the youtube planner people are so #OBSESSED for some reason
November 27, 2015 6:45 AM   Subscribe

Thinking about getting your life together in 2016 with planners? Not only do you have many types of planners to choose from, you can also dive into the sparkly, colourful, washi-tape-and-sticker covered world of planner decoration. Let's begin!

What is Planner Decoration?

Planner decoration is an artform (and associated subculture) that uses various embellishments to turn their planners into pseudo-scrapbooks, both for function and form. While technically this can apply to any kind of decoration applied to a planner - from comics and illustrations to mixed-media collages - this particular subculture tends to share some common aesthetics:
  Specific brands of planners are favoured amongst this crowd: the Erin Condren Lifeplanners are especially popular, with many planner stickers and full layouts made in the same colors and sizes as their weekly layouts. Other popular brands include the Kickstarter favourite Passion Planner, The Happy Planner (also known as "Mambi", the acronym for its company), Plum Paper, kikki.K, and Kate Spade.

Other brands have their own communities of planner decoration, with their own aesthetic to suit the planner. The Filofax fans also adore planner decoration, often incorporating the flyleafs or dividers - particularly to make dashboards, either to hold spare supplies or sticky-note reminders or to add design. Meanwhile, those who favor the Midori Traveller's Notebook from Japan tend to be more free-form in their artistry, often making their own inserts, pages, and full-fledged Fauxdoris.

The planner decoration fandom is highly active on Instagram and YouTube, often via hashtags like #glamplanner or #planneraddict, or by posting Plan With Mes and Planner Hauls. Small businesses (mostly based on Etsy) dedicated to planners and planner decoration also have active social media accounts to promote their new releases and highlight ways that their products are used. (Related, though not quite the same, are the #studyblr and #studyspo tags on Tumblr, which often features planner and notebook setups from current school & college students.)

While a lot of glam planning material tends to share similar aesthetics, there are a few offshoots for people with different tastes. A fairly popular tag is #gothplanner (here's a great video along those lines) and there are planner layouts inspired by Victoriana, witchcraft, fandom geekery, and steampunk. (There should really be more though, so if you're so inclined & have art skills please start a business and make some.)

While all those planner accoutrements may start to get expensive, there are ways to decorate on a budget. You can DIY your own decorations, or forgo stickers & washi tape entirely to use something else.

Not everyone is a fan of planner decoration, with criticisms that it's distracting from the whole point of planning and can get overwhelming. However, for many others, it serves as a useful creative outlet, giving them motivation to get organized as well as building connections with communities of fellow planner fans.
posted by divabat (82 comments total) 156 users marked this as a favorite
I love planners but have finally cut over to recording everything on my phone (so I can share it among devices, and have a common calendar with my wife's phone).

Maybe I will rig up a way to carry my iPhone in my old Filofax cover...
posted by wenestvedt at 6:58 AM on November 27, 2015

On the one hand, I look at these and they make me smile. On the other hand, I look at these and think 'boy howdy, if you didn't spend half an hour washi-taping your to-do list, I bet you could get some of the things on your to-do list done.' On the third hand, I am pretty sure that most of these pages are only quite this pretty because they're being photographed for the web. I'd hazard to guess that most people who do this have a few really overdone pages and then a lot that are more normal.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:58 AM on November 27, 2015 [10 favorites]

Dammit, I have spent my entire life trying so hard not to fall down this hole. SO HARD. I have a very basic system that works about as well as anything ever has for me, it requires almost no specialized supplies except that I really like Staples' arc system.

But but but washi tape! #gothplanner!! I have three more days off work!!!

Shit. If you need me, I'll be working on my new planner.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:58 AM on November 27, 2015 [18 favorites]

Im devoted to a paper planner, and the one I've been using for 10 years was discontinued this year. I stumbled on the Midori Traveler's Notebook and went all in. The world of planner porn is amazing. It's also a great planner. The paper is lovely. While tracking down all the inserts I wanted I ended up on and now suddenly I'm buying fountain pens.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 8:02 AM on November 27, 2015 [5 favorites]

I love planners but have finally cut over to recording everything on my phone (so I can share it among devices, and have a common calendar with my wife's phone).

THIS. Ever since I moved over to Nozbe*, it's like the heavens have opened. Tasks with recurrences (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly). Tasks grouped together into Projects. Tasks easily redated as stuff happens. Tasks synced to my Calendar. Tasks and Calendars shared with my wife. The ability for her to assign me tasks and vice versa. Weekly reviews of pending stuff.

Paper? I tried the Bullet Journal. I tried the Hipster PDA. They're both significantly less flexible compared to the digital options. Paper doesn't do any of the stuff I listed above.

It looks pretty, though.

*I also hear good things about Todoist
posted by leotrotsky at 8:16 AM on November 27, 2015 [12 favorites]

WOW. The extent to which these are decorated and filled out almost makes it function like a diary/journal/scrapbook combo. Except instead of writing about what you did, you're writing about what you wanted to do. So when you look back on it years later, it's like a journal of hopes and aspirations... that may or may not have been achieved!
posted by picklenickle at 8:20 AM on November 27, 2015 [17 favorites]

posted by slater at 8:21 AM on November 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

I can barely manage to scrawl "nd. tpaper" on a piece of paper ripped off of a printout from an old project. I often get to the store without my list (left it on the desk/dresser) or if I brought it, I can't read it. What is "Pbas cdice?" No idea. I will never, ever remember.

