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Changing Your Planning Style

Posted by Gena Beck on Oct 23, 2019


From the time I can remember, I have always, always, always loved lists, scheduling, and planning. Add to that, notebooks, pens, paper, highlighters, any sort of stationary, and you’ve got a recipe for financial disaster! It is no surprise that teaching was my career calling because aside from the actual love of teaching, I had an excuse to buy and use all this neat stuff! Unlike many others, I even loved the planning part of teaching. (This was before everything changed and the government wanted me to do it their way. Then I decided I’d had enough. I left my full-time teaching job after 26 years, in the summer of 2015.)

Jump ahead to some time in 2017. Although I was no longer teaching full time I was substituting. My son was off at college. My husband had passed away from cancer, and I was living with my significant other, three dogs, and three cats. Not to mention I now had an older home with much less square footage, a barn, pond, hot tub, and more wildlife than I could ever have imagined.  I was a bit over 5 years sober, attending meetings, meeting with my sponsor and sponsoring other women in recovery. Up to this point, I had always used a monthly planner I carried with me, a monthly calendar on the wall at home for myself, husband and son, and my lesson planner for school. I merged all of these frequently, and it worked well. 

I was trying to figure out a planning style that worked for me, now that my way of life had changed drastically. I was especially interested in finding a planner where 18 monthlies were all gathered at the front, with weeklies on two pages further back, and space for me to keep all kinds of notes and lists I wanted to be able to refer back to at any time. I hadn’t been looking for stickers and washi at all, although I had admired and bought some from time to time in my travels through Michael’s, although I really had no idea what I was going to do with them. (They were so CUTE though!!) Anyway, in doing some research, I stumbled upon bullet journaling. I was immediately off to buy my first Leuchtturm1917, and the game was on. 

I started bullet journaling using Ryder Carroll’s method and found I wanted to pretty things up a bit, so I began to search for stickers and stencils. I had fallen down the rabbit hole and didn’t even know it. Suddenly, I was finding bullet journaling spreads (way different than Ryder’s method) on Pinterest, links to places to buy all the things, and I began to BUY, BUY, BUY-and this was before I even discovered the actual planner community. Further and further I went, buying whatever came across my path, with no real forethought to not only what I needed, but what I wanted. Wait a minute, I wanted EVERYTHING!! Then, I discovered there were thousands more like me, if not millions. Didn’t I need everything they had? 

No. I most certainly did not, but I bought it anyway. So, here I sit, with a load of stuff I am not using, and some things I do not even actually care for. (I am working on destashing – both giving away and selling some of the things that no longer bring me joy!) I have spent a ton of money on items I have no room for, clutter my space and overwhelm me more often than I would like to admit. 

I began to think about what I wish I had known/done before I started this journey, and decided I wanted to share some of that with you. I have done my best to narrow it to 10.

  • Before buying anything, follow planner accounts on IG, Pinterest, Facebook, whatever, for a while. (I did not even know this was a thing when I got started.) It can be dangerous because it may make you want all the things, but if you keep the right mindset, it is a great way to explore what you really like. In a cheap notebook, write down whose/what ideas and spreads you like. Look at what shops they use. Record those. Think through what you really want/need. Watch and wait!! (You want me to wait? But I want it now!!)
  • Decide on a planning method/planner you’d like to try. Write out a list of what you might need to get started. KEEP IT SMALL, in case you decide it is not for you. Then, narrow it down some more to what will fit in your budget comfortably. (Budget? I am supposed to have a budget?
  • Many of the shops have PR/Influencer codes. Write them down and use them!! That's what they're there for!
  • CHECK FOR REWARDS!! Especially if the shop has a Shopify account vs. Etsy. Many have great rewards systems. Check to see if they accept your birthdate for additional points. Many of them do. 
  • Find out if the shop has an additional rewards method, like a card that you add special stickers to when you get your order. This is especially true for Etsy shops since they cannot offer rewards the same way it is done on Shopify. 
  • Get on the email list for your favorite shops, if they have one. (This can be dangerous, as it does temp one to buy, but you will get special discounts, shop notices, and perhaps early access!! Choose carefully.) 

