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Planner Shopping Wrap-Up: 4 Streamlined Blog Posts to Help You Find the Perfect Planner

3 Jan

We know how crazy it can get trying to find your perfect planner before the new year. If you don’t have a format you already know and love, the sheer variety available can be a little overwhelming. That’s why we’re here – to help! Below are four of our most popular blog posts detailing the best ways to find your most perfect planner for 2013.

Learn to Love Planner Shopping With 5 Guidelines to Choosing Your Ideal Planner

  • “Nothing is better than the thrill of picking out a new planner.  However, with so many planners to choose from, which one is right?  As exciting as it is, it can also get overwhelming, and you may just pick up the first one you see.  But that may not be the best idea.  If you take the time to pick out a good planner, you will relish using it.” Read more …

The Practically Perfect Planner: Determining the Right Planner(s) for You

  • “For more years than I care to count, I had the messiest planner on the planet.  It was no wonder I really couldn’t find anything when I needed it or that I ended up missing appointments and other important deadlines. Then, suddenly, I realized something. I played many roles in my life: wife, mother and daughter, full-time freelance writer and author, friend, and volunteer. Why in the world did I think that I could keep all of the details that went with each of these in the same planner? I needed separate planners!” Read more …

Matchmaking Datebooks: Finding the Right Planner for You

  • “As the year comes to a close, the organized among us will be looking for new planners (and the unorganized likely will receive planners as gifts). Whether you’re using a planner to remember school assignments or to plan out a busy day at work, there is a format perfectly suited to your needs. Each planner is different because each person is different. Learning about each format can help you decide which one fits your personality and your needs.” Read more …

The Perfect Planner Refill: Quo Vadis & Exacompta 2013 Refills by Size

  • “We know that feeling: you fall head over heels for your perfect planner at the beginning of a year, you use it within an inch of its life, and … the new year is almost here. Panic mode! What if you can’t find the right refill? We’ve got you covered with some of the most popular and well-regarded planner refills from Quo Vadis and Exacompta. In the list on our blog, we’ve broken out all their refills we carry by their height, so it’s easier for you to find the right one!”Read more …

Have any tips or tricks for planner shopping? Share them in the comments below! And if you still need to shop for a planner yourself, check out our full 2013 selection here.

Learn to Love Planner Shopping With 5 Guidelines to Choosing Your Ideal Planner

5 Jul

Nothing is better than the thrill of picking out a new planner.  What color, type, and brand should you get?  However, with so many planners to choose from, which one is right?  As exciting as it is, it can also get overwhelming, and you may just pick up the first one you see.  But that may not be the best idea.  If you take the time to pick out a good planner, you will relish using it.

Planners and Datebooks on EuropeanPaper.com

When picking out a planner, you should take several things into account beforehand.  What size do you want?  How about a planner for business or personal use?  What kind of design do you prefer, something classic, or something that reflects your personality?  How much money are you willing to spend?  Do you require special function areas – like a pouch, contacts, To Do list, or a notes section?  Do you want a refillable one?

So many options exist, so let us get started!

Size

I generally start with the feature that is the most important to me – size.  You can get planners that can fit into the back pocket of your jeans, get tossed into a small purse or the size of a book!  How do you plan on using your planner?  Do you keep your life in your planner?  If so, something sturdy and relatively bigger would be easier to write all the details in.  Do you prefer to keep your planner at home?  I keep stamps, maps, stationery, pictures of my family and random musings in the pockets of my planner.  So I wanted something that I could toss into an everyday purse!  And on days when I want to streamline, I take index cards and write out my day so I can keep track of my life.

Design 

Ahhhh, design.  You can find planners with Hello Kitty designs to planners that are a solid black/brown/red.  Design reflects personality.  I personally chose a black planner but I have added my own personal touches to it, by adding pictures, and inspirational quotes on the inside. I can still be professional while maintaining my own personality!

Money

Planners can cost from a simple $1 to leather, refillable planners that retail at $500.  How much money are you willing to spend is entirely dependent on your preferences.  You can find a moderately priced, sturdy planner for around $30.  Make sure it has everything you want and then shop around; there are some amazing planners out there for a steal!

