A Traveling Gal

TN PictureIn January we Wickeds discussed the planners we use in our lives. I had just invested in an Ink and Volt planner, which worked well, for a while. I used in in combination with a Bullet Journal that was less of a planner, more of a journal, a single place to capture notes, thoughts, ideas, and lists.  I love the bullet journal idea–analog in a digital world. I am not a visual artist, so it wasn’t beautifully laid out, but I tried. The “daily recap” habit also didn’t happen. But in January I committed to using a system for this very full year (writing, work, and life), so I had to move to a second bullet journal (actually a Leuchtturm 1917) in March. That’s when it all fell apart. I lost control of my index. I started jotting notes on post its. I had a mid year system breakdown. It wasn’t pretty.

A few weeks ago someone linked to this post by Kara Benz aka BoHo Berry, a bullet journaler I followed in Instagram. She announced she was moving to a Traveler’s Notebook. I read the post, watched the video, and sent a text to my best friend, Tracy. “I think I found the holy grail.”

Traveler’s notebooks are collections of individual notebooks that are all kept in one folder by elastics. Before I bought the folder in the picture (and indulgence that I LOVE), I took the system out for a trail run. I bought four A5 cahiers, some elastics, and used binder clips to hack a old notebook to see if I liked the system. One notebook was for work, one was for writing, one was for my personal life, and one was for a trip I am taking in August. I was sold, so I decided to take the plunge and get a nice notebook.

Julie's Traveler's notebook shown by the side.This system works is organized chaos, which suits me. In my personal notebook, I make lists, copy ideas, write quotes, keep track of my workout and meditation goals. In my writing notebook, I have been plotting, asking questions of my characters, fleshing things out, doing research, noodling ideas, building up steam in preparation for writing. Work is work–I’ve been using the bullet journal techniques to keep track of the dozens of projects we are working on in preparation for next season. And in my trip notebook, I’ve been writing down timelines, confirmation numbers, packing lists, agendas. On the trip I will journal, add ticket stubs and postcards, and have it as a keepsake.

The nice thing is that each notebook stands on its own. Once my trip is done, the notebook is removed. Plotting a new book–it gets its own notebook. I’m teaching a class in the fall–new notebook. I’ve also been exploring inserts. BFF Tracy sent me a link to this insert, a calendar that helps you learn Tarot. I mean, come on!

Now, lest you think I am the only person who bullet journals in a travelers notebook, or thinks about it, there is a Facebook group for us. Etsy enables us in a million different ways. And then, there’s Chic Sparrow

Friends, have you ever tried using a traveler’s notebook? How are you on your planner journey mid year?

Wicked Wednesday: Planners


Ink & Volt Planner, decorated by Julie

Well, it is 2017, and we all know what that means. Time to break out a new planner! For some of us, this decision took up a lot of time in late 2016. Wickeds, do you use a paper planner? Any particular brand? Do you use it for all aspects of your life, or one part only? What do you like best about your system? Let us know!

Liz: I love planners. I love planning for planners. And I love trying new ones. I have a couple that are high on my list to try, but towards the end of last year I got the Rituals for Living Dreambook and Planner from Dragontree. It doesn’t have pre-populated dates so you can start whenever. There’s a lot of planning involved meant to help you articulate your dreams and goals so the actual work makes sense and is following a path. I did a lot of the pre-work at the end of the year and now I’m looking forward to trying the actual monthly planning piece. It breaks it down as nitty-gritty as you want, with monthly/quarterly/yearly goals, monthly/weekly/daily tasks and life planning, and even gratitude reflections. I’ll let you all know how it turns out!

