How I use my Plum Paper Planner (and initial thoughts)

I recently made the decision to purchase a Plum Paper planner, and to set my Erin Condren planner aside for a little while. I don’t remember exactly what made me decide to do this, I think I might have just been feeling a bit sick of my Erin Condren and wanted to try something new. I haven’t changed too much in the way that I plan, but I thought I’d do a bit of a refresher so I could talk about my initial feelings about the Plum Paper planner.

I opted for this cover for the planner, as it was my favourite design on offer. This is really beautiful in person, but I will say that although it comes with a clear frosted plastic cover you can easily see wear and tear damage along the bottom edge of the card cover. I think a fully laminated cover is the way to go, if you’re someone who uses your planner on a daily basis. I’ve only had this for a month now, and it’s already showing some damage. Oh, and I’m loving the organizational tools I’ve put in place for my planning sessions. Having all of my pens/pencils/highlighters etc. in this clear acrylic organizer has made life a lot easier. I’ve also started using this receipt organizer to store all of my stickers in.

I’m using the monthly layout the same, and am still highlighting items to reflect what they relate to. Green is for bills/money and things to do with the house, pink is for social events, yellow is for work, blue is for gym appointments, purple is for my mortgage, and orange is for other reminders (family doctor appointments, birthdays etc). The week-at-a-glance page comes with this tickable checklist, which I love and have been using to track all of my to-dos for the week.

My week-at-a-glance section is similar to the Erin Condren, but the columns are narrow and are not broken into morning/day/night. For the first week or so I struggled a bit with how I was going to use this section, but I’ve found my flow with it now. The Plum Paper planners come with additional pages that you can add at a cost, and my favourite is the bill tracker. This is especially handy for people who are trying to track their budget and work out how much they’re spending on utilities each month.

The design and aesthetic of the Plum Paper planner is superior to Erin Condren in a lot of ways. The colours are far more attractive and they flow better throughout the planner itself. I like that at the end/beginning of each month the previous month’s days are greyed out, rather than having the previous month’s colour scheme continuing on for a few days. It’s also far more attractive in general, there are less quotes and fussy patterns throughout the planner. If you prefer minimal design this will work better for you. Also, it’s cheaper. The Plum Planner with 3 additional monthly inserts (and stickers) and shipping came to $85 AUD. The Erin Condren planner plus stickers and shipping came to $142 AUD.

The paper is more glossy than the Erin Condren, which some people may not like. This actually works well with the pen I use (the Staedler pigment liner 0.5), so it’s not a huge con for me but might be for some. The stickers are also incredibly glossy, and every pen I’ve tried to use on them has slid off and smudged if I haven’t left it out to dry for a while. This is time consuming and kind of goes against all of the time-saving benefits planning offers us. The columns in the week-at-a-glance are more narrow than the Erin Condren one, so if you have any old stickers that you want to use they’re not going to fit perfectly. If you’re a bit of a perfectionist, this will be annoying. Oh, and as I mentioned earlier on in the post, the card cover is prone to wear and tear along the edges.

So that’s how I’ve been using my Plum Planner, and a few of my initial thoughts. If there is anything else you’d like to know about the Plum Planner or how I plan in general, or if you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below.

Planner Chat – My planning sessions

If you follow me on Instagram, you’re probably aware that I have joined the cult of #planneraddicts. Ever since I stumbled across Jen_Plans instagram feed, I’ve become absolutely obsessed with my Erin Condren planner (and the stickers to go with it). Now, these planners are not cheap. Well they’re actually not TOO BAD in the price area, but the shipping to get them to Australia is pretty steep. So you have to be absolutely sure that you want one, and that you’re going to use it often enough to get your money’s worth. I use mine every day, so I could easily justify the cost. If you’re keen to get one for yourself and would like to get 10% off, feel free to use my affiliate link to do so! Alright, back to business. I tend to sit down with my planner twice a week: once on Sunday and again mid-week on a Wednesday night, and this system works really well for me. I thought I’d take you through how I plan my week, step-by-step.

Monthly Spread – I start off my planning sessions by looking at the month overview to see what is coming up that week. I fill this section out either at the beginning of each month (with set dates like when my mortgage is due/birthdays etc), or as something comes up (a social event, a bill that is due etc). From here I get a good idea as to what the week is going to be like, and the kind of things I’ll need to plan for.

Pick out which stickers I want to use – Once I have a rough idea of what is happening that week, I’ll go through my collection of stickers and set aside any that I think I’ll want to use. There are some stickers that I every week, but if there is something special coming up I’ll pick something out to go with that particular event. I get a lot of questions about where I get my stickers from, and basically the answer is ETSY. Etsy is a real goldmine when it comes to planner stickers. I either search for ‘planner stickers’ and browse through the latest items listed, or I visit my favourite stores to see what they have available. I tend to purchase the majority of my stickers from KrissyAnneDesigns, LifePlannerWashiTape, KarolinasKrafts, AlexStudio, and ScribblePrintsCo etc.

Weekly To-Do List carry over + add – Each week I have a running to-do list, and I go through and carry across any of the items that I didn’t manage to check off for the week. Then I add any of my standard weekly chores that may not have been applicable for the previous week (like paying the mortgage, etc), and pop any new items that I also need to do that week. I love a good to-do list, and having this running list is great for me because I look at my planner so often, it’s a big reminder to get everything done.

Weather (Mon-Wed/Wed-Sun) – I check the weather app on my phone (I use ‘weather au’) and pop in the weather forecast for half of the week. Either Monday-Wednesday on my Sunday planning session, or Thursday-Sunday if I’m doing my mid-week check in. If there is a particular weather forecast that I need to plan for (extreme heat/storms etc), I tend to pop a little weather sticker along the top of the day as a heads-up for myself to plan the day accordingly.

Late Shifts or Days Off Monday-Friday – Along with the weather at the top of each day, I like to go through and mark any days of the week that I plan to stay late at work, and if I happen to have any days off of work I’ll make a note of those too. I tend to highlight these so they stand out a little bit more when I’m looking at the week as a whole.

Fill out week with standard events/to-dos + decorate with stickers – After that, I go through and fill out my week with any standard events that I have from week-to-week. These will be things like pay day, when my mortgage is due, days that I need to remember to water the potted plants in the garden, writing grocery lists, budgeting etc. I pop these in alongside any stickers that I feel like using for that particular week.

Fill out week with additional social events etc + decorate with stickers – Once I’ve filled out the standard events for the week I go through and add any new social events or weekly to-dos that I need to remember. These will be things like birthdays, social events that we need to attend, any bills that are due that week, or any travel dates that I need to remember.

Weekly Meals from monthly meal plan – The final step that I do is write out all of our meals for the week on the Erin Condren re-usable stickers that I purchased when I ordered my diary last year. These are great, but in my experience you can really only use them twice at the most before they stop working properly. I check my monthly meal plan, write out each meal for the week (or grab a previous week’s sticker if I can), and line them up in the bottom section of each day.

And that’s about it! If you have any questions about my planner, planning in general, or how I plan my week please let me know!