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Minimal Planning & My System

Everyone has their own personal style even when it comes to how they decorate or do not decorate their planner. Planners are incredibly personal and also act as creative outlets for a lot of people. However, just like every other aspect in life, discovering who you are, even as a planner, is an ongoing process.

We all know just how easy it is to walk in to your local craft store or Michaels, spend a fortune, and come out with an armful of stickers, washi tape, and colorful pens. If embellishments and colorful pages makes your planner something you look forward to reaching for each day then do that. If it works for you keep doing what you're doing. However, if tons of stickers, colorful markers, and endless options overwhelms you and clutters your mind then maybe a mimimalist approach is just what you need. A minimal planner can help with your bank balance but also be just as engaging, inspiring, and beautiful as the creative, bright, and colorful spreads and layouts out there. For me a more minimal aesthetic not only fits my vision better, but it also makes me much more efficient in the way I plan.

To say I'm a minimalist planner is probably not completely accurate. By defention, a minimalist is someone who lives in such a way that requires only the essential. So, a true minimalist planner would likely just have one pen and call it a day. I'm definitely not that extreme, I do like some embellishment, but I have a few essential items and try to stick to the basics. I enjoy using neutral markers, a few stickers that serve for both functional purposes and decor, and some black or white washi tape. Sticking with a cohesive color palette keeps things looking clean and visually appealing to me, but my system is also very efficient. I have a well thought out legend that I stick to so that I can easily understand what I've written and what I need to do.

To me, there's nothing worse than looking at your planner and feeling so overwhelmed and stressed that you can't actually see past the mess to understand what it is that needs to get done. So what does my system look like, you ask? I was initially inspired by the keys and legends I saw popping up in the bullet journal planner community. There's so many gorgeous minimal planner inserts and stickers out there, as well as beautiful and inspiring minimal bullet journal designs. Although the bullet journal system had never worked out for me, I really enjoyed how efficient these keys were while keeping clutter at bay.

Here's what I do:

With the help of some beautiful and simple Planner Spot stickers I note anything to do with my husband using a heart sticker. Tasks or checklist items are given a grey check box which I easily make using the slanted tip of my grey mildliner pen. Any notes I may need to include are marked with a simple grey dot which I create with the fine tip of the same grey mildliner pen. Events and appointments in my scheule are usually more important items that I need to see easily. Using a beige and brown tombow brush marker I highlight these tasks. Back to the Planner Spot stickers, anything I'm doing with friends or family is designated with an adorable bow sticker. When events or tasks are cancelled or moved I either strike through them or add an arrow to denote that I've moved or re-scheduled the item. Important items are marked with a bold exclamation mark that stands out within my writing. Lastly, if there's something particularly important or I feel like decorating my planner just a bit more I'll use neutral stickers to make these items pop.

That's it! it's really quite simple and describing what I do took more effort than actually creating the key itself. Of course, week to week I try new things with my planning and sometimes I don't adhere to my key just for the sake of experimentation.

"Clutter smothers, simplicity breathes"


In the end, you have to decide what's right for you. Only you can determine what minimialism means for you and if it's how you want to plan.

What do you think? Are you team colorful or team minimal? Or are you a hybrid of the two? Let me know in the comments! Next weeks blog post is going to be a Planner Cleanse Exercise. I'm going to challenge you to go through your beloved planner and purge anything that's not necessary! Can't wait!





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