A Writer’s Confessions: My Planner Obsession

My name is Charlotte, and I am addicted to planners.

There, I’ve said it.

And, honestly, we probably should add in that I’m addicted to notebooks and journals, too. There is nothing more enticing to me than a notebook stuffed with writing, sticky notes, tabs, and other miscellanea, unless it is an empty notebook waiting to be filled with such things.

But planners occupy a whole different level of enticement. Within them lies possibility, future accomplishment, dreams and visions. And also the means to get you there–boxes to be checked off, lines to be written on, dates to be filled with exciting events.

All the things in the world.

I’ve been known to drop big bucks because of this planner obsession. (Actually, I try not to make it known, because I’d prefer that my husband not understand how much I spend on them.) Advertisers on Instagram and Facebook know my weakness because they shower my streams with ads for the perfect planner–and I click on every damn one.

Because I am always in search of the perfect planner. The one that will solve all my problems. Allow me to accomplish all my goals. Change my life for the better in all ways.

Sometimes I start the year with one planner, convinced it is the best ever, and a month later I’m already searching for another one. Some years I go through three or four. (This is painful and embarrassing to admit.)

But this year is different. And that is because I have given myself permission to use more than one planner. I now have three, and two active journals (three if you count the one I’m writing down my meals in). This is life-changing. And I’ve been able to give myself permission to do this because I’ve discovered the wonderful world of planner videos on YouTube.

You think having three planners and two journals is a lot? You ain’t seen nothing yet.

This woman, for example, uses something like a dozen every year. And more channels like hers abound on YouTube. And I love her because watching her video is what gave me permission to think outside the planner covers. I realize that I’ve always been searching for the one planner that can do it all. But I have a multi-faceted life, with a lot of diverse moving parts, and that just doesn’t work. Even having one journal doesn’t work for me. (And I also am that person with all the tabs open on her computer. Right now I have 30 going. Which is nothing, because I’ve weeded some out. The other day I had 47. My husband almost fainted when I told him that.)

Also–you my have guessed–I’m very right-brained. And right-brainers love having multiple containers be they planners, bags, suitcases, boxes or whatever. Don’t fence us in, people!

So now I shall share with you the planners and journals I’m using and please don’t judge:

  1. The Full Focus Planner from Michael Hyatt. These are for three months at a time, which is an advantage if you decide you don’t like it. But I do like it. So far, it’s the best one I’ve found for keeping track of my day-to-day appointments and to-dos. It has weekly planning pages, and then a double spread for each day. So on one side I can write my to-dos and on the other, notes. I’ve been looking for a planner with this arrangement forever–having that extra room to write notes really makes a difference for me.
  2. The Plot Your Work Writer’s Project Planner. This is specifically for writing and editing and publishing tracking. Plus there is space for planning social media and blogging. I love it. I bought the version punched for the disc system and purchased a cover and discs elsewhere.
  3. Master goal notebook. This isn’t so much a planner as a place to list goals, write down whys, etc. It’s just a cheap-o binder I bought on Amazon ages ago filled with all my ideas for achieving world domination.
  4. A Moleskine journal. Which is where I take notes, write long journal entries, etc. This is the one I grab when I’m heading out to a meeting.
  5. A really cool notebook from nuuna. I’m doing something different with it this year–writing a daily log of what happened the day before. I was inspired by those five year journals but found them a bit cramped. So much happens so quickly that I’m enjoying being able to go back and note what happened. I think it’s also a good practice for writers. I also write down a list of ideas and gratitudes. And, in the back I’m keeping a bullet journal.
  6. Random small journal. Forgot about this one. I always have a small ( 5 by 7-ish) inexpensive spiral by the side of my computer to scrawl notes on, write addresses, etc. Nothing in this needs to be preserved forever, it’s just for the moment.
  7. Plot Your Work Scene-Planning Notebook. Almost forgot this one. It came as a sample when I purchased the Writer’s Project Planner and I like it so much I’ve ordered two more. It’s a place to write down notes for your scenes and I’m finding it invaluable as I rewrite a novel.
  8. Client Notebook. Oh God, I forgot another one. I ordered a Tul disc notebook from to keep all my notes for clients in. I was using index cards but that got overwhelming fast and there wasn’t enough room for a lot of notes. Since this is a disc system, I can add and subtract as needed.

So it may seem that having all these planners and journals would take up a lot of time, but I actually find the opposite is true. I’m far more organized and aware of what I need to do on any given day with this system (if we could go so far as to call it that). And this whole planner thing has reminded me of what I constantly say to writers: do what works for you. If you think I’m nuts for using so many planners, so be it–and I’m happy if you can get your life into one grand book! It doesn’t matter the system, what matters is that it works.

So, tell me–do you use one planner, or multiples? Or none at all? And if the latter, please tell me how you survive in the world.

And here, for your viewing and inspiration pleasure, is the video I watched that started me down the path of multiple planner bliss.

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