Time management Monday: Why use a paper planner? Part 2: Creativity and Memory

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Welcome to Part 2 of our Why Use A Paper Planner? series. In Part 1 we talked about some of the reasons why people use paper planners, especially the freedom to express your personality. In this post we’ll talk about how people use planners to express their creativity, and preserve memories.

Back in the day (more than 200 years ago) the very first commercial diaries (what we would call day per page planners today) were used more for recording the day’s events and less for planning ahead. They were intended to be used by merchants and businessmen to record financial details, but their wider appeal soon became apparent and the diary business expanded with numerous companies offering a vast array of sizes and formats designed for everyone from the housekeeper to the wealthy gentleman. Keeping a diary was considered to be a virtuous habit, and people found the pre-dated formats encouraged consistency in writing daily.

Today, diaries and planners are used for a multitude of purposes, from personal expression to time management and everything in between, sometimes all in the same book.

An example of this is teacher Trish’s Scholar weekly planner that she showed us in her guest post earlier this year. She uses it to plan her 8th grade English lessons, and as an artistic outlet.


Recently we’ve been showing how people are using their Journal 21 day per page planners for their Page Per Day Challenge this year. The point of the Page Per Day Challenge is to plan, journal, write and/ or draw on one page in a planner or notebook every day for a year, to create a record of your life. It’s been amazing to see how different people are using their one page every day.

Gini uses her Journal 21 as a journal with artistic embellishments:


Richard uses his Journal 21 as a combined planner and journal:


One of the many wonderful things about using a paper planner is you don’t have to decide whether to use it only for time management or only for journaling/ creativity. You can do both, at the same time if you like. Unlike with apps, there’s no predetermined fields to fill in. You don’t have to follow directions. You can do whatever you want.

Using a planner as a diary/ journal/ creativity book creates a visual record of your life. Later when you look back on the pages, you’ll see that everything you’ve captured in your book holds the memories of that time of your life.

Like the original diary users, many people find it’s easier to keep up on a journal if the pages are predated. Having the dates filled in is convenient because you just jump right into the page without having to format it yourself. And the dates encourage consistent use, because any dated space you don’t use is wasted. Also having dated pages allows you to go back and fill days in later without breaking the chronology of your book.

Some people find an entire page for every day is too intimidating, and prefer a weekly format for journaling. The open-plan Plan & Note, Hebdo and Scholar planners are perfect for this because there are no times or boxes to get in the way of your creativity. The white paper allows your colors to stand out vibrantly. I also like that these formats also have a notes space for each week so you can do a weekly review.


Journaling and weekly review in the Plan & Note planner

Other people like having an entire page for every day to expand their journal or art entries. The Journal 21 day per page planner or the slightly smaller Notor give you plenty of space to journal, plan and record each day.

Do you use your planner as a combination planner/ diary/ journal/ creative outlet/ all of the above?

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