Notes function on my phone=lifesaver.
posted by emjaybee at 8:23 AM on November 27, 2015 [3 favorites]

So when you look back on it years later, it's like a journal of hopes and aspirations...

That is a delightful perspective.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:35 AM on November 27, 2015 [10 favorites]

This is a great post that gives me super mixed feelings. On the one hand: good for the planner people, how nice that they have this outlet. On the other hand: the aesthetics of Planner World make me feel weirdly, I dunno, claustrophobic? Like, what do you do when a meeting invite pings into your inbox at the last minute?

That said, I'm slavishly devoted to my incredibly scrappy, stained, battle-scarred Bullet Journal. It's housed in an ugly two year old putty grey Leuchtturm notebook (I'm such a hypocrite - I have very firm Opinions about Leuchtturm vs Moleskine vs Rhodia, and carry an inky menagerie of fountain pens with me everywhere). My todo list gets retooled and revisited almost every hour - I genuinely can't do anything without first sketching out a rough plan, on paper, with a pen.
posted by nerdfish at 8:51 AM on November 27, 2015 [3 favorites]

ahhhh what an inspirational post, and a dangerous one (for my wallet!).

For now I'm not totally a PlannerWorld person, but god bless this movement because it sure livens up my own version of the Bullet Journal. Right now my system is based on a ring binder and looseleaf sheets, which get refiled later, as needed. It's working out great, because I have too many disparate things going on, so knowing that the sections are flexible for arrangement has managed to keep me stay put with this rather than joining that sad mountaineous pile of notebooks which is just not quite what I wanted. And I am still a much more precise and faster writer with a pen than with a phone, so I also get to indulge in my fountain pens. Not to mention the fact that I feel like I can refer to my notes a lot faster spatially helps A LOT.

Right now I just splurged on Japanese stationery for this purpose. Now that is a country that makes incredibly attractive, practical stationery.
posted by cendawanita at 9:00 AM on November 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

People who enjoy this may also enjoy Hawk Sugano (aka hawkexpress)'s Pile of Index Cards (PoIC) system which, like some of these planners, seems to gradually morph from a mere planning-and-listing tool into art form. If the planners are like artist's books/scrapbooks, the PoIC is like an installation piece, slowly taking over entire rooms with exquisitely sorted drawers and trays of tens of thousands of color-code-swatched binder-clipped index cards, modified Moleskines, labelmaker stickers and library date-stamps ... I'd love to have a good word for what makes these things (decorated planners, index card galaxies, intricate journaling systems) so satisfying. (A friend has proposed "rapture of the neat" as an aesthetic state.)
posted by Stevia Agave at 9:08 AM on November 27, 2015 [6 favorites]

Are these the people the reason why I can't find a normal magnetic paper pad with lines for my fridge? I wanted just that. Plain paper, lines, magnet, pen holder. That's it.

I trawl through Amazon and everything is Pink, Inspirational, with Cupcakes, Hearts and Pseudo-Fifties Americana Cafe Illustrations, or completely over engineered and needlessly expensive.

Seriously, I just wanted some lines on a paper pad with a magnet. Why must everything be Crafty?!
posted by like_neon at 9:18 AM on November 27, 2015 [5 favorites]

like_neon: no pen holder, but like this?
posted by divabat at 9:28 AM on November 27, 2015

> a journal of hopes and aspirations

July 2: pilot first live return flight to Mars.
July 3: couldn't go, too busy decorating planner
December 10: accept Nobel Prize, Stockholm
December 11: couldn't go, too distraught after being unable to decide the right colour of washi tape for the event
March 3: quadruple bypass at Mt Sinai
  note: "Last Entry" scrawled in by unknown hand over multiple layers of stickers.
posted by scruss at 10:12 AM on November 27, 2015 [8 favorites]

Fab post! (previously)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:12 AM on November 27, 2015

like_neon: no pen holder, but like this?

add a muji pen holder and you are complete.

Personally, i would use a magnetic clip separate from the pad so I could use any pad I wanted.
posted by srboisvert at 10:33 AM on November 27, 2015

Metafilter I salute you. Although my eco-conscious side must first use the 30 or so odd pages left in our "I can bearly remember a thing" (complete with cartoon bear) pad first.
posted by like_neon at 11:03 AM on November 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

As a person with ADHD this scares me. I want to go down this rabbit-hole soooooooooo bad and spend hours looking at this stuff as I've done before many many times.

Because I'm always, always, always on the look-out for organizational practices that will make my life easier, better, more organized; the kind of thing that will help me not just remain on task but also remember those tasks in the first place. And there's a lot in here that seems very practical, functional, easy, and fun. But I've been down this road before, where the planner and organization itself becomes a distraction, that rabbit-hole of this could be it, this could be the system that works for me instead of the mishmash of systems I've put together over the years, the one that does work as best as it can be. The new planning system itself becomes a symbol of hope.

And it's wonderful for a week or a month and then becomes yet another ball to juggle, another to-do on the to-do list that is long enough already with items constantly slipping quietly off the tail-end only to be remembered in moments of panic and anxiety. Then I'm left with the detritus of yet another organizational system in which I had fun organizing my life for a week or so but lost interest/took too much time/had a hard time duplicating that To Do item 5 or 6 times because that's how often it has to appear to get it done.

