Today I have a different sort of post for you as I’ve had questions about my planner when I’ve showed it on social media. So I’m going to go through everything I use to plan my life. This isn’t the most cost effective way of planning, but this method is best for me as it really helps with my anxiety. I have bought everything myself, and I’ll link to every shop I mention. I do tend to wait for sales as I don’t have a big budget, but many of these stores have regular sales, which is good for me. If the product I mention isn’t available in the store, then just email them. Most of these brands are really small single-person businesses who are happy to help if you just ask.
I use a personal size ring planner (sometimes referred to as medium sized), as it is a good size for me. I really like that I can customise what is inside it, and move it all around by just opening the rings. It also means I don’t need to repurchase a full planner every year, as I can reuse the planner and just buy new inserts. The planner I use is a Color Crush personal size ring planner from Webster’s Pages. Mine is yellow with white dots, but it was limited edition – there are lots of other colours available still, including the white with gold spots and patent pink that I also looked at getting. I also have Fuchsia A5 Color Crush planners from Webster’s Pages that I use for blog planning and used for health planning (while I was overseas for treatment).
I chose Webster’s planners as they confirmed that all of their planners are faux leather and suitable for vegans. Many of the popular brands (like Kikki K) use real leather, and if they have a vegan friendly product, it’s often childish or not good quality. I have found the Webster’s planners to be good quality and their customer service was great. They sent me out a brand new planner when the one I bought had rings that didn’t join properly. I bought mine from Blitsy, but there are various retailers that sell Webster’s Pages, including Carefully Crafted which is an Australian site with lots of Webster’s planners. I have found that vegan A5 planners are easier to find than personal planners, but others places you can get both from are Chasing Planner Peace and Carpe Diem Planners from Simple Stories (both sell faux leather planners). I bought empty planners as I wanted specific inserts, so it was less wasteful getting an empty planner than a boxed set.
Before I get into the inserts that I use, I will go over some basic items that I put in my planner. I use planner dividers from Nati Planning, which they don’t sell anymore, however there are lots of other shops on Etsy that do. I know that Chasing Planner Peace and Aussie Planner Chick are both making dividers at the moment. You can also buy branded ones or even make your own planner dividers (there are templates out there that you can buy to make this easier). I use Carpe Diem planner bookmarks that mark the month and day that I’m on, so I can easily flip to them. I bought both of my personal and A5 makers from Scrapboutique but there are lots of planner markers on Etsy too. Que and Co have cute gold ones that you can purchase individually – and they perfectly match their foiled planner inserts. I keep a notepad in the back of my planner, to easily jot down notes quickly. I bought mine from Sugarloop on Etsy, but most planner brands also sell their own to match their planners. I also have a mini ‘to do’ notepad from Sugarloop that sits in the front of my A5 blog planner. I like having a lot of note paper, so I also have a whole section in my planner that is for notes. I have Nati Planning notes inserts for that, but any planner insert shop will sell them.
For monthly planning I have inserts that are the yearly overview of the months as well as inserts that show each month in detail. My yearly overview inserts are from Nati Planning. I also just got inserts that are the yearly overview showing each new moon and full moon. They are online printable inserts from Thunderpeep Printables on Etsy (I’ll explain how I do that later in this post). I like having the full moons marked and easy to find for health reasons, but I know there are lots of people who do it for cultural, religious or hobby reasons, and these will work for those too.
I buy my monthly overview inserts from Chasing Planner Peace. I get the Personal Size Month On Two Pages Colourful Inserts and the A5 Colourful Monthly Calendar Planner Inserts. I like the extra colour on these inserts, but Chasing Planner Peace also sells plain ones, as do Nati Planning and Aussie Planner Chick.
Instead of writing the important events into each daily box on my monthly overview inserts, I use stickers. I find that it is much easier to see what I have going on each day this way. Any important details about the day/event get written in the notes tab on the right side of each month. The stickers I use for my monthly inserts are the Tiny Icons from Peacefulmind Design. The ones I use the most in my personal planner are the payday flags, recycling/rubbish, doctor/dentist, and balloons (to mark birthdays), but there are stickers for almost anything you can think of – like hobbies, sport, food, household, pets, beauty, social media, travel, work, events, etc. In my A5 blog planner, I mainly use the Instagram and laptop Peacefulmind Design Tiny Icons. I get each design in the rainbow colour so that my planner is colourful, but you could also get each sticker in a particular colour so that each event type is easy to see by what colour it is.