Special Functions

What are the little extras you want?  Most planners come with the standard contacts/addresses area and perhaps a page or two for notes.  Do you want a pocket to stash business cards, notes, stamps, stationery?  Do you want a special projects page?  If those extra features matter to you, make sure you look at planners that have those first.

Refillable

Another option is getting a refillable planner and just update the inside paper sections every year.  Those can be convenient and, if you invest in a good quality planner early on, can last you for years.  You can add pockets for business cards and envelopes for your everyday bric a brac, too.

At the end of the day, the planner that you pick is the one that speaks to you.  As long as it holds everything you need it to hold, you have picked the right one.

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Meet the Writer: Akhila Jagdish is a writer and editor in the process of starting her own editorial services company, The Crafted Word. She loves making lists, collecting journals, reading, drinking wine and cooking. 

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5 Tips for Effective Travel Planning With Your Academic Planner

15 Jun

With hectic home lives and crazy work schedules, planning a trip can seem like a daunting task. However, an academic planner can help you do all the legwork well in advance – so all that’s left to do is enjoy the journey! Plus, since an academic planner is built to accommodate summer, it’s the perfect planner to outline summer vacation plans.

Block Out Dates

The first step to using your academic planner to plan your travels is to pick the dates and block them out on your planner. Because you’re able to work far in advance with an 18-month planner, you can plot out all the trips you’re planning and prevent accidentally double booking yourself. Cross out the dates or highlight them in a specific color so that you don’t overlap commitments.

Schedule To-dos

Once you have your trip dates blocked out, use your planner to schedule the entire trip’s to dos. Start with the date of the trip and back up. For example, if you want to start pricing flights four weeks before you travel, flip four weeks before your departure date and write, “Price out flights.” If you want to wait to book the flight until two weeks before (for enough time to check for that last-minute screaming deal), flip two weeks after you put the pricing note and write, “Book flights.” Follow these same steps for each task – booking a hotel, renewing your passport, buying traveler’s insurance, and so on.

Track Your Budget

You know how much you have budgeted for your trip. Jot that amount down on the day you depart. Each time you spend money on the trip – paying for the flight, buying a new bathing suit, or picking up sunscreen – subtract that amount from the total. You can even calculate estimates for your expenses as you plan the trip. For example, back up to the date you decided to start pricing flights. Use that page to write notes on how much the flight will be on various airlines so that when you go to purchase the tickets, you have a budget reference. Bonus: If you don’t spend as much as you anticipated in the planning stages, you’ll have a balance to use for extra souvenirs!

Create Lists

In addition to planning your dates, to dos, and budget, you can use your academic planner to create lists for each aspect of your trip. If you jot the lists on the day you need to do them, you’ll stay organized and won’t forget crucial information. On your planner page for the day before you depart, start a packing list. Even if the trip is eight months away, if you think of something – don’t forget extra camera batteries – write it down.

Get Creative

Use the notes pages in your planner to get creative. Paste images of your destination on the notes pages to motivate and inspire you. During your trip, use the pages to journal or scrapbook about your adventures. And when the trip is through, add your favorite pictures from the trip and archive the planner.

Using your 12 or 18-month planner can help you plan your trip down to the details in advance. You won’t be scrambling around the night before your flight leaves, trying to remember everything you wanted to bring!

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 Meet the Writer:Maggie Marton is a freelance writer who lives in Bloomington, Indiana, with her husband and their three darling dogs. View more of Maggie’s work at MaggieMarton.com

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The Practically Perfect Planner: Determining the Right Planner(s) for You

10 Jan


For more years than I care to count, I had the messiest planner on the planet. (That achievement did not earn me a single award, however—unless you count ongoing confusion.) I had arrows and scratch outs, pieces of paper stuffed in every corner, schedules taped in the back and reminder notices clipped to pages. It was no wonder I really couldn’t find anything when I needed it or that I ended up missing appointments and other important deadlines.

