7 reasons to be a planner nerd

Simply put: I'm a pen/pencil and paper person. (More accurately, I prefer pen over pencil)

Not sure why it is like this. Maybe it's because it adheres to my personal learning modality? Easily.

(And I wouldn't even know about any if this had I not been a professional educator in my previous leg of my career. Still, knowing information like learning modality is useful for anybody to better know themselves so they can go about life with a little greater ease.)

Being a planner nerd is about more than paper

I have earnestly tried to use digital organization tools (read: putting everything in my phone) to track, record (for later recall), schedule, etc. things in/of my life and time but... nothing really works quite like good old fashioned writing on paper.

When I actually write stuff down, these are most of the reasons why I do it...
  1. Things I want to happen are way more likely to happen and they even happen when I actually want them to. This means: goals are attained and personal successes really occur.
  2. I am remarkably more organized in most other areas (but not all areas) of my life. 
  3. My anxiety/frustration levels are so much lower (on the whole) because I anticipate things enough to be prepared for them no matter if they occur how/as I planned OR they end up falling apart but still end up happening
  4. Putting things on paper actually saves me real money and just as much (actual) time.
  5. I remember so much more of what/how I honestly should be remembering in order for me to: "do life" more effectively. It makes me so much more fully present, focused, and personally invested and intentional no matter what task is at hand and/or what time is required of me.
  6. There is a whole community of people very much like me (meaning: lots of other folks also love to "write stuff down), and we all feel like we are "in it together" with "it" being defined as trying to figure out the best/most productive/efficient/worthwhile way to write stuff down in order to make sh!t happen.
  7. It's purposeful and is very personally EMPOWERING for whatever I am trying to do even if it seems like the smallest and most menial thing that somehow can seem end up being overwhelming because when it all adds up (at any given time), it can/will be a lot to "deal with."

Technology isn't the enemy

I fully acknowledge that we are in the digital age and using a paper planner is decidedly archaic. I'm beyond the point of concern for if/when anybody thinks this of me though. Additionally, I'm really "into" paper planning.  Seriously...

Below is an instructional video I did that has close to 26K views. And this video isn't even my most viewed one! There is another about educational/teacher planning that has over 73K views.

Please don't call this a passion project

Doing paper planning is not something I am necessarily "passionate" about. It's so much more than that. 

Way back when I was a high school teacher, I was regularly frustrated with seeing student after student struggle with their studies because they lacked even the most rudimentary skills to effectively plan for their times and tasks. It was amazing to me that even the highest caliber students would even admit that it took until their junior year (at the minimum) to finally figure out methods that would actually work for them to properly strategize for studying, writing papers, balancing their activities with school, part-time jobs, and academic demands.

I talked to my colleagues about the issue and they admitted that while we all could see that it was a major root of a problem that barred a lot of our students from individualized academic success, there absolutely was not any time in order to teach organizational and executive functioning skills more specifically. To that end, I did my best, in the extra time that I would try and allot, to do supplementary teaching to as many students as I could on this topic. I also did serious academic research (including brain science studies) and collaborated with the school's educational psychologist about the best practices (and most age and developmentally appropriate) for the students to learn in ways that would generously afford them greater advancement in their studies.

I took all of what I was discovering and tried to teach as many students as I could different systems and approaches they could try in order to cultivate and develop organic processes for them to learn better, organize more effectively, process information more quickly, and (ultimately) mitigate the anxieties they were dealing with because of the demands of their own academic aspirations.

I'm delighted to say that all of the work paid off for my students. As they tried out different things that I showed them, they said that it was working and making a huge difference. They were less stressed, felt more naturally focused, and seeing actually measurable improvement in their grades and academic performance. 

I'm not the only one committed to "planning all the things"
There is a whole community accessible by the social media hashtag #PlannerCommunity.  After I accidentally stumbled into this "world" that - continues to naturally expand itself - I tried my best to share what I had been doing with just my students with as many other people as possible and apply the methods/approaches to life, family, career and work life management. I did this with the youtube channel I started that has been mostly devoted just to paper planning of all kinds. The type of planning that I tried to create content on was mostly in the category of "functional planning."  This means it was a lot more geared to practicality and efficiency as much as it should be functional in the most everyday way possible...

Opening an Etsy shop just made sense

There are a lot of ways to do functional planning but I found that there were certain "tools" and materials that seemed to be more effective than others. One thing in particular that has made a difference was me taking all of the research and teaching I have done to design planner inserts and planner stickers (that's right... stickers or even labels, if that makes more sense) so that visually "coding" whatever plans you would have is that much more dimensional. (Here's my etsy shop.)

There are also a ton of other shops out there that sell all different types of planner page inserts as much as planner stickers. I sell what I design and what I firmly believe (and specifically use in my own planner set-ups) items that I aim to be budget friendly as much the most effective for visual planning and coding. 

My shop (that I share with my daughter because we design and fabricate all the etsy shops together as a team) is the smallest of small businesses compared to a lot of other planner goodies etsy shops but it's been a great way to connect with others, build real relationships, and also truly help those who realize that planning on paper can and does make a huge difference in life. 

Planning is more than just planning

So all of this is to say that planning has made a huge difference for me as much as others. It's probably even fair to say that I offered way more than just seven easy reasons to give paper planning a nod. Even if it seems totally dorky and nerdy though? *shrug* I'm just as much OK with that. I'll gladly be a nerdy dork or dorky nerd who is really into paper planning.