My weekly planning is very different now to how I started planning in the beginning. When I started planning many years ago, I would use the horizontal insets that come standard with most planners. Those inserts do work fine, but I found that I wasn’t using my planner to look up what was happening. So I shifted to vertical planning in my personal planner, in particular, vertical inserts that could utilise Erin Condren stickers. Many insert shops now make a style like this, but my favourite are the Chasing Planner Peace Personal Size Weekly Erin Condren Style Boxes inserts. The Erin Condren planners are the most popular planner in the planning community, so the vast majority of stickers made, are made to fit the EC boxes. Erin Condren planners are however quite big, and they’re spiral bound, so they’re just not my sort of planner. The personal size ring bound EC style inserts are perfect for me, as I get the right size and functionality as well as all the stickers. Using stickers is a great way for me to sit down and relax without stressing about the world around me, and it means that I check my planner every day, so I always know what I have coming up. I utilise the mindfulness techniques that I have learnt when placing stickers in my planner to really get the most anxiety reduction from it.
Black Wombat make a range of event stickers that I have repurchased for years now. Every year, I buy 4 different sheets of their holiday headers range, as it’s a great way for me to mark all the public holidays, events and awareness days during the year. The sheets I buy are the Holiday Headers, Aussie Public Holidays, Events and Observances and the Awareness and Ribbon Day planner stickers. They also sell stickers that are for school and university terms and school holidays as well as custom word headers so you can have whatever you need. They are all sized to fit EC boxes, so they work perfectly with my inserts.
I fill up my whole week with stickers, and the easiest way for me to do that is to buy stickers kits meant for the Erin Condren planners. They’re sold as weekly kits, but I get at least three weeks out of each kit as my planner is much smaller than the EC ones. Quite a few sticker shops now actually sell sticker kits designed for EC style personal planner inserts, so they’re nice to use too. Most weeks last year were filled with Little Miss Paperie stickers, as I loved the style of her kits. I still have a lot of them to use, but she has mostly shut up shop now, and the few kits she does release, she only releases as a full kit (so you can’t just purchase the sheets you need), and she uses premium matte now, rather than removable. Her kit designs are still some of my very favourites, but now I tend to buy my kits from Nicole Hutch Designs. She has the a-la-carte option for each kit, which allows me to just buy the pages I need and not waste the ones I don’t, and she has pretty designs. I am always looking for new stores to get sticker kits from, but I’m really picky with the styles I like, and the paper I want. Some Australian shops that I have purchased from and that make EC style kits are Planner Envy GO (matte or glossy), Anything Planning, Nati Planning (premium matt or vinyl stickers), Plan It Beautiful (vinyl or matte), and a couple of years ago I had a lot of GPSticker Studio kits (vinyl or matte), but I stopped buying when the stickers changed to be more realistic, however it might be a style you like. I’m also not a big fan of photographic sticker kits, but they’re out there if you like them, and easy enough to find on Etsy.
Stickers come printed on various materials. The most common are removable matte, premium matte, glossy and vinyl (matte or glossy). The quality between stores of each type can be very different as there are lots of sticker paper suppliers. My favourite sort is the removable matte as they’re removable, so I can easily re-position them if I make a mistake, and they’re easy to write on – this is however the dullest paper when it comes to vibrancy of the ink colour. Some removable matte papers can be really low in quality, but some are really nice. Premium matte is not removable but it has more vibrancy than removable matte. Glossy has a glossy finish, which means only certain pens can be used, and it is not removable, whereas vinyls are removable but you need to use a permanent marker style of pen to write on them.
