consumers who love their art and inspirational messages, and find them very motivating. Since we began the relationship, we have greatly expanded offerings in the Flavia line and regularly introduced the artist’s new work to our consumers. Day-Timer products are also available through the Flavia company website.
I can’t get my husband to use a planner, no matter how hard I try. Do men use paper planners?
For the Day-Timer business, the gender split is equal. However, in the paper planning industry as a whole, the gender split is skewed toward the female audience.
There was a time when people began to switch over from paper planners to PDAs. Did this affect the paper planner business? I have a Blackberry. But I never use it for appointments. I still need to use a paper planner.
Certainly, at the advent of technology, many pundits predicted a paper-free future. However, people have realized that technology still has its limitations: small screens that don’t show details, and the inability to take notes, sketch, and draw. We’re finding that most people use some combination of technology and paper in their lives, whether it be cell phone technology, Outlook applications, etc. At Day-Timer, we still continue to deliver product solutions that help people navigate both worlds.
And there you have it. The official word from DayTimer on why paper planners will never go out of style.
Dear readers, how do you plan your day? Where do you put your receipts and random pieces of paper? If you use a planner, what brand do you use? And are you obsessed about it? If you don’t use a planner, how the heck do you function? I’d love to hear from the guys on this. I never see guys pull out a planner. How do you know when something’s going down? Ladies, do you ever write your man’s events in your own planner. (Yes, I’m guilty of this.)
Tell me about your paper or digital planner. I’d love to hear if anyone else is as geeky about this as I am…