Then, suddenly, I realized something. I played many roles in my life: wife, mother and daughter, full-time freelance writer and author, friend, and volunteer. Why in the world did I think that I could keep all of the details that went with each of these in the same planner? I needed separate planners! Since then, I have developed four that I use on a daily basis:

  • Family: This planner has large pages for the month as a whole, plus individual pages for the days of the month. I use separate columns for everyone in my family. I put their names at the top of each column and under them; I keep track of appointments, class and job schedules, and upcoming plans. I keep a schedule of current classes taped in back so I don’t forget which child needs to be in which class on which day and time. Other important papers go in folders as well, such as tickets, invitations, and appointment cards for upcoming dentist or doctor’s visits.
  • Work: My work planner is much different. I use it to keep track of upcoming deadlines on articles, steps involved in writing books, interviews that I am either giving or receiving and more. The days are broken down into individual hours so I can map out each portion of my work day. The back area is used for editors’ contact information,
  • Purse: I keep a small planner in my purse with the bare bones of info in it, such as emergency numbers and major activities coming up. This way, when I run into friends at the local thrift store and they say, “HEY! Let’s have coffee on Friday,” I can quickly check my planner to see if that day is free and if so, what time.
  • Me: I also have a personal ME planner that is designed to be more like a diary or journal than anything else. This is for concerns, questions, worries, reminders—and just thoughts I don’t want to lose.

Along with these planners, I also encourage each of my kids to use an academic planner to help keep track of their own assignments and plans.

Wait a minute. What did I just hear? Oh, that was you. Something muttered under your breath about, “Who has the time … ”  or “Four planners means four times more effort” … (You thought I couldn’t hear you, didn’t you?)

I completely understand your concerns, but what you will find, after a little period of trial and error, is that these planners will actually save you time, rather than take it. By keeping all of your relevant information in a central location, you don’t spent minutes scrambling to find papers, contact information, dates, times or other always-seems-hard-to-put-your-finger-on details. You don’t drive to the wrong place at the wrong time. You don’t miss an appointment and then have to find another open time period to reschedule it. Best of all, you simply won’t FORGET stuff—and that is one of the biggest time wasters of all.

What is the practically perfect planner for you? Consider the fact that it simply may be more than one.  Take a moment to write down what qualities you want in a planner and then start searching for the one that fits that list best. If you’re like me, you may find that multiple planners will keep you more organized than you ever thought possible!

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 Meet the Writer: Tamra Orr is a full time writer and has written more than 300 books for readers of all ages. She is also mom to four and writes an average of 50 letters or more a month.

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10 Fun and Quirky Upcycling Ideas for Last Year’s Planner

3 Jan

Most people stick their old planner on a shelf, wait a couple of years, and then toss it out. If that works for you, go for it! But if you want to try something different with last year’s planner, consider one of these 10 suggestions – all with minimal DIY know-how required.

  1. File it. Okay, so some people do need to file their old planners. Before you do, though, make it useful. Label the spine with the year. Mark pages that had important events or critical phone numbers. Make it navigable before you stick it on that shelf, and it’s more likely you’ll actually reference it in 2012.
  2. Make a secret box.Love the pretty cover of your 2011 planner? Use it! Flip open the front cover. With a straightedge and a pen, measure out a square on the first page of your 2011 planner leaving at least a half-inch margin the whole way around. Use a razor or X-Acto knife to cut out the square (through all the pages).
    Planner party decor.

    #3: Planner party decor.

    You now have a secret trinket box that will look pretty on your desk or nightstand.

  3. Planner party decor. Coat the pages with colorful or glittery paint. Once dry, shred and use as confetti.
  4. Gaze at your year as a decorative paper wreath. Follow this simple Book Page Wreath Tutorial with your planner pages to create chic decor out of 2011.
  5. Day planner to art journal conversion.Without having to rip, cut, or shred the pages, your planner can be the base for a fabulous art journal. Create works of art on each page using images from magazines, stamps, paint, decoupage, or whatever your preferred medium.

    The easiest DIY project ever: Turn your 2011 planner into a coloring book.

    The easiest DIY project ever: Turn your 2011 planner into a coloring book.