Every now and then, though, something will survive, ratty and misused but workable, and it finds a place in my current system - just often enough I keep trying new systems out of sheer optimism I'll find another tool.
So I'm here sitting looking at these links, thinking to myself - wow, that's a useful tip, that could integrate neatly with my hipster PDA (which does work well for me) and thinking, wow, you know, if I made organizing a little more fun it would be more stimulating and thus I might be more likely to follow through. . . and also envious of people who can do this stuff without thinking, ok, I think X task will take an hour so in reality it will take 2, plan accordingly . . . But also in supreme admiration that people can be so creative and cool with how they organize their lives, hoping they appreciate the gifts they've been given. I really enjoy this particular view into how various human brains interpret life. It's a world I have to enjoy from afar, all the while secretly wishing I'll find something in all of this planner porn that will be the One Thing, the Magic Planner, even though I rationally know it's not going to happen.
posted by barchan at 11:26 AM on November 27, 2015 [31 favorites]

awesome post. Previously: Midori Traveler's Notebook, the MTN Chronodex Planner .

I think the claim that #planneradicts are very WASPy/soccer mom is true. There are some in the Midori community that are reminiscent of Wes Anderson - Patrick Ng is wonderful (he still writes a blog!), as is Juan Esty.

I got kind of into the midori concept (see the previouslies) and even started my own etsy shop to sell fauxdoris for a minute before i decided it was too stressful, so I jacked up the prices 300% and now nobody buys them thankfully. But it was an incredible hobby and I enjoyed it quite a bit! I too, instagram my use.

For actual planning, I use Todoist, outlook, and Sunrise.
posted by rebent at 12:07 PM on November 27, 2015

Ugh, barchan's comments hit me right in the feels. Because of my own ADHD, I could never do this. I always sighed when I saw people who could have pretty planners.

My own system consists of using Google calendar and texted/email notifications, which took me a few months to adjust to routinely using, after initial difficulty (and for such a simple system too!). I can hardly trust myself to even remember to open a paper planner, because it becomes part of the to do list to even open it. This post is incredible though, I wonder what it's like to have that type of mind.
posted by yueliang at 12:08 PM on November 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

No love for Planner Pad? It has three tiers on one page, for projects, to-dos, and scheduled appointments. I've had one for six months and I love it.
posted by spacewaitress at 12:23 PM on November 27, 2015 [4 favorites]

This is so 1998.

Do these people know that the Palm Pilot was invented?

Oh, god, I'd have to carry a 10lb planner to put everything in that I have on my PDA, aka iPOD Touch (it's not marketed as such, but it's totally a PDA that also plays media and has Internet access).

I still sometimes ogle all the pretty planners at the stationary store, but none of them come with built in alerts.
posted by jb at 1:27 PM on November 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm using my Filofax less and less now, which saddens me, because it changed my life. But it's still the only way I get anything done at work. And when I got stuck on the train with no WiFi and a dead work mobile, it was the only way to find my colleague's mobile number...

I don't go all in for the decoration, mostly, but who knew, it turns out I have a dashboard! And years ago, I got the transparent credit card holder insert, and put six photos that make me happy in the slots. That has got me through a lot of teeth pulling meetings.
posted by Helga-woo at 1:32 PM on November 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

*vibrates with joy at ALL OF THE LINKS!*

I have tried so hard and so long to keep everything electronically, but once my last Palm died, I couldn't find a decent substitute and I don't have the patience to try every iPhone app imaginable. Outlook worked for ... work.. but I want to keep personal things off of our Exchange server. And then I went back to a paper planner and the birds began to sing again. I remember things much better when I write them down. My husband has a paper planner too, and on Sundays we set up our upcoming week over breakfast. It's a good way to let each other know what we're doing at work.

I am nowhere near where the rest of the community is, and I can't be because I bring my planner into meetings. (Plus, there is a lack of "operational goals & budget due" and "360 review" stickers.) But I may have a few Christmas-themed Mickey Mouse stickers on my December monthly page. And I only washi-tape dates when I'm traveling.

I will thoroughly enjoy all of these links in-depth tonight, with coffee. Fantastic post!
posted by kimberussell at 1:53 PM on November 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

barchan, I feel you. I'm ADHD as well and mostly what this reminds me of is how every year, at the start of school, I would have a vision about the way all my notebooks would look, beautifully decorated on the front and then full of neat, artsy handwriting and cool doodles and indexing systems on the inside. I would buy the notebooks. I would buy the pens. I would be so motivated. And then I would actually start to write, and my handwriting was garbage and all over the page and my doodles just looked like messy scrawls and the notes I was taking were a stupid mess anyhow and I never once looked back at them and every year was the same as the year before and NOTHING about it was pretty, NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING, and stupid Leigh with her bubble handwriting and stupid Karina with the way she could always think of a cool diagram to illustrate whatever concept we learned in science and bleeeargh I have so many ideas in my head about the way things should look and they always get scrambled when I try to make them a reality. I am constitutionally unable to make anything look neat and pretty.

But every year I buy a new notebook and I believe that notebook will be different, a beautiful object instead of a grubby repository for all my mangled thoughts.



posted by pretentious illiterate at 2:03 PM on November 27, 2015 [27 favorites]

I love the tangibility of paper planners. It makes the plans captured in them feel more solid, too. And I have actually gone back to past years to see what my concerns were like, and how I tried to spend my time (not all that differently from today, it turns out, in many cases :/).

