Starting the Year Off on the Right Foot
Happy 2016! It’s that time again when many of us are feeling the pressure of fulfilling our New Year’s resolutions. Do you have your planer ready? It is commonly known that messy desks make for creative minds. But how in the world do we keep up with all of the creativity that flows through our brain on the daily?
I typically have so many ideas running through my head that nearly 50% of them go unrealized because I’ve forgotten about half of it before my round-to-it ever gets off the flat side! I hate it when that happens, don’t you? Each year, I make a bunch of plans that result in very little follow through. I blame it on disorganization…a cluttered mind.
To try and tackle this problem, I am starting this year off on the right foot by keeping a crafting planner. I worked on creating my planner, off and on, for the last half of 2015. Well now it is ready to go for 2016 and I am bound and determined to keep myself organized and on track this year.
Nothing Too Fancy – Just a Planner
When I sat down to create my planner, I took a few things into consideration:
- What supplies do I have on hand?
- What size would be most effective for me?
- What will I use it for?
With these things in mind, I began creating.
I am still perfecting my skills on covers and bindings. I knew I wanted something hard so it could withstand all of the abuse it would endure from things being thrown on top of it, being cast aside to be out of the way, and frequent use. I happened to have an old brief case that my mom used before she retired. She gave it to me as she was de-stashing her house in preparation for a move. For the longest time, it sat under my desk because I didn’t know what to use it for. I don’t need it for my career.
It ended up being perfect for my crafting planner though. It’s big and bulky which isn’t necessarily great at home, but I intend to travel a lot and would like to take my crafting planner with me. On my road trips, I like to pick up various pamphlets and things to remember where I went and what I did on my trip. This brief case has pockets for file folders on the inside cover which are great for that. It also has spots for business cards, pens, etc.
The handles make it great for carrying around. It’s not the prettiest of covers, but I find that the black leather is much more durable than a decorated card stock cover would be. I’m not exactly delicate when I’m out and about so this will protect my planner quite nicely. And for a taste of my creative side, I simply created a real pretty front cover for the inside of it where the embedded binder clips hold my planner pages.
Many people use mini-planners. I considered making one that size, however, I find it very hard and painful for me to write in those small spaces. They aren’t the most efficient for those that suffer from things like RA and arthritis. So my planner is the standard 8×11 size and affords me plenty of room to write and keep notes. This also allows me to print off my own pages for the planner without having to worry about fancy settings and alignments for smaller, half pages. This works for me.
While considering the supplies I had on hand and what I would be using the planner for, I decided I would create my own dividers to show my creative side. Since these will be permanent, I will likely decorate those as time goes on. However, since I will change out calendar pages and such regularly, I decided not to go real decorative on those. It isn’t cost efficient as I would be throwing supplies away each year. So I just created templates for each planner page I needed and I print them off on plain old printer paper as needed.
I needed to create a planner because I had tons of ideas that just went by the wayside because I never wrote them down, or they got lost in the shuffle of post-its. Now I have a place to keep track of everything I have going on, all in one spot, and it’s portable. As I mentioned above, I don’t decorate the actual pages. The purpose is to keep track of the things I want to do, my goals, my tasks, etc. I think decorated pages would distract me from getting things done. I don’t want that.
I have several different pages that I use to keep track of things:
- Monthly Calendar – I use the monthly calendars to keep track of what events are coming up so I know if I’m running behind on preparing for them. For example, I have a swap that I need to send out to my swap partner the first week of February. So on my January Calendar, I’ve notated that I should work on that swap the last week of January at the very latest.
- Weekly Calendar – The weekly calendar, shown here, helps me keep track of my task list and what my goals are for each day. As shown, it also matching my Desk Calendar so that I still see my tasks when I’ve managed to bury my planner (it happens!). The bottom portion of the weekly calendar shows each day of the week with spaces to write in my tasks. The top left column is my To Do List. The top right column is where I list things I need to buy. This may include supplies I ran out of or grocery items I tend to forget, a book I’d like to read, etc.
- Birthday List – This is simply a list of birthdays for my friends so that I can quickly determine upcoming birthdays and plan accordingly.
- Event Tracker – The Event Tracker helps me keep track of what events I’ve joined in my crafting group. I can write in when it starts, what the details are, who participates, when it ends, what the deadlines are, etc.
- Swap Tracker – This helps me keep track of swaps I’m either hosting or participating in. Much like the Event Tracker, it helps me keep track of the details of the swap so I don’t have to constantly look up the Event in the group.
- Productivity Tracker – My crafting group has an ongoing Productivity Challenge where members earn points for being productive. It’s somewhat of a contest. The most productive may or may not get a small prize for being the most productive during a certain period of time. This tracker helps me track how productive I was and what I worked on. It also helps the group admins determine who the winner is.
- Challenge Tracker – The Challenge Tracker is almost exactly the same as the Swap Tracker, except there are no partners or swaps. It is simply a challenge to create something specific or do something specific and the tracker allows me to keep track of the details.
- Giveaway Tracker – The Giveaway Tracker is much like the Event Tracker. It allows me to write down the details of the Giveaway and keep track of who participated and how so that when I pick a winner, it’s fairly simple to figure out. It also allows me to see who has won before so that the same people aren’t always getting free stuff. I like to share the love.
- Ideas – This is mostly just a blank page with lines for me to write down my ideas so that I can come back to them whenever I’m ready. All crafters get ideas, but few crafters actually follow through on all of them. Creative minds just don’t work that way. So I write them down and come back to them later. I also have blank paper and graph paper in this section in case I need to sketch things out or make a collage or something to help remember the vision.
I have each of these pages in different sections of my planner so I can easily find what I’m looking for. Staying organized helps me stay on track. So this is how I will keep up with things this year and stay on top of what I need to get done.
Last year I asked a question in The Messy Desk Crafter Facebook Group about what the biggest crafting obstacle is for each member. The top answers were mostly around staying organized. I am working on writing a book to be published in a few months on how to get and stay organized for crafters and will provide suggestions for each of the obstacles that were listed off in response to the question. So if you’re looking for some tips and tricks on that, check back often as I will post the status here on my blog as I get the book out there.