  6. The easiest DIY project ever: Turn your 2011 planner into a coloring book. Hand it to a young child along with a box of markers, chalk, or Crayons. They’ll know what to do.
  7. Hardcover hack. Convert a hardcover into a PDA/eReader cover. You’ll need a knife, scrap fabric, a few inches of elastic, and glue. Remove the pages with a knife, but don’t damage the spine. Cut an old t-shirt or scrap of fabric to the fit the inside cover. Set your device on top of one piece of fabric. Stretch a piece of elastic over the device’s corner to the back of the fabric. Secure the elastic in place with hot glue, a couple of stitches, or even a staple. Repeat for all four corners. Adhere the fabric to the planner cover, and you’re done! Just make sure everything is totally dry before you insert your device.
  8. Shred the pages of your 2011 planner and use them as package stuffing.
  9. Great year? Turn your planner into a “Yay, me!” file. Mark all the highlights from your year with colorful sticky tabs. Landed a huge account? Tab the day you scored the client. Received a promotion? Flag that day. When you hit a rough spot in 2012, flip through your tabbed planner and remember all your wins from the previous year.
  10. Bad year? Build an effigy to a horrible 2011. Tear out the pages and toss them into a bonfire or fireplace. Say goodbye to each bad day so you can face 2012 with a clean slate!

I maintain an organized shelf of past planners, all labeled and flagged. Yet, as I compiled this list, I realized that I rarely (never?) reference them. In January, I’m going to create a paper wreath with my 2011 planner, and I converted my 2010 into an art journal. Now that I have this list, I will start finding fun uses for all my past planners that have been collecting dust.

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 Meet the Writer:Maggie Marton is a freelance writer who lives in Bloomington, Indiana, with her husband and their three darling dogs. View more of Maggie’s work at MaggieMarton.com

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Matchmaking Datebooks: Finding the Right Planner for You

13 Dec

As the year comes to a close, the organized among us will be looking for new planners (and the unorganized likely will receive planners as gifts). Whether you’re using a planner to remember school assignments or to plan out a busy day at work, there is a format perfectly suited to your needs. Each planner is different because each person is different. Learning about each format can help you decide which one fits your personality and your needs.

Daily Format

For those who like to focus on short-term goals and plot out each day carefully there are daily planners. In these types of planners, you are provided with one page per day. This will give you plenty of room to pencil in all of your agenda items for the day in question. Each page usually contains an hour-by-hour breakdown of the day for the most detail-oriented. If it’s important for you to remember dates, some daily planners come equipped with each day’s number on the page. If that’s not important to you, or you simply don’t prefer it, planners also come in the undated variety.

You might ask yourself why anyone would want a planner that was undated. With pages that have no labeled dates, a planner can become a journal that forces you to stay within the bounds of a year still with 365 pages. In this format, you don’t have to use just one page for each day. Instead, you can use multiple pages for note-taking regarding one very eventful day and then skip days without important occurrences. If you’d rather not be tied down to just one page per day, an undated planner would be a good fit for you.

Daily Planner Suggestions:

Moleskine daily planners come in an assortment of colors and styles. Moleskine’s daily planners also come in pocket size and standard diary size and are offered in many different colors, as well as hardcover or soft cover.

Quo Vadis planners are bound in handsome grained leatherette and come in pocket size as well as standard size. The Quo Vadis planners are also refillable and their pages come from paper made in sustainable forests, making them the best option for the eco-conscious.

Leuchtturm’s daily planner is offered in a hardcover version that boasts interior pages made from acid-free, archival paper.

The Exacompta Journal 21 Datebook comes in a standard size with a soft, leatherette cover. Its pages, too, are refillable and are made from sustainable forests.

Weekly Format

Perhaps, for you, daily planners focus too much on the minutiae of each day. If this is true, weekly planners may be best for you. In most formats, a set of two pages is devoted to one week of the year. These can come in either vertical or horizontal format — a distinction that refers to the orientation of each week’s block of space on the page. Other planners devote only one page to a week, providing for a more compact planner.

Vertical planners with an hour-by-hour breakdown allow you to plan each and every moment of their day. These planners are perfect for the busiest people who need to squeeze every bit of time from each day. If, on the other hand, you need to remember only the most important events of each day—like when big projects are due, or crucial meetings—the horizontal format is more suited for you. This format gives you room to jot down events with accompanying times and locations to remember. If you find that you need to take notes during these events—such as business meetings or college advising appointments—you can choose the planner plus notes format, which is a week on the left page, and lines on the right page for notes.