The problem is, it's a 2-D fixed system. You can't re-classify according to whatever principle is most relevant at any moment (e.g., a different axis of time - monthly, weekly, daily, or weekly plus monthly; by priority; by project)… I've done myself in by going for a weekly/monthly project planner and a weekly planner and a daily to-do booklet to overcome this, but I always forget what I put where, or stress over duplication or emphasis, and the whole thing just winds up weighing too much to carry around. (And there are bag-related issues - do I want a big daily A4, so I can really plan my day moment to moment? I do, but that doesn't fit into the bag that feels the best. Or the layout I prefer doesn't come in a light enough soft-cover. Or it does, but it's missing an elastic band and pocket so I can cram stuff in.)

I think maybe going for a single, thickish A5-A6 with freakishly featherlight but strong paper, with the front half devoted to big catchall to-do lists and the other half devoted to daily views, with a monthly calendar in between to keep track of key deadlines, could work… (or not… some things go over several months… and that would still be a heavy-ass planner). Or I could try to develop my memory a little better :/ (not hopeful about that).

Great post, though. Fully admire those who can do this!
posted by cotton dress sock at 2:24 PM on November 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

After looking these over I realize my life is basically unplanned. And I like it that way.
posted by kinnakeet at 2:40 PM on November 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

This is the kind of thing that I would usually be in to, but I think it may be a little too goofy, even for me. I love sparkly stickers and tape and shit, but I basically just want a functional planner that will help me keep track of my shit.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:54 PM on November 27, 2015

Very nice post. I miss my Covey Planner, I really worked that thing. However, nowadays it's hard to live without the geofencing that comes with Apple's Reminders app (and its integration into all the Apple products.) "Remind me to buy wrapping paper tomorrow when I leave work" is just genius.

A paper planner with geofencing...that I would buy.
posted by sidereal at 3:10 PM on November 27, 2015

Wow, this is amazing and hits all the cute-decoratey receptors in my brain. I have pretty much nothing to plan, though. I'd kind of like to turn one of these into a microjournal of sorts, filling in each tiny little square day with doodles as I go.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:10 PM on November 27, 2015

I JUST bought myself some dot-ruled notebooks from Daiso because I found Bullet Journals which satisfies all the stuff I want to do in a notepad. I've tried diaries but the days I'm at conferences, or reading texts, I need pages and pages of notes. Days I stay at home and edit or write, I need barely a line or two. I don't really do micro-task to do lists, and about 90% of any of it is mine, not family, so I don't need to share it on my calendar.

I put meetings and things like that in the shared calendar or my calendar (although for a month everything was munted and didn't work or send me notifications and it was SO bad, I spent one meeting sitting in my office down the bloody hallway - the next meeting same thing but one of the other women texted me because she knew what had happened). Paper alleviates some of this for me - I have a diary that I annotate at night with commonplace stuff (partner away on work, edited paper X, sushi for dinner, cramping, that sort of thing) but the bullet journal does encompass all of that AND the notes from conferences and sketched out plans for papers and actual sketches and lists I need and so on. And the act of writing does make a difference in my head.

PLUS dot ruled means I can do pretty writing and sketching. So having that helps me combine into one notepad things that are in three right now, in conjunction with my phone. I don't get so much into the stickers and making things pretty (my aesthetic is stripped back and plain) but I will be doing something to my Daiso notepads just so I like them more.

I do think the aesthetic element is important though - the reason I am using Daiso notebooks is because I can't drop $15 on one from whatever fancy place is most popular. I can drop $3 though, get a couple, and it's not so bad if while I'm out I need to distract my kid and she takes up some space in there. So I don't get to choose much beyond 'red or blue' for the cover, and converting that to my aesthetic (as unlike most of the links that is) is how I assert this space as mine.

As an art practice I think it occupies the same space as a lot of crafts that are highly feminised, in terms of being considered frivolous, or contrary to use. Like, really, do you think they are spending this time in direct contrast to what they want to do? No, this is part of what they want to do* and is part of their practice. Since having my child I've reconnected with that meditative aspect of art and craft, the colouring and the cutting and the glueing and the placing, and redo-ing it all over and over because these are not finished projects, these are paintings in water and sand.

*There's always a performative element in posting online but even then, I like seeing progress and process shots from my artist friends, and if this is how you make your money then hell yes its all gonna look great.
posted by geek anachronism at 4:21 PM on November 27, 2015 [13 favorites]

pretentious illiterate: But every year I buy a new notebook and I believe that notebook will be different, a beautiful object instead of a grubby repository for all my mangled thoughts.




Can I… Can I interest you in becoming a baseball fan?

(Actually, I did the same thing, every damn year in school. Never did execute on a single one, and eventually I stopped treating myself to nice stationery. *sigh*)
posted by wenestvedt at 4:29 PM on November 27, 2015 [4 favorites]

As an art practice I think it occupies the same space as a lot of crafts that are highly feminised, in terms of being considered frivolous, or contrary to use. Like, really, do you think they are spending this time in direct contrast to what they want to do? No, this is part of what they want to do* and is part of their practice.

Thank you! The comments about "they'd have more time to do things if they stopped decorating" bothered me. Many of these run successful businesses (mostly planner-related, but not all) and this serves as both marketing AND organizing. Indeed, there are a fair few of these planner people who talk about setting up planners for businesses.
posted by divabat at 4:36 PM on November 27, 2015 [9 favorites]

As an art practice I think it occupies the same space as a lot of crafts that are highly feminised, in terms of being considered frivolous, or contrary to use. Like, really, do you think they are spending this time in direct contrast to what they want to do? No, this is part of what they want to do* and is part of their practice.