***You will definitely want to sign up for the Gilded Press VIP email if you have not already done so!!***

  • FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is real, at least it is for me. Take heed. You do not need everything. Owning everything under the sun will not make you happy. In fact, it has often made me think worse of myself when I look at everything and think, “What in the world have I done?” Just because it is pretty, doesn’t mean you have to have it. (Really?) 
  • Choose some sort of storage/organization method right away. (YouTube is a great place to explore all sorts of sticker storage methods.) Keep this small so you don’t invest way more in it until you have checked if it will work for you. This will help you see what you have and help you (maybe?) not to buy more of something you just cannot possibly use within a reasonable amount of time, or that you’ll never use.  (Enough Fall Kits to last several decades anyone? Anyone?)

I do believe I have fallen down every rabbit hole there is. Among others, I have more regular notebooks and bullet-style notebooks than I will be able to use in the next few years, several Fauxbonichi Weeks, a Hobonichi Weeks, a PP Weeks, a Pink Room Co Weeks, a Living Well Planner, a Recollections Planner, an ECLP, Ring-Bound Planners, Travelers Notebooks, Passion Planner, and lately I have found myself lusting after a Happy Planner . I HAVE PROMISED MYSELF I WILL NOT DO IT!! 

For now, I am actively using a cheapie calendar from Marshall’s that is easy to carry with me, a Leuchtturm1917 for daily notes and records, and a lovely brown leather notebook my boyfriend got me for gratitude journaling. I have refrained (thus far) from decorating any of these. I am using an ECLP as my decorative planner for back planning, simply because it is something I enjoy doing. The ECLP is the only decorative planner I am using right now, because I was getting too stressed out trying to keep too many going at once, and I am DETERMINED to finish out the year in it. I also set up a Foxy Fix Rings planner yesterday to track my PR commitments and posts. We will see how that goes. 


I have sticker kits galore, washi coming out of my ears, enough pens, pencils and markers to supply a school district. I have clips and bows, dangles and bookmarks, washi cards and stamps, and more. There are some things I have just because it makes me happy having them (like a certain collection of pens I adore, traveler’s notebooks I just love so much it makes me happy to look at them, and washi I both use and hoard) and other things I truly need to get rid of since they are not making me happy. In fact, a great deal of them are stressing me out. 

I can honestly tell you I really wish I had waited before buying so much. I have difficulty following my own advice, but I am trying. I am motivated by writing this to try harder. I regret spending so much money on things I do not like and/or will never use. There will always be things I try that I decide are not for me, but it certainly does not have to be so costly.

I am also motivated to devote a full couple of days to place in boxes everything I no longer want or will just not use, and getting rid of it, whether that be through sale or donation. I need to reclaim my space, spend less money, and feel less overwhelmed. Keep your eyes peeled for an epic destash. Wink. Wink. 

What mistakes did you make when starting your “Planning” Journey? What advice would you give to others? I would love to hear from you!!






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1 comment

  • You’re definitely not a lot Jean. Styles change so much; new trends emerge, but also, your personal understanding and appreciation for what you buy develops as time goes on. FOMO most certainly exists in my house too; and goodness, I’ve ended up with too many things that I care to count, because I thought that I needed/wanted it, when really, I just wanted to ‘fit in’… talk about being a sheep!
    I chuckled to myself reading this; it reminded me of a song in the Lilttle Mermaid …
    “I’ve got gadgets and gizmos aplenty
    I’ve got whozits and whatzits galore
    (You want thingamabobs?
    I got twenty)
    But who cares?
    No big deal
    I want more”
    Hehe :p
    Anyway, thank you for sharing the ‘truth’ and for being real. Who knows, maybe 2020 will see some sense… either that, of we will both have run out of money and we will have to cut back and make do, because we simply cannot afford anything more..?? Well, there’s always a kidney for that though, isn’t there? ;)

    Francesca Lobban on

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