Decorating your planner is a thing – a big thing – and YouTube is full of “Plan with Me” vids, while Etsy and other sites are full of savvy, creative entrepreneurs who make and sell everything you need to have the planner of your dreams. The planners and the YouTube spreads and the stickers and stamps are very, very cute! I could only resist temptation so long before I had to give it a try for myself. Even though I generally keep all of my appointments in my iPhone and haven’t had a paper planner for years.

How did I do? Well… You tell me.

Lessons Learned from My First Spread

  1. Materials are important. After weeks of comparing and debating over which planner to get, I settled on the Erin Condren LifePlanner (Get your own!) in the vertical weekly layout. The planner itself is gorgeous and doesn’t really need to be decorated in order to be beautiful and completely functional. But I came to play and that’s what I did! Unfortunately, I didn’t have the patience to wait until the New Year (or even wait until my supplies came in) to start playing around with my planner. My first attempts left a little to be desired – mostly because I didn’t have ink pads for the adorable stamps I purchased from Sandra Amelia and tried to make due by coloring my acrylic stamps with my son’s Crayola washable markers. The initial results were less than stellar. My impressions weren’t crisp and the colors were a bit runny. Switching to actual dye ink made a huge difference!
  2. Embrace flaws. I repositioned my poor stickers so many times that they started curling at the edges. My cuts weren’t even. My handwriting was subpar. And in general I was overly fussy and too worried about making everything perfect. Once I relaxed a bit and stopped holding myself to such high standards, I started enjoying the process and stopped worrying so much about the final product.
  3. Less is more. Once I started to get the hang of it (and had the proper materials and equipment), I stamped up a storm. I stamped so much that I neglected to leave room for the actual appointments in my planner. Whoops!
  4. More is more. Doing a planner spread took far more time than I expected. I wasn’t really keeping track, but I would estimate I spent a good two hours or so on my first week. Thank God, I wasn’t filming it. I’ve also spent entirely too much money on my little planner habit. It is far too easy to go completely overboard buying supplies and spending $10-$20 on a one-week spread. I try to keep reminding myself that I don’t need every custom cover and Etsy sticker out there (even though I really want them). I’ve also managed to end up with 12 rolls (an entire dozen!) of sock monkey washi tape, so if you happen to want a roll, please let me know. Free to a good home!
  5. Be patient. This is a hard one. Patience is a virtue, but not one of my strong suits. I didn’t realize my planner would arrive as quickly as it did. I could have opted to include December 2015 in my planner, but I thought the month would be half over before it arrived. Instead it showed up on Dec. 1, leaving me with an entire month to get through before I could start cranking out planner spreads for the new year. I’ve only included pics for the first week here, but I’ve already decorated the first three weeks of January 2016! This is mostly a problem because I have little to no idea what those weeks will actually hold for me. I don’t have my son’s sports schedules for the month and I don’t know most of my own schedule either. It’s quite possible I’ve decorated a box that I’ll need for writing in appointments once the week rolls around. But oh, well. I’m sure I’ll eventually bump up against a week where I won’t be able to do a weekly spread on Sunday afternoon and then I might be glad to find that I’m a bit ahead.

So is this trend a winner? I would say so. I’m having a lot of fun with it myself. I’ve yet to see any evidence this is going to help me stay more organized, but time will tell. Happy planning, friends!