I typed and deleted a couple of comments because "contrary to use" (what a great phrase!) was my reaction, but it didn't seem like a positive comment for all the obvious reasons. I really appreciate your comment, because seeing it as an art practice makes total sense, but I didn't get that from my own look at the links.

Practicality aside, at an aesthetic level I like the patterns they are creating, especially with color. There is meaning encoded in the colors, of course, but they also appeal abstractly. Abstracted a bit more, some of the patterns of colors and black lines would work as wallpaper or for fabric.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:20 PM on November 27, 2015 [3 favorites]

This is so exciting. I love planners and spend hours just looking at them. A dthen hours more deciding what planner woold define me for a whole year. It's a big commitment...

I'm going with PassionPlanner. I donated to their Kickstarter campaign. I beleive they had an initial $15,000 goal, but it shot up to $700,000 in the end. It was astounding to watch.
posted by Vaike at 5:46 PM on November 27, 2015

Planners overlap sooooo many of my interests - notebooks, washi tape, stickers, organizing, very nice pens, colorful things, to-do lists. I loved going through the links in this post, but I already have systems (for my fairly uneventful life) that seem to work for me.

My husband and I share a Google calendar for social/family/birthdays/going out events and my work forces me to use an Outlook calendar. People can schedule appointments with me on the Outlook calendar, and I also put in all my other meetings, deadlines, big things to remember.

My other tool is a Miquelrius notebook - goes with me to all outside meetings for notes and always has a page with an unordered, brain dump To-Do list with check boxes, that I update or rewrite during dull meetings when my brain is spinning about all the other things I could be doing with my time.
posted by Squeak Attack at 5:54 PM on November 27, 2015

I keep an electronic planner relentlessly. I used omnifocus with an iPhone, had a horrible week when I switched to an android and the app for FIVE DAYS took my tasks and did not add them! just went into the to-do void! five days of me going "wow I'm so productive, my to-do list is getting shorter and shorter... wait, hang on, this is suspicious..." so now I'm using toodledo, synced with evernote, insightly and two cross-synced calendar systems for family and work.

But I also have a paper planner. I love paper. And washi tape. And coloured pens. And stickers! I am dithering so bad about whether or not to sign up for myself to Pipsticks, the monthly sticker subscription service because it is so indulgent, but on the other hand, so indulgent!

A basic fat A5 datebook as a planner is great. I write down appointments on it, replicating what's on my calendar, but the act of doing that in detail once a week, and then checking it in the morning forces me to think about my packed schedule. It also makes me think what do I want to do? Do I want to add something to that day? The electronic calendars are filled with everyone else's appointments too, and my planner is just the things I want and need to know. I use gold star stickers for appointments I want to arrive early to, and colour pens to highlight other things. Washi tape to add in notes when a post-it ends up being worth keeping. Washi tape beats regular tape because it's soft enough to peel off from paper without damaging the page badly, but generally stays put.

There's a pretty sound organising principle that the time you put into thinking and planning your day is not wasted. So if you do it with Elle Woods-style panache and washi-tape, you're still going to kick ass.

I scheduled a work meeting at a cafe near Kinokuniya today specifically so I could go by their beautiful stationary section and get some new folders and stationary lovelies and spend a blissful hour alone with my planner and the accompanying cat-themed A5 ring binder for projects.... Thanks divabat for the post!
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 6:23 PM on November 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

Oh man, saw the Washi tape and had Formaline flashbacks. "Why not just buy printer border tape?"

But then the top hit is Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies.
posted by klangklangston at 7:03 PM on November 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

Klangklangston: that's worth a fpp of it's not already
posted by divabat at 7:23 PM on November 27, 2015

Down the rabbit hole I goooooooo........
I'd only seen such decorated planners in South Korea until now, so I'm rather delighted that this trend has made it overseas. Even though I buy a planner every year, I use it in a fairly dull and haphazard way. I wish I had the discipline to journal more often. Then I'd have an excuse to buy more notebooks...
posted by Rora at 7:25 PM on November 27, 2015

I'm glad this works for the people it works for, but I tried a paper planner at one point and realized that I just can't do it BECAUSE I want things to look nice. It becomes paralyzing. My handwriting is terrible, so writing alone makes me feel that I've "ruined" something as soon as I use it. If you're going to use paper, it seems like making it gorgeous is going to be really counterproductive if you really need to organize and get things done. I wonder how many of these people are really doing more than, like, very basic calendar stuff. Not that you couldn't, but it seems unlikely that you'd be willing to maintain a to-do list in a notebook like this where you were going to be constantly moving and re-prioritizing and redefining your tasks. They don't feel like spaces that are allowed to be messy.

