Fresh Style for a New Year of Organization.

It’s a New Year. It’s time for a refresher course in personal organization. I would like to do a series of posts based on different elements of organization.

I’d like to start with planners. Most of us in the Student Affairs world are probably using some form of Outlook, Google email/mail and even though paper seems to be on it’s way out – if you manage to find a planner that fits you – you’ll want to keep using it and won’t be wasting paper.

There’s a great article by Ariane Benefit about Choosing a Planner Calendar/Choosing the Right Planner for You that lists out several questions to help you assess your style and needs as well as help you set up a checklist of criteria the perfect planner would have.

Based on my extensive search for the perfect planner, I have had to go through many of these questions myself time and again. Some of my “Must Haves” – monthly calendar AND weekly layouts. Has to have both. Macro and Micro level planning. Sometimes I give up small and compact to make sure I have enough room to write everything down. Yes, it’s faster to whip out a little planner – but then I have to take the time to write tiny. I need room for lists, lists, and more lists.

If I’m at the doctor’s office and need to schedule an appointment – that’s when I pull out the smartphone and use my Outlook calendar synced with my Bmail (BU’s Gmail Account). When I’m in a committee meeting, I want to get the whole picture very quickly of my entire month/week just like I would be able to if I was sitting at my desk looking at my computer screen. Not scrolling through the days on a tiny screen.

OK, so let’s get to the fun part. The planners! The pictures! The links!

I tried to find some planners that I don’t think many folks have seen. If you’ve seen some of these and used them, you’ll have to post some reviews in the comments. I apologize now for my photos. I took them on my iPhone. Click the links to get see the better photos.

Let’s start with Little Otsu Publishing. I came across one of their planners while shopping in one of the coolest shops ever The Regional Assembly of Text in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The Non-Planner Datebook is definitely more on the free form end of planners. It’s an “unstructured datebook meant to inspire creativity more than strictly plan your life”.

Little Otsu presents "The Non-Planner datebook"

They have other planners that you can check out at the link above. The thing to know about Little Otsu is that they are an independent publisher and online shop based in Portland, Oregon. They focus on publishing and selling illustrated books & paper goods. Their products are printed in the USA using soy-based inks & 100% post-consumer recycled papers.

This says, "If you are stuck for ideas, maybe it would help to write on an elephant."

Next, the Plan. Write. Remember. series of planners from At-a-Glance. I have the monthly plannerThis planner comes with a grey jacket and inside you have a monthly calendar on one side and a notebook on the other. I added my own tabs and etc. to make it work for me. I can keep an eye on the calendar to know which weekend of events we are talking about (we have events EVERY weekend on Fridays and Saturdays), and then take notes about each weekend via the notebook. (I have the notebook sectioned off into the number of weekends in the semester). If we are brainstorming – great. I use a page for brainstorming in the section for that weekend. As the events start to take shape, I can use the next page in the notebook to make those changes. So it’s not just a tablet of paper in a portfolio.  I have had this notebook/calendar combo for the last two academic years.

Lastly, the organizer I’d like to highlight is my PLANNER PAD. I have been purchasing these planners for around 7 years now. They have everything I require. Yearly view, Monthly View, Weekly View. Room for notes, lists and appointments each day. I have tabs to find each monthly quickly. You can purchase pockets to go on the inside covers. You can purchase a cover for it which will hold a tablet of paper. They have smaller versions, larger versions…you name it. AND you can get your name inscribed on the front. This is my personal favorite and even though I have the Late Nite combo (shown above) that I use for Late Nite meetings – this is the calendar that I take everywhere else. For all major campus wide event meetings. For University committees and meetings with off campus vendors, agencies etc. Read about how the planner works here.

Year Outlook



I would love to hear about YOUR favorite planner. Link a picture too if you want! What are elements that you can’t live without?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s