The evolution of planners has run the gamut from paper and pen to bullet journals and back again and now includes something called Washi tape. If this is your world, I don’t have much to offer as I’m sure you already know more than I. If you have no idea why the words “bullet” and “journal” go together and you have no idea what the word “Washi” means, then we can probably be friends.
I have used a plain old paper calendar for many years to keep me on track with my schedule. Today, many people use an electronic calendar, either in their phone using an app, perhaps a calendar that syncs with a certain web platform, or even something stored in the cloud which can be shared with others. But I’m still just using a paper month-at-a-glance calendar.
When I worked in the legal field, I used to be charged with “reconciling the calendars” every day. This meant gathering all of the calendar information on multiple scheduling calendars and making sure that every appointment or court appearance appeared on every calendar. Obviously, this was for paper calendars, one kept in the office, another to take to court and a master calendar. There was no telling what might happen if an attorney missed a court appearance, but it wasn’t something I wanted to know about so I kept those calendars aligned as if my life depended on it.
My company provided a large (8.5 X 11) size spiral bound calendar for consultants for many years. It was a gift and a great way to keep track of my life and my work. But in recent years they cut some corners and the planner was one. So, I sought out my own planner and settled on a free download I can get by sharing on social media. Free sounds good to me. And since I’m not going to pretty it up or make it a project, pages printed on regular copy paper in a 3 ring binder work for my purposes.
But there is a whole other world out there my friends. Planners, for one, can become a bright and beautiful playground filled with stickers and colored pens, Washi tape and rubber stamps. Washi tape, by the way, is a thin decorative tape that can fit into your plans by designating the type of day you have scheduled, the activity your kids will be participating in, even what motivates you. Printed with colorful shapes, words and even glitter, it is a standard among planner lovers for dressing up the page. It is often used to decorate many other things as well and I’m sure a quick Pinterest search for “Washi tape” will send you down a rabbit hole that could last for hours!
Journaling has always meant sort of writing down what has happened in your day, what you are thinking about or working through in your life, or even keeping a list of prayers in order to go back and memorialize when a specific prayer has been answered. Some people journal simply as a means of keeping a diary of their life. My grandmother, Ruby, used to “journal” every day on her refrigerator calendar. She kept birthdays straight by transferring the days and names at the beginning of every year when she bought her new magnetized calendar. Then each day she would record the high and low temperature for the day and I think she made notes about her garden, i.e. “planted tomatoes today” or “harvested first peas”.
Then there are bullet journals. I must admit this is not an area I am familiar enough with to even talk about it. From what I can gather, it’s a glorified “To-Do List” with bullets (as in a filled in dot to the left of each item on the list). There are all kinds of check lists that people make. Some like to put a little box next to each item so they can literally put a check mark in the box. And yet, as I am ignorant of such things, I don’t really know why there is a bullet or what the journaling is really about other than a to-do list.
A photo journal can be simply a bound set of printed photos such as a grandma’s brag book. Those who are skilled with a camera often put photos on pages with short descriptions and group the pictures by theme or genre. This is much closer to old-school scrapbooking where people would collect newspaper clippings and other flat or paper mementos into a bound book of pages. However, photo journaling is more than creating a photo album or modern day scrapbook page, it’s really all about the pictures.
Lastly, and most relevant to today’s world (and the page you are currently reading) is blogging. A blog is often a way of memorializing certain passages of life such as a person’s battle with cancer, or a journey of infertility. Some people blog to write out their life in a format to share with others almost like pen pals used to do in sending letters back and forth through the mail. Other blogs are very specifically about one subject such as using social media for your business. Clearly, blogging is not a way of keeping a schedule or reminding you of what your agenda for the day includes, but it’s a sort of 21st century paper trail often including photos.
So, really, I guess this is an “un-planner’s planner post” because I’m just a plain old month or week-at-a-glance kind of girl. I’m intrigued by all the pretty and colorful ways people track things, memorialize their lives or turn their days into a scrapbook of how they spent their time, but that bug just hasn’t bit me yet. Maybe you can leave me a comment about how you use your planner or journal and help me “see the light”.