I use Google Calendar, Todoist, and a smartphone, and I get wistful when I look at this stuff, but I wouldn't trade my current system for that. Digital never starts looking gross because I've edited something.
posted by Sequence at 10:32 PM on November 27, 2015 [3 favorites]

Sequence: a lot of these people run small-to-medium businesses (esp Etsy or on social media) or have active day jobs, and this works for them. If you watch some of the videos you'll hear references to supply shipments or very planned out social media posts. For many of them planner life IS their bread and butter, and it's a lot of work.
posted by divabat at 10:54 PM on November 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

A sidenote to the other posters with ADHD: I have pretty severe ADHD, and I've stuck with Bullet Journal for over two years. I think it's because it's a system you can drop for a while then come back to. Some days I don't even use it - but there's no incriminating blank calendar pages to judge me when I come back. It's just enough system to contain what needs to be done.
posted by nerdfish at 12:03 AM on November 28, 2015 [4 favorites]

sio42: I don't remember if this is shown in the videos I linked, but a lot of them would make sticky notes or flags for stuff that needs to be planned in advance and stick them on the right dates. Then when it's time to make that week's layout they transfer the data over.
posted by divabat at 1:20 AM on November 28, 2015 [2 favorites]

Ooh, I love this. This is the time of year that I over-research restocking on washi tape, deco stickers, and of course, a diary. I have tried going digital with my phone, but it just doesn't work.

Last year, I obsessed over getting the Hobonichi Techo, from Japan. I loved the setup and paper and design (everything). But when September rolled around, I gave up on carrying it around. At 350 grams, it was just too heavy to cart around in my purse.

Also, Korea and Japan have a huge diary subculture, and I LOVE IT. I was in Japan in October, and a huge amount of space in Tokyu Hands is dedicated to diaries, calendars, organizers, custom notebooks. There's diary bands to keep your book closed, calendar stickers for you to DIY a notebook, pocket stickers, pen loops... there's everything!! I don't know if they dedicate this much space to it year-round...

Here in Korea, most bookstores currently have an entire section of the store, with dedicated cash register, dedicated to diaries and their accessories. Most diaries are priced below 10 usd! I guess a good start at taking a look at how diaries are done in Korea would be the tumblr #korean-planner tag. I picked my planner out after painstakingly combing through the many choices at 1300k. I ended up buying a bunch of stickers and accessories to go with it, but I think the best was this cassette tape/ribbon bookmark.
posted by Xere at 2:45 AM on November 28, 2015 [6 favorites]

My solution to making changes and adjustments?

I use a pencil.
posted by Helga-woo at 3:13 AM on November 28, 2015 [3 favorites]

Xere, that 1300k site has tons of things -- so cool! (And the English is charming and…very enthusiastic. :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 4:04 AM on November 28, 2015

Xere, the 1300K site - is it possible to shop at the site as an international customer or is it Korean-registered only? I just tried to register, but it is demanding afaik through google translate a korean mobile number.

I got my metafilter quonsar gifts at Kinokuniya today and scored some weird roll-on happy-bee tape to decorate my planner with and a penguin print file folder. I was surprised how little I wanted to swap out to all the beautiful planners they had over my own battered folder+planner. That's one of the other things about decorating and marking up your own journal, you make it yours. Home, not a hotel room.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 5:20 AM on November 28, 2015

wenestvedt - haha yes, the English is very enthusiastic, that's a good way of putting it. :) it's sometimes super awkward, but I find it charming!

dorothyisunderwood - it looks like you do need to link a Korean ID with the site. That's new...and a bit much for stationery, I think! previously, I was able to sign up without my Korean ID. But, even without the registration, I'm not sure if they ship internationally. If it's not weird, I live next to a post office and am more than happy to help you buy and ship stuff. But if that seems too shady, you can always pay 10%+shipping to a purchasing proxy company like :) You can also find specific stuff from Korean ebay sellers and fallindesign, but with a bit of a markup.
posted by Xere at 5:52 AM on November 28, 2015 [3 favorites]

Tokyu Hands is pretty much my favorite place in the world. I bought so much crap there just to stash in a drawer so I have little gifts to give to people when I need little gifts.

I think people are right that this probably works better for people who are naturally organized than for those of us who struggle with organization. All my organizational efforts have to go in to keeping my head above water. If I were less of a mess, I would have more time to make things pretty.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:14 AM on November 28, 2015 [3 favorites]

i am totally blaming this post for my trip to the local journal hobbyist store today. (my swag) and that's still not the full extent nor can it beat these dedicated people featured!
posted by cendawanita at 7:26 AM on November 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I know you and I are in the same country or close enough, TELL ME MOAR
posted by divabat at 7:38 AM on November 28, 2015

It's Stickerrific! It's in Jaya One in PJ. It serves coffee, teaches watercolour and calligraphy classes, AND HAVE THREE CATS.

As for the online store, ehem.

As for anyone with Muji nearby, now's the time to go check their stationery -- they have month stickers (so you can convert any page into a calendar page by the month) and every Muji country gets a specific sticker set of public holidays included in their year notebooks or calendars. :D

posted by cendawanita at 7:46 AM on November 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

oh and Stickerrific is a big afficionado for the Hobonichi and Midori journals, and they offer a discount code for if you want to print your own photo instacards to insert in your journals. :D
posted by cendawanita at 7:48 AM on November 28, 2015

Omg thank you so much for this post! I think I might make this my yearend indulgence (even though I'm about to buy new yarn shutupshutup). I just started my first non-entry-level role and am realizing I need to up my organizing game, and at the same time I'm embracing my frivolous girly side, so... a match made in heaven??? I think so! I get a big discount on Moleskines through work and I was all pissed that I forgot to order a new planner last week but clearly this was meant to be. Yayyy
posted by sunset in snow country at 9:00 AM on November 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've just come to terms with the fact that I can either write in pencil (and erase, and that gets messy) or just accept the crossing out, the scrawl that is my handwriting* and that things change. For me that's the beauty of the Bullet Journal method (tweaked for my circumstances) - once I've scrawled a list too much I just transfer it to another page to update.