My favourite hand drawn stickers are from Fox and Cactus. They make the cutest animal and character stickers. Their range of Kawaii Girls has lots of activities covered, from housework to exercise to self care, as well as anxiety and sick girls. My favourite Fox and Cactus stickers will come as no surprise though, I love the Crazy Dog Lady Kawaii Girl stickers, the Nope Blanket Dog stickers (they’re a new design) and the holiday themed dog stickers that are only available around certain holidays like Halloween and Christmas. Quite a while ago, I won a custom pet sticker and got Emma to make me stickers of Pickles which I still cherish. I really want to get some for Kobi and Bonsai too, but they’re too busy now to do custom stickers unfortunately. Sugarloop also make hand-drawn stickers, which are a very different style to that of Fox and Cactus but still very cute. They have more functional items, and lots of cute stickers for bullet journaling. Many planner sticker shops sell pre-made designs, but there still quite are a few hand-drawn stickers on Etsy.
Other Planner Inserts
Most people will have some sort of yearly, monthly and weekly inserts in their planner, but the rest depends on the person. As I mentioned previously, I have a whole section for notes, using Nati Inserts, but I also have sections for important dates, passwords and discount codes. My current important dates inserts are from Chasing Planner Peace, but I will probably buy Aussie Planner Chick Personal Size Perpetual Planner Calendar inserts next time. I like this style of insert to mark birthdays, anniversaries and any important dates like dog gotcha days. My Password Keeper inserts are from Chasing Planner Peace and my Discount Code Tracker inserts from from Aussie Planner Chick. I don’t get a lot of use out of either of these anymore, but I haven’t figured out what other inserts I would use more often. There are a huge range of insert types available out there including daily planners, to do lists, habit trackers, purchases and online shopping trackers, gift ideas, meal planning, health and pain trackers, exercise trackers, housework trackers, as well as savings, budget, bill and debt trackers. Some stores even sell bundles for certain situations like study bundles, wedding bundles, and illness/disability bundles. Some stores even offer custom inserts so you can get exactly what you want.
Any inserts that are available to buy printed, will be available in a similar style from another store that offers printable inserts. Buying printable inserts and making them yourself is easier than you might think. To print them, I go to Officeworks, then trim them to shape (or you can have Officeworks print them on A5 paper), and then hole punch them myself. Years ago I purchased the pu-462 Adjustable Six Hole Punch on amazon. It’s a Japanese product, so you will have to buy it on Ebay or Amazon etc, but it comes in really handy as it can punch holes for both personal and A5 planners. I just mark the middle of the pages using a ruler, and then measure up the middle of the punch to that line, and the holes come out perfectly every time. Lots of shops sell printable planner inserts, so buying those and printing, and punching yourself can make planning much more affordable. My blog planner is a printable planner, so I can reuse it every year.
I know that this post very much sounds like an Etsy advertisement (ha I wish), but it is just the place to go if you’re looking for planner items. Etsy did increase their fees last year which prompted a lot of shops to create their own websites and move away from Etsy, so scrolling through planner hashtags on Instagram is also a good way to find new planner shops. If you can think of a sticker idea, chances are, someone has already made it for you to find, you just need to look for it. There are lots of great USA sticker stores, but the shipping from the USA to Australia through Etsy is really expensive, so be mindful of that when looking for items.
I have found the best way of planning for me, but it did take a while to figure it out. The big trend right now is bullet journals (bujo), so a lot of shops are selling travellers notebooks and travellers notebook inserts. You can get a somewhat similar set up to what I have using those inserts, but I just don’t think it is anywhere near as good as the rings that let you place anything anywhere. There are a lot of people who like that set up though. You can get similar inserts to what I have in an A5 size, and many shops are now selling inserts in the B6 size too, so you can get a bigger size and still have the versatility of a ring planner. There are so many different ways to plan though, and you are the only one who knows what works best for you. Hopefully this post has given you some ideas. If you are someone who suffers from anxiety, I recommend giving planning a go as it is one of the coping techniques that has worked for me, especially in combination with mindfulness.
What do you think of my planner? Is planning something you’re interested in? Do you have a certain way of planning or know of any sticker shops I should check out? If you want to see my weekly plans as I go through the year, just let me know as I am happy to put them on my Instagram stories if you’re interested. I can share with you my health/illness/treatment planner and how I keep track of medical things in another post if that interests you, just let me know in the comments. If something doesn’t make sense in this post, or you need extra information, just ask, I’m happy to help. I’ll be back to beauty posts soon, so sign up to email updates if you want to be notified when I post a new blog post. You can also find me on social media – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.