Some people are born as natural planners and creative to the core. They can stay organized without effort and their lives just seem to always run on schedule. Their houses are Pinterest-worthy and pristine. I am absolutely, without a doubt not one of those people.
Don’t get me wrong; I did receive some great creative genes. I come from a long line of talented individuals. I have relatives that can draw, sew, knit, act, quilt, crochet, needlepoint, bake, decorate, etc. While I inherited the ability to do a few of those things, photography is where my true creative genes enjoying hanging out. Well, they do also reside in one other area. In addition to being a photographer, I also happen to be a MASTER colorer. Ask any of my college roommates; I was wayyy ahead of this adult coloring trend. My husband even received a few colored Disney pictures instead of letters when we were dating long-distance… but that's a story for a different day.
Everyone in my family is genuinely creative in one way or another. However, while organization comes naturally to some members of the family, it is not engrained in my genes. I’ve really tried to get and stay organized. Crossing items off of lists gives me more pleasure than it probably should. Being 100% truthful, I have made lists after accomplishing tasks simply so that I can cross things out. Please tell me I’m not alone in that! But getting organized is SO tough. And staying organized? Even harder depending on how successful getting organized was in the first place. I’ve spent a good part of my life learning how to stay organized, and I’m happy to say that I’m finally getting the hang of it.
When I was a kid, I always loved school supplies. (It was also one of my favorite parts about being a teacher, as well.) But my absolute favorite new item of school supplies, other than the shiny new gel pens, was my assignment notebook. Clean, organized, and full of potential to help me avoid procrastination and keep on top of my studies. What a wonderful fresh start at the beginning of each school year. It was always helpful, although my procrastination
sometimes consistently seemed to creep in around October and didn’t usually leave until June. Yet despite my procrastination, having everything written down in my assignment notebook kept me organized enough to complete all of my assignments on time.
Fast forward to adulthood. No more assignment notebook. I seriously can’t believe I thought keeping track of my homework, swim meets, and water polo games was difficult. Now I have client meetings, photo sessions, editing to-do lists, and other deadlines to hit. On top of the business to manage, I also have doctor’s appointments (I've had thirteen in 2017 alone), play dates, travel, and other family appointments to keep track of. And "mom-brain" - a very real thing - doesn't make it any easier.
Regular notebooks are fine for making lists, but they aren’t set up in a way to aid those of us that are struggling with organization. I do know that there’s a new bullet notebook trend going on. While several people have suggested it to me, it involves a touch more artistic ability than I was gifted with (at least to make it as awesome as I would dream up in my head). I tried so many methods of planning, including my iCal that syncs between my devices. Yet there was just something I missed about a physical pen and paper. Enter in the Erin Condren Life Planner*.
I had never seen this type of planner/calendar before until last summer when THREE people posted on Facebook about it in a two-day time span. It had the best parts of my old school assignment notebooks, but it also included all the adult updates that I never knew I had been searching for. The feeling I got purchasing the planner and a few accessories was the same as I feel on Christmas morning. I am finally able to organize my home/family life and business details, and I have a general to-do list going at all times. In addition, I have started using my planner to track my weekly goals, books I read, habits, and my mental health.
After being diagnosed with several health conditions (anxiety among them), I knew I had to find a way to track how I was feeling on a day-to-day basis as part of my recovery. Having a simple way to visually see my overall mental health each day has made an enormous difference. I can now look back over the last few months and see patterns and what may have been potential triggers. And when I'm having an "okay" day, I can look at my planner and see that it's only one off day in a sea of "happy" days. Adult planners are not necessarily marketed with this type of tracking in mind, but for those that need it, it’s a huge benefit. Even just having a designated corner each week to write down my “thankful thought” has been a phenomenal way to reflect and continue to stay positive.
My Erin Condren notebook has become my Life Planner. I don’t go many places without it, and it has made managing a family and business infinitely easier. Over the last year, I’ve slowly added little touches to make it genuinely mine through stickers, washi tape, stamps, the whole nine. Even Will knows how much I enjoy sitting down and planning… after a very trying day with Henry about a week ago, Will came home with glitter washi tape from Target for me to use in my planner. Goodness gracious; that man is amazing.
Life is always going to be busy. Sometimes I get nostalgic for the days when I just had my elementary school homework to write down in my assignment notebook, but I’m thrilled to have found something that allows me to track all of my adult homework. And with my newfound way of staying organized, it doesn’t even feel like homework.
*This is not a sponsored post. I’m legitimately just raving about something that has helped me in the hopes that maybe a similar product will help someone else.