How a planner helped me get my sh*t together

How a planner stopped me losing my s**tPaper Plum planners day to day view

Last October, I began to feel like my memory was turning into a sieve. With university, work, blogging, reading, and generally living, everything was becoming a bit too much and I kept forgetting things, so I decided I needed to get a planner.

I would try to write things down, but there would be bits in my phone, bits on emails to myself, bits in different notebooks, so I needed a way to pull that all together.

The ironic thing is that I went to a high school where they gave every student a planner, and it was compulsory to use it. You had to keep track of what homework you had been given, any projects, and even note down how much time you spent on your homework. And I hated it.

I didn’t like using it at all, and I think it’s because I’m one of those people who has to understand why you need to do something rather than just being told to do something. A few years down the line, I can definitely see the benefits of using a planner.

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With so many things to juggle, your average planner was not going to cut it. I began searching the interwebs and came across Paper Plum on Etsy. They sell a range of highly customisable planners for students, teachers, families, wedding planning, general planners, and fitness planners, and the way these planners looked and the whole feel was just so me.

The main thing I was drawn to was how customisable their planners are. I chose the student planner, which gives you:

  • Monthly goals
  • Weekly to do lists
  • Weekly lists of tests of quizzes you need to prepare for
  • Sections for each subject

You can start the planner on any month, and let it run to any month, so mine is November to October. In hindsight, I should have done November 2015 to December 2016, but you live and learn.

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They sell lots of add-ins too, including a blog section which has pages and prompts for planning posts, keeping track of statistics, information about sponsors, and things you want to get done on your blog each month – you can see a few of those above. I like that it encourages me to think about things like any little bits that need doing on my blog, rather than letting it stew in my brain and getting done whenever I happen to think about it while at my laptop.

There’s a whole load of other things you can add to make your planner suit your life, such as: to do lists, fitness planning, cleaning chart, a baby section, sticker sheets, and so on.


How has my planner helped me?

I guess that’s the key point here; has it been worth it? Was it worth the £34 price tag? Definitely.

  • I feel a lot less stressed and up in the air because I know when things are happening
  • I’m keeping on top of my to do lists – and actually making them, and getting things done
  • I feel a lot more prepared in general because I’m aware of what’s happening, when; which lets me split things up instead of leaving it all until the last minute
  • I’m on top of my reading and note taking for classes
  • I can plan my time better
  • I can identify monthly goals – I used to hate doing this at school and college, but I’m all about it now


Is there anything I don’t like?

The only thing I would like to be improved in some way (and I don’t know how, because there’s so much crammed in there already) is a slightly larger to do list space. It can get cramped and look a little messy quite easily, so a bit more space is the only improvement I can think of.


How has it held up?

You should know that I am not one of those people who inexplicably manages to keep stationery pristine despite using it every day; that is my best friend. I am the kid in school who ends up with pencil led over everything in their pencil case, despite trying not to.

In the past couple of months, this planned has been rammed in and out of my university, along with text books, notebooks, lab coats, and snacks, and it’s held up perfectly. The plastic front and back covers protect it and keep it looking neat and clean in general. The ring binders are sturdy and are still looking as good as the day it arrived, so there’s no bent or wonky wires to be seen.


In short: This planner has been so helpful to me and has stopped me losing my s**t. I’ve felt a little stressed a couple of times with deadlines, and I’m certain that I would have turned into a crying mess hiding under the duvet if I did not have this. If your plan is to get more organised in 2016, I cannot recommend Paper Plum’s planners enough.


Do you use any kind of planner?

This is not a sponsored post; I just love this planner so darn much.

  • I love this as I am a serious planner too! I couldn’t live without my planner – it literally keeps my life intact. A must for me 🙂

    • I don’t know how I ever functioned without one. I guess the point is, that I kind of didn’t and was all over the place.

  • Sarah Albertson

    This sounds like something I need in my life! Although I am not nearly as busy as I used to be, I still find myself forgetting all kinds of things. I think I would be so much more productive if I wrote down everything I hoped to accomplish instead of attempting to rely on my own bad memory. I will have to check this site out, I love the customizable aspect!

    • Yeah, my memory felt like a sieve. I just kept forgetting everything, which was so frustrating.

  • I’m in awe of you lovely. I am not this good with a planner but so wish I was. I’ve tried, I can just about keep a basic diary but I think my brain just isn’t that organised. Thanks for the inspiration though. 😉 x

    • Haha, I tried to keep it in my brain but it was not working at all. Different things work for different people.

  • Cat

    Wow, this is SUCH a cool planner!! I love how you can customize it for your specific needs. I also began using a planner in the last four months or so, but I use the Google one. I always used to keep a physical planner, but usually I wouldn’t have it when I need it, plus I’m also a little obsessive compulsive, so scratching things out when plans changed really annoyed me. Now I keep a neat digital one on my computer and phone and it works great.

    Yay for us being grown-ups!

    • I’ve never really taken to using a digital planner. I’ve tried to use the calendar on my phone but it doesn’t work for me for some reason, I’m not sure why.

  • So glad that you are finding your planner to be so beneficial. I’m finding that mine is helping me with my fitness, I want to write all of my workouts in it!

    • That’s a good idea. I bet you feel really accomplished seeing your workouts completed as well.

  • I’m a filofax girl through and through. Love having a planner! It definitely helps with organisation, and it makes me feel more ‘together’ haha!

  • This is a really cool planner. I used to use a diary at school but now I have a teeny handbag so nowhere to put it. I actually use the avocado app as it’s a shared calendar for me and the boyf, we both put all of our stuff into it which means we are always coordinated which is so helpful, as life seems to be so busy!

    Jasmin Charlotte

    • That’s a really good idea. I’ve tried to use online planners and for some reason, I don’t find they work well for me.

  • Seems a really neat planner. I have to be honest, I haven’t used a planner since my university days. I don’t know why, I try to use them and just forget about having them. I tend to rely on using Wudnerlist (an online to do list type thing) that seems to keep me on point but I do miss having somewhere to jot the plans etc down.

    • I think different things work for different people. I’ve tried online lists before but I’m definitely a paper and pen person. If it’s online, I tend to ignore it but I find it harder to ignore a piece of paper looking at me from the table.

  • I love the look of it!
    I don’t use a planner, I’ve tried several times but always ended up abandoning it in a drawer and going back to either my phone or computer or to-do lists. 🙂

    • That’s what I used to do, because all the planners I tried were never quite right for me so it was just a major faff. I’ve tried online things but I find it so easy to ignore them.

  • This planner looks awesome! I’ve seen customized planners like this before but have never bought one. Right now I am using one that I found at Target. For the first few months I was really using it a lot, but then life happened and I stopped writing things down. But I’m using it again, and I love it. Making little notes and reminders has helped me stay on top of things!

    • I know what you mean, it’s easy to fall out of the habit of using one. I always try to make time on Sunday to plan out my week ahead and that encourages me to keep using it and checking it.

  • danniella josephine

    I love planners! 🙂
    I use printables a lot – have you ever been on theorganisedstudent? She does a lot of printables you might find useful 🙂

    Dannie x