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Life and Planner Updates!

To start, apparently I subconsciously have decided that in 2018 I will overwork myself (towards positive goals).

Not only am I in the midst of preparing for my comprehensive examinations in grad school (and taking a single course and TA’ing), but I’ve also decided to physically create a planner this year to utilize for myself.

Proudly, I am 100% done with the creation of a planner— in terms of layout and design; And I believe that I am closer to finding a print shop to print the final product. Needless to say, I feel that I am 80% of the way done with creating my left-handed planner!

Below are the non-prototype images, since more or less, the final printed product is expected to look like this:

I would really like to thank Catanna, a graphic designer on fiverr, who helped me to complete this vision.

In terms of the planning and the creation put into the planner, reading other blogs were really helpful for me during the process. They helped me to create experimental prototypes of what I envisioned my planner to look like, and they also made me think hard about what would be different with my planner beyond just which side the binding would be done on. Initially, I only knew to myself that I wanted a CUTE left-handed planner, and beyond that I did not really think of any others reasons as to why.

One blogger in particular that stood out to me was Alli over at Scattered Squirrel. She wrote a blog post entitled “Where Does Your Planner Start?” Which introduced me to her ”Creating A Planner That Works for You Series.” After reading her posts, I started creating lists of different questions that were posed by her to the reader, which helped me gather my ideas on what makes a planner workable for me. Reading her posts were actually really inspiring and motivating, because it gave me purpose to enact and create my vision.

Here is how some of the planning, actually went.

First and foremost a series of questions are posed.  For example, ‘how have planners not worked for you in the past?’

The obvious one is that the spiral is on the wrong side, however, beyond that, I was able to think of three other reasons:

  1. I do not like bulky planners (planners that are ridiculously thick)
  2. I do not like planners that cannot be customized (I like photos, space for washi tape, stickers, doodles, etc)
  3. I absolutely hate it, when note space is neglected in a planner/ note taking is given little space (which lends itself to randomly taking notes beyond their weekly allotted spot within a planner)

Related to the first response in the first question, in terms of ‘parts that go unused in my current planners,’ I do not use built in pencil pouches. Again, for me, bulkiness is a big ‘NO,’ and this question did not have as many reasons in terms of things that I do not use.

Now we get to the fun part: ‘What parts in previous/current planners DO work for you/get used?’

  1. I adore monthly + weekly planners
  2. I do not like to be burdened by lines in my weekly planning (see Q1, R2)
  3. When there is note space, but as a grad student, I need A LOT of note space (see Q1, R3)
  4. Clean + Simple Layouts— because again, a planner should not be overwhelming. Your life events kept within it, is a different story.
  5. I do prefer horizontal layouts, over vertical ones
  6. Note space after each month versus just the end of the planner (this is related to #3, and because the images above do not show you all a full preview of the planner, you should know that after each month, there is two pages dedicated to just note taking)

All of the above information, is from reading and responding to Scattered Squirrels blog posts! And because of how much you do learn from reading others blogs, I cannot and will not, burden you all with the notes that I have taken throughout this process (they are NUMEROUS—I even consider myself now a beginner in InDesign, thanks youtube). However, I do want to highlight one thing: In terms of planner goals, Alli at Scattered Squirrel writes that essentially, planners are to help keep track of important dates and appointments, build or maintain routines, and make the best use of your time and energy. With this, thinking about the usage of my planner, first and foremost it will be used for school, work, and then personal appointments. This is why note taking takes precedence in my planner. On my instagram, I have some of the planning process over the past two weeks highlighted on my profile under the “Project #1” highlight.

In closing, I really meant to include more aspects about my life in this post, but as you can see, apparently creating a planner has dictated quite a bit of my time over the past few weeks! This post is also becoming incredibly long, so,  In lieu of being 80% done, I took a selfie (edited with the ‘Snow’ app) of how happy I was– post the layout and design being finished. I cannot wait to hold a physical copy of my planned, planner creation in my hand.

Today, I was a bit uncertain about finding a print shop to print, but by the end of the day, I think that smartpress is going to be the route that I take. I am expecting samples of their paper types in the next few days to see which paper will be used on the cover, and on the inside of my planner. Ironically, I told my mom that I do not think everything will be done until February 7th, and as the date approaches, I am just in awe–at how almost right I was/still could be.

-Sincerely, Tawm

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