Weekly Planner Suggestions:

Moleskine’s lines of weekly planners include both horizontal and vertical formats and come in all sizes and colors, as well as both hardcover and soft cover. Moleskine’s weekly planners also come in a cahier (pronounced Cai-Yhay) format, which offers an inexpensive option for shoppers.

As with Exacompta’s daily planners, the weekly planners are all refillable. Quo Vadis, too, offers refillable pages and their planners come in handsome “President” and “Minister” formats.

Leuchtturm’s offering in the weekly planner category is a hardcover, standard sized format with a choice of six colors for the cover. Finally, Rhodia offers its eco-friendly “webplanner” in a small size as well as a medium size.

Monthly Format

If you’d rather have a more long-term outlook, monthly planners are for you. Customarily, monthly planners are laid out with one month per every two pages. These planners can come either in a vertical format, opening like any other book, or in horizontal format that opens in a checkbook format. The large squares of a calendar layout provide ample room to schedule events and take notes in each day’s box. Because these planners lay out the entire month in two pages, they are the quintessential planner to see a large scope of time in a quick glance.

Monthly Planner Suggestion:

Moleskine offers a soft cover monthly planner in a large size. This planner is laid out in the vertical style and devotes two pages to each month. Between months there are lined pages on which you can take notes.

No matter what format or brand you choose, a planner is essential for getting your affairs in order for 2012. As for me, though I prefer to take life one day at a time, I find it most convenient to use a weekly format planner with note pages. That way, I can see the entire week on one page and have my cadre of post-it notes plastering the note pages. What kind of planner do you prefer?

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 Meet the Writer: Mary Egan is a recent graduate of Lewis University and is currently interning with a publishing company in Chicago; she also has more pens and notebooks than she knows what to do with. She is the founder of the Jet Fuel Review, a student-run literary journal, and still blogs for them at Lewis Lit Journal.

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Foolproof Tips for Organizing Large Projects in Your Planner

25 Oct

My planner is my lifeline. I bet you feel the same about yours, too. Without diligence, though, it can become a mess: over-stuffed with sticky notes, lists and meeting notes jotted on random pages; receipts stuffed in the front cover; phone numbers scrawled across the margins.

Get Organized with EuropeanPaper.comPlanners should keep us on track, but our planners can derail our best intentions simply because we’re not using them effectively. You use your planner to set goals, budget your time, and schedule to-dos. For bigger projects, a planner allows you to map the tasks associated with the successful completion of those projects. Yet, when it comes to those bigger projects, many of us make one mistake with our planners that can cause last-minute scrambles or even missed deadlines.

Whether you use a daily, weekly, or monthly format, there is a simple fix to this common error: Schedule backwards. With this process, you can focus on a strategic action plan rather than a seemingly endless list of to-dos.

You receive an assignment, so you mark the due date in your planner. It seems logical, right? But if you continue to plan for projects to run smoothly and on time, you are setting yourself up for failure by only putting in the deadline date.

Let’s say your boss gives you two weeks to put together a sales presentation. On the day it was assigned or on a separate sheet of paper:

  • Break the project down into all the individual tasks associated with completing that project (gather numbers from team, create slide deck, meet with accounting, write talking points, etc.).
  • Batch similar tasks together to conserve time where possible.
  • Number the tasks (or batches) in the order in which they need to be completed.
  • Next to each task, write down the amount of time you estimate that the project will take.

Flip to the day before the due date. Write on that early date that the project is due. That way, if snags or problems occur, you’ll have some padding built in, and if all goes well, you’ve given yourself an extra day to run through your talk. And if you’re working on a project with other people, it’s smart to plan for an additional padded day just in case you have to pick up slack for team members.

With the list of tasks, schedule backwards. Place the last of the numbered items on your calendar, moving backwards in time. Pad each task by a few hours or even a day, if your schedule allows. This also helps define priorities in your planner, so when you come across scheduling a task on a day you have another project or event, you can move the task ahead or star it as a high priority.

Bonus: Because you pad the deadlines for each project or task that comes in, when things do run smoothly, you’ll find yourself with pockets of empty, unscheduled time. Use those moments to clean out and organize your planner so that you start your next project with a clean slate.

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 Meet the Writer:Maggie Marton is a freelance writer who lives in Bloomington, Indiana, with her husband and their three darling dogs. View more of Maggie’s work at MaggieMarton.com

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