Jessie: Like Liz, I adore planners. I find that by writing things out by hand I manage to meet more of my goals. This year I am using a new planner from Ink and Volt and so far, it is all I could ask of a time management/ course setting tool. It has a great weekly spread with just the sort of flexible structure that helps me to mindfully manage my time without squeezing the joy from my existence. There are monthly goals and a habit tracker which I am using to develop a meditation practice. Since I work from home I use a single planner for my professional and private life. I have a second notebook that I use to track quarterly goals, evaluate my long-term plans and to record appreciations on a weekly basis. I know that sort of planning isn’t for everyone but it has worked extraordinarily well for me for several years. In fact, I don’t believe I would have my career without it.

plannerBarb: I love my planner. That must be a writer thing, based on what Liz and Jessie said above. However, being a person who loves her routines, I didn’t search out a new one this year. I’ve been using a Levenger Circa junior-sized notebook for almost two decades. I use the monthly calendar tabs as dividers and all my notes– business, volunteer, vacation journals, writing, home life, to-dos, etc.–are chronological. After three or four months, I archive the calendar pages and notes. I just did this for September-December 2016. I’ve found over the years, that I can remember when something happened much more easily than accessing the information any other way, so the chrono style suites me much better than dividing things into categories, some of which, inevitably don’t make sense in the long run. The one exception is my current book or short story. Because the Circa pages are so easy to move, I can take notes out of my chrono notebook and put them into the notebooks housing my writing projects. My husband makes fun of me for still using a paper calendar. But then, during our more-or-less-weekly meetings to sync up, I make fun of him because he has to wait for his computer to boot up and then needs all the details in order to make an entry.

Sherry: Oh, Barb — it’s not an all writers thing. I use my phone and my calendar for planning. My husband and I share a calendar so we can see each other’s events. It’s cold, it’s sterile, but it works for me. However, Liz was here over the weekend and she was looking at planners while we were out. I have to say her enthusiasm for them and all the beautiful ones we saw did tempt me. But did I succumb? No. I’ll make a note about it on my phone and set a reminder.

Barb: Sherry, laughing at this! I do think if my husband and I shared a calendar, we’d be better informed. But then we’d miss all those lovely “discussions.”

Jessie: Barb, my husband and I sit down every Sunday for a weekly planning and appreciations/goals date. It is one of the highlights of our week together. I had no idea anyone else did that!

Edith: I don’t use a planner and I still use a paper calendar – two, in fact, plus a table EdithCalendarof due dates and release dates. This year I finally got comfortable with my Google calendar, and I love that it syncs itself between my phone and my computers. (That SO ages me – of course our phones are also computers these days! Oh, well. I claim my position as the oldest Wicked and I’m proud of it. I earned these wisdom wrinkles.) The picture to the right is from two years ago. Nothing but the year has changed on the wall in front of my desk. I love my Tibetan Nuns Project calendar. It’s compact, easy to carry somewhere, and doesn’t take up a lot of real estate. And I also “archive” my calendars – that is, I don’t throw them away and can check back to see when something happened or where I went.

However, my additional responsibilities as President of Sisters in Crime New England has already overtaxed my planning skills, and it’s only been four days… I’ll figure something out. And for writing, I just put everything in Scrivener. So far it’s working for me. Why change that?


Last Year’s Decorated Planner Pad

Julie: I am a planner addict as well. In fact, Jessie introduced me to Ink and Volt, and so far I LOVE IT. Because of the way it is structured, around yearly and monthly goal setting, it inspires. But since time isn’t broken down into hours, but instead in blocks, it melds well with my “at some point this afternoon I have to write thank you note to donors” rather than “I failed because it was scheduled from 1-2, and something else happened.” I also use Google calendars for meetings and appointments, and update the paper calendar daily, but writing things down, including notes, color coding, making accountability lists? I love it. I was a huge Franklin Covey fan, so I use parts of that system as well. I also have a Bullet Journal that I use for notes, plotting, inspiring quotes. Basically, my planner is a diary that helps me stay organized. Other great planners include the Passion Planner and Planner Pad. I am intrigued by Liz’s Dragontree Planner, and may explore that when I have more time to noodle.


Friends, do you use a paper planner? What system do you use? Any tips or tricks you’d like to share?