That's where making your own aethetic comes in handy. I like black ink, I like a fine nib. I prefer monochrome. I do like cute as hell sticky notes though. So that's what my journal looks like - black or red with scrawled crappy writing and dumb doodles in the corners and bunny rabbit sticky notes. I can appreciate this as art, as effort, but for me it's more of a push to accept this is something I can put effort in to make pretty for myself, and to make it pretty for me.

*my handwriting was okayish but my new meds have given me a slightly greater hand tremor + fine motor muscle control issues that are pretty much only an issue with handwriting/typing/drink pouring.
posted by geek anachronism at 3:50 PM on November 28, 2015 [4 favorites]

I think this FPP may have changed my life. Thank you!!

Also do they make stickers and washi tape for lawyers? That would be so cool. I'm thinking of stickers that say things like "motion DENIED" and of course the dates need to look like old-fashioned hand filing time stamps.
posted by yarly at 4:34 PM on November 28, 2015 [6 favorites]

As an anxious handwriter, Frixion erasable pens have helped make me more comfortable about tackling a blank page.
posted by at 4:52 PM on November 28, 2015 [3 favorites]

I usually look for Japanese brands like MT or Muji, or tapes that says 'masking tape' if I want to write on them. That said, you can go three ways: 1. Gel pens then wait a bit; 2. pens with dry tacky ink like ballpoints; or 3. special pens to write on glossy photo paper.

But I do generally wait for any ink to dry if I write on washi tapes anyway - that's the only foolproof way for me personally. And that can take minutes. (So... I don't really write on washi tapes...)
posted by cendawanita at 5:45 PM on November 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

This post just ate my day. I clearly need a paper planner now, and I clearly need to spend, like, 300 hours figuring out precisely WHICH paper planner.
posted by gerstle at 7:13 PM on November 28, 2015 [4 favorites]

"So I got some washi tape today. Scotch brand. Nothing will write on it without smearing, even a sharpie."

Did you try things like Micron spot pens?
posted by klangklangston at 8:17 PM on November 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm serious about this: if anyone wants to get together to start a business creating planner decor that isn't all WASPy Proto Basic Soccer Mum (closer to #gothplanner but not exclusively; see my Pinterest link up thread) get in touch.
posted by divabat at 8:28 PM on November 28, 2015 [4 favorites]

I want this so much in my life that I'm feeling that specific yearning I have when I want to be the girl with the manicure that doesn't chip.
posted by discopolo at 9:02 PM on November 28, 2015 [10 favorites]

Damn you. This was the year I was going to try to go no planner. I've been looking at these neat planner/notebook communities for the last year or two and it just dawned on me that I did this for myself more than 10 years ago. I couldn't find any planners that were plain or in the format I liked so I designed one in Quark, printed it out, added a bunch of extra pages and bonus stuff like transit maps and pouches and stuff... and then gave it a fancy exposed spine binding. Funny, guess I could have made a whole business out of it.
posted by Bunglegirl at 9:58 PM on November 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

This makes me sad with yearning.

I use a Franklin Covey planner, and have off and on since I was in college and it was just a Franklin planner. I've tried electronic tasking, sure. But the only thing that ever worked for me was Entourage for Mac, long deprecated. Nothing works like that anymore. In any event paper just plain works better for me, because the important thing isn't the list itself, it's the forming of an intention for my day that is created by writing something down in the morning. I do use electronic calendaring, though.

But here's my trouble: the Franklin Covey aesthetic is super not for me, and I've never found a more, ah, modern planner that does two pages per day. I neeeeed two pages per day, not every day but a whole lot of days -- one for my to-do list and daily block-scheduling, and another for notes. But everyone mainly does weekly planners now, which really, really does not work for me.
posted by Andrhia at 11:42 AM on November 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Andrhia, I have similar issues with a lot of planners, so I bought a good multi-page punch and paper cutter and print my own. There's free and for-pay downloadable printables all over the place. I would rather just be able to buy packs of the kinds of pages I prefer, but I can live with printing my own.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:32 PM on November 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

Here's an example of my modified bullet journal in action, though it looks a right mess right now, as I'm trying to finalise the setup for 2016. Flexibility counts a lot for me, so having a system that emphasises not planning out the daily spaces in advance has really helped my sense of needing everything to be perfect. And now I get to do that plus stickers, themed roller tapes, stamps, and washi tapes and indulging in my fountain pen collection, ahhh.
posted by cendawanita at 6:56 PM on November 29, 2015 [5 favorites]

*pterodactyl screech*
I have a Midori for everyday rollin that's the best wallet in the world. I've got it rigged up with pocket stickers so that I can open it up and just scan my library card but I have to dig for my credit card. (This is more useful than you think.)
I bought a Hobonichi (dat Tomoe River paper, yo) to keep as a diary for 2016 because I looked at my homebrew calendar in my Midori and I have no idea what I've been doing for the last eleven months. I've got things scrawled on the days, but I have no idea how I felt about them now.
divabat, thank you for enabling my paper addiction.
posted by Lemmy Caution at 6:42 AM on November 30, 2015

Doodle your own icons!
posted by divabat at 7:08 PM on November 30, 2015

I use a couple Arc notebooks to organize stuff I keep on paper on-and-off (as the amount of paper I'm dealing with waxes and wanes) and I have an Arc hole punch so I can put whatever I want in them, including paper task organizers and activity trackers like Seah's Printable Productivity series. I have some loose Arc compatible binding discs too, which can be useful for neat and tidy temporary DIY project organizers and document collections. I have a Levenger Pocket Briefcase for 3x5 cards but I tend to keep it in my briefcase more than my pocket these days. And I keep a weekly, monthly and yearly tickler file for important paper bills and administrative paperwork etc.

