I knew before the school year started that I had to get my planner game straight. I’ve used many different planners over the years. From the simple ones you get at office supply stores or Barnes and Noble, to even the coveted Erin Condren planner. But none of them satisfied my needs.
I need a planner that l can modify depending upon the day because I teach at different times every day, and I need the weekend days to be given as much space as the weekdays. I need a planner that gives me space to put in the appointments and meetings I have, plus room to create to do lists for freelance and Dominion House stuff. And if it could allow me to track how I use my time throughout the day, that would be great. Oh, and it needs to be sturdy. The planner will be thrown in a bag of doom with textbooks and a laptop, as well as a Nalgene water bottle and whatever else I choose to carry with me that day.
Obviously, none of the planners from Office Max/Office Depot/Staples could handle this challenge. Though, they tried. And the Erin Condren planner is designed in such a way that you aren’t given enough space to make multi-tier to do lists on every day, and it honestly made me more disorganized than I was before I used it. I’m not saying it’s a bad planner. I’m just saying that I have very specific needs, and a way that I like for things to be done, and the Erin Condren planner does not accommodate that. Also? The cover of that planner is made of laminated card stock. I remember opening mine when it finally came in and thinking to myself “I paid $50 for this?” (Side note: I’m pretty sure Chris paid $50 for it because it was a Christmas present. Seriously, find yourself a lover that will buy you a planner. That lover is a keeper.)
I had pretty much resigned myself to the idea of making my own planner for this upcoming semester. I created a rudimentary design using free calendar page downloads so I could do all my forward planning in a monthly view. Then, I created daily pages based on this prioritizing list from Kim Graff. Only, I made a 6-tier system of to dos to cover all areas of my life. Because, again, I have very specific needs when it comes to a planner.
Then, one day, as I was scrolling through popular posts on Bloglovin’, I somehow came across this video from Vasseur Beauty. And thus was a Midori notebook obsession born.
I searched Etsy options for Midori notebooks for a while, but nothing really struck my fancy. I wasn’t convinced yet. Google brought me to My Life All in One Place and Ray Blake made me believe that I needed to get into the Midori notebook game. I have seriously watched this video of him making Midori inserts 4 times. It’s a total ASMR experience. I love it.
Then I decided to search through Pinterest and YouTube. That’s how I found Carie Harling, Robyn Lott, and John Rush (he’s a fellow Oklahoman!). I can now say that I’ve watched all their videos pertaining to Midori-style notebooks. (Psst. If you’re interested in making some inserts, I recommend this video from John, this one from Robyn, and this one from Carie.)
I began to obsess. I knew I had to have a Midori notebook. Carie Harling (who hopefully wants to be my friend because I love her videos and how she organizes her life) convinced me to go with Chic Sparrow.
I chose the Distressed Creme Brulee Deluxe in the narrow size, which is the equivalent size of a Midori notebook.
And for the inserts, I’m using these from Ray Blake’s site. But, I had Chris put a DIYFish-style hyperdex on the PDFs. I believe he used the watermarking function in Adobe Illustrator to make this happen. This is one of the perks of dating a graphic designer. He knows how to use Adobe products without ruining everything, which is what I do when I open Photoshop.
These pages allow me to mark appointments at the proper time, list tasks that are necessary for the day, track how I actually use my time, and also make further lists beneath my faux hyperdex.
I’ve also had fun making different inserts for this Midori notebook so I can have a notebook, all my page markers and Post-Its, and a folder to keep bits of paper.
So, let’s talk cost. I can’t very well call out Erin Condren for charging for laminated card stock without disclosing what I paid for my new set up. The inserts themselves were free. I just printed them out and made covers out of old file folders. (Sure, I paid for the ream of paper when I bought it, and the file folders too, though I bought them in packs of six from the dollar store.) I did go to Michael’s to purchase a rotary cutter and a sliding paper cutter thingy, as well as some glue. So, there was about $20.
Then, of course, there’s the luscious leather cover from Chic Sparrow. It was expensive. I won’t lie. Approximately $100. But I don’t mind paying for leather. Or for things that I’m allowed to personalize with the phrase “stay gold.” Or for things that last. Just ask my pair of Doc Martens I’ve had since the sixth grade.
Plus, the simple and durable style is my jam. And it will work well with my Duluth Trading Company leather bag that I will be lugging around campus. Or, with my multiple brown leather Fossil purses for non-campus schlepping.
Now, it’s time for some disclosure. Every time I’ve linked to Chic Sparrow in this post, I’ve used my referral link. If you decide to purchase something from Chic Sparrow and use my link, you’ll get 10% off a purchase of $50 or more, and I’ll get some more rewards points. And I need them, because I really want this brown pen roll. I have a lot of Sharpies and highlighters that I need to carry around.
And I apologize if you now have an obsession with the Midori notebook. But know that you’re in good company, and if you ever want to hang out, I’m totally down to make some inserts with you.
And just try and tell me that once you fall down the planner rabbit hole, that you don’t want to use a Midori notebook as a wallet…