Monday, December 29, 2014

Planning for 2015 w ARC Disc-Planner by Staples

Keep track of my schedule, as well as my four kids’ with notes on my husband’s significant travel out of town.  Doctor’s appointments, dentist and orthodontist, school, sports, PTA, sorority meetings, birthdays and the random things-to-do and grocery list and notes from various meetings or things that come up.  I need a planner that will keep track of all of that.

Each year, my husband encourages me to go digital. Which – I will admit – I have tried and am starting to like.  I was using Cozi which worked well for my needs – as far as scheduling, anyway, but didn’t sync with the hubby.  So I’m using Google calendar. I like that I can have repeating events, color-code different categories (family, organizations, etc.) and the coolest part that my paper planner can’t do – the reminders that buzz directly on my phone and pop up in the middle of my computer screen to remind me of scheduled appointments and tasks.  Nice. But… still not the same as having that paper planner in my purse to jot down notes or write that calendar item without fumbling with my phone.

At least my annual search for the perfect planner is getting shorter and simpler since I’ve narrowed down my preferences. I’ve determined I like a particular page style – weekly, dated, no printed times.  I like that 5"x7"-ish size for the space.  I’m flexible with the placement of Saturday and Sunday, but generally find that they are placed together, that’s okay.  And I need some blank spaces to write stuff down. Not just grocery lists and to-do lists, but notes I might refer back to.  When I go to programs or church, I take notes. When I’m working on a project, I take notes.  I’ve even jotted down book or blog post ideas while sitting around.  I need somewhere handy to write all this down.

Last year, I found the Arc Customizable System by Staples. I’d been considering it, then I got a coupon for a free one, so I figured, sure why not?  The system is flexible and I liked that.  You choose your cover, the pages, and the discs that hold it all together.  I was concerned that the discs would either fall off or get caught on other things in my purse, or that it would all be too bulky.  Neither happened.  The discs are solidly connected.  Now, it is a bit thicker than the one I had in the previous year (a Moleskin style book), but the page size was the same.  I carry a big purse or tote all the time, so it wasn't to cumbersome and fit well.  It was a good choice - I’m sticking with it for 2015 with a few upgrades.

Refill pages
Dated pages for 2015. One year, I tried to save a few dollars and went with un-dated pages. What a pain. Just another thing to do in an already busy life. Then I messed up one of the dates and was off-track for the rest of the month.  I now always go with dated pages.

Project Planner refill pages. In addition to the regular, lined blank pages I previously used, I liked these for the blank section on the left side to highlight particular action items. Reminds me of the note pages I used in college.

There’s more specialty refills out there, either available from ARC, Martha Stewart (who has a similar system), or online printables – grocery lists, menu planners, to-do lists, exercise trackers. But I’ve found that having all these different pages, doesn’t really help me stay more organized.  I’m sure for some real Type A people, it does, but I do just as well having blank pages that I can use for whatever I want.

One thing I have discovered - its easy to add your own pages to this planner. I have various pages I need to keep on hand - kids' sports schedules, school calendar, organization contact list. I can easily attach these pages in - hole-punch the page, then neatly snip from the edge of the paper to the hole. Perfect fit!  If you like printables for your binder and have a lot of pages, there is also a hole-puncher made for this system.

Pink disks. This is how the whole binder stays together; I switched from black to pink.  And these are a little bit bigger, too, to accommodate more pages.

Sticky tabs.  These are from the ARC system and connect to the disks, so they’re always handy. I use them to mark particular pages and write notes that I don’t want to miss.  And they’re handy not just for the binder, I use them in other notebooks, too.

Clear pockets. These came from my scrapbooking stash. I put in two – one to hold my business cards, one for stamps and random little things like that. I may add another to the back inside for receipts.

Embellishments. More from the scrapbook stash. The plain green cover was getting a bit boring.  Maybe I’ll add a little more later, but this will get me going into 2015.
And I’m done.  I’m ready for 2015!

Are you using a disc-planner system? What upgrades have you added?

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