But these days I pretty much just rely on OmniFocus, Sunrise, Fantastical, Outlook (when I'm in a remote Windows session), and DevonThink Pro Office. And whatever heavy lifting Exchange and Gmail are doing with the accounts and calendars that those apps sync against. There's a little bit of Trello and Evernote in the mix too, used as needed for ad hoc purposes. (I really wish Trello offered better integration with other task tracking platforms.)

I guess I lean on iOS integration pretty hard too, for its reminder, notification, and input affordances in conjunction with those tools. If Siri has a killer app, it's calendar management.

I use a ScanSnap on the desktop to pull stuff into DTPO, whereas TurboScan is pretty great for capturing documents (including receipts and charge slips) on the go.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:15 PM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

But here's my trouble: the Franklin Covey aesthetic is super not for me, and I've never found a more, ah, modern planner that does two pages per day. I neeeeed two pages per day, not every day but a whole lot of days -- one for my to-do list and daily block-scheduling, and another for notes. But everyone mainly does weekly planners now, which really, really does not work for me.

Two words just floated up from my middle school memories (with cut-out pictures of Eddie Vedder taped to them):

Day Runner
(although maybe even they don't make a full day with a facing notes page anymore...)
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:22 PM on December 3, 2015

And now I have joined the planner decoration club, with a copy of Unsolicited Advice by ADAMJK because I wanted something a little goofy. The extra pages (draw your future! date ideas! instant Instagram ideas!) are adorbs. It is smaller than I anticipated, so I might see about getting a larger planner mostly for the monthly pages (which this doesn't have).

Stickers and washi tape are a little hard to come by in my part of town (ughhh need to check out cendawanita's rec asap) but I did manage to find some cutesy ones at an art store in a nearby mall - although their stickers might need better proofing.

my fpp has eaten my life halp
posted by divabat at 12:26 AM on December 5, 2015 [5 favorites]

welp, this might be useful (or not), my friend found another malaysia-based online store: Scrap n' Crop. I was almost tempted, but I've 'distracted' myself by making stamps myself.
posted by cendawanita at 9:28 AM on December 5, 2015

I found a planner by Blue Sky at the thrift store a few months ago and it is the planner I have always been looking for.
posted by aniola at 11:21 AM on December 12, 2015

So after declaring this craft gooftastic, I thought about it and realized that I really do want a paper planner. I do meal-planning and workout planning on Saturdays, and it might be nice to have a physical place to write that all down. I haven't come up with a good online system for that yet. And then I decided to take an Intro to CS class next semester, and it occurred to me that I could keep track of assignments in my paper planner. And then I realized that washi tape would help me organize it all so I could separate the meals from the workouts from the assignments. And then I found some really cute stickers....

Sigh. I have a crafting problem, you guys. Is there a 12-step program to help with that?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:01 PM on December 12, 2015 [3 favorites]

This post inspired me to buy a daily moleskine instead of the weekly moleskine I've been using for years. This is a really big change for me!
posted by betweenthebars at 12:11 PM on December 12, 2015

Protip for anyone who happens to be in Johor Bahru for whatever reason: the Popular bookstore in KSL (though not any other Populars) has a 70% sale off stickers and washi tape. So guess what I did.
posted by divabat at 11:24 PM on December 12, 2015

I've been using a brown 5 x 8 ARC notebook since 2013, and it is the planner I spent nearly 40 years looking for. It's a good looking, durable notebook that I refill every year -- and I get to keep whatever pages I want, so it doesn't generate much waste. I bought zippered pockets to hold things like paint chips and steps and my chequebook. I bought cute paper clips to use to mark the current week and a couple of other important pages that I refer to a lot. There's a slot for a pen, and a few pockets for other stuff. It has calendars for every month and a two-page spread for each week, which is exactly what I like. I also have some ruled pages and task lists for whatever extra notes I want to make.

It doesn't look like the planners linked here, but then I don't want it to, because a lot of the linked examples look like they belong to twelve-year-olds to me. It's cute... but I am a little beyond my trapper keeper days and I want a fairly serious, professional-looking planner that doesn't look as though it's stuffed full of mash notes.
posted by orange swan at 6:53 PM on December 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

I have just resigned myself to the fact that I am never going to outgrow my love of sparkly school supplies. I try to keep it relatively professional at work, but at home I gleefully unleash my inner 11-year-old girl whenever possible.

(Actually, I lied about keeping it professional at work. I learned how to do CSS this year, and I made a version of my lovely work websites that was all sparkly rainbow unicorns. I also did a version with Scooby-Do background art, which I think someone posted here. I only showed them to select people who I think are on-board with my lack of maturity and decorum, though.)
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:54 AM on December 14, 2015 [4 favorites]

This looks like a wonderful, practical offshoot of art journaling. I was thinking of doing a paper planner this year, since life is getting more complicated. Now I have inspiration.

Also: to barchan: me too. What I've discovered is you have to make peace with abandoning organizational systems when they get dull, and keep things fresh by moving on to the next one, all the while keeping those little bits you learn from each.
posted by frykitty at 5:37 PM on December 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

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