It might surprise you to know that paper is still a popular choice for many who want to organise their lives, not to mention, have fun while doing it. When I say it is a lifestyle, for some, it is an addiction and has taken hold for many wanting to organise various aspects of their life. Recently, I became aware of various planner brands targeted primarily at women with one brand catching my eye in particular, Me & My BIG Ideas (MAMBI) who make the Happy Planner. I must admit I thought planners, organisers or diaries, were really only used by teachers, students and business people but I have learned that this is not the case at all. There are a range of specialty planners targeted at a wide range of demographic needs including health, mothers, travelers and even those who are just burdened by a hectic social life. In the world of business I had only really encountered the A4 very basic diary style or various leather / leather look bound style planners or compendiums but I found Happy Planners to be a fun alternative. The idea of using paper over electronic organisation intrigued me and so I dug deeper.
To say that Happy Planner is ONLY for women would be a bit of a reach but marketed and designed for that market...most definitely. The Happy Planner ring binding system is part of what sets this brand of planner apart and offers a very flexible binding method for their planners. I found a few planners within the current release which weren't so feminine but you could definitely tell that men were not really in mind when they design their planners. The idea of planning is not so much about the planner as it is about the combination of the planner, the accessories and the stationary to go with it. In my interactions with Happy Planner addicts you could tell that they were die hard fans of paper planning with a wide array of decorated interiors and in some cases with custom vinyl work on their exteriors. The appeal of a planner varies from person to person but for many it seems to be that paper offers something tangible and reassuring that electronic planning doesn't offer and in many ways can't compete with. It is much the same when you ask someone who reads a physical book over an e-book why they haven't migrated and they will tell you something similar...there is just something about paper which adds character to the experience and in many ways I agree. Personally, I have a collection of e-books and physical books with both offering something different with my preference for electronic when I really don't want to be carrying much with me like when I travel, which I feel translates to the concept of planning. Electronic planning has a place as does paper and their is a time when electronic is superior such as taking notes or organising on the go as I realise writing in a paper planner while walking is awkward and impractical. What goes against electronic planning is the lack of personality and the distinct effect on committing on our memory when using this style of planning with our reliance on an alert rather than anticipation of an event we wrote down the other day. This is further impacted on by the near constant delivery of notifications, vibrations, tones and the blue light from your phone which is conditioning us to become complacent and, for some of us, filling us with dread or resulting in us ignoring the prompts from scheduled alarms. I can say with complete honesty that I have on more than one occasion run out the front door on hearing the garbage / recycling truck approaching to put out my bins as I just acknowledged the several recurring reminders the night before and I am sure that this will likely occur in the future. It is with this thought in mind that I feel myself increasingly and with a certain amount of satisfaction turning to paper. There is also one undeniable fact, you cannot hack a paper planner as someone needs physical access which actually makes me feel more comfortable. It means someone must actually put in the effort to be in the same vicinity as myself which limits the field of vulnerability to my local area rather than some caffeine addicted hacker from another country who happened to be skilled and motivated enough to obtain my information...unlikely but still a comforting thought.
While paper is less customisable we can usually find something we want, love or suits our needs. There is often layouts that have been designed for various needs, usually suit what we are after and if not we can use stickers or whiteout to make the changes we need. There is something about planning on paper that makes us take stock of what we intend to do, consider our options and make more solid plans. It gives us something to look back on, something physical that is the only copy...something which is begrudgingly offered electronically which may or may not be truly destroyed on request. Paper is powerful for another reason, it acts as a viable record for activity and information which once marked defines the age of the content and can become our memory many years down the track. Planners are definitely functional and if you compare paper with electronic based on their function they are not so different in terms of what they offer. What really sets paper apart from the electronic form is the creative element which cannot be truly achieved electronically. An electronic sticker, badge, colouring, font, a special plugin...it just can't and doesn't compare to the feeling you get from creating your own unique planner experience however you desire. Maybe you use stickers, add tabs, include envelopes, use coloured pens or you just get immense satisfaction from writing extra neatly in your uncluttered planner...it is your own experience. I personally don't think gender really comes into someone enjoying planning even though there is clearly a female dominant following from what I have seen. I do admit that I might be hesitant to decorate and show off a planner to my male friends but as I type those words I think that it is a real shame that men think this way as there is a real therapy to craft.
If you are inspired to consider using a planner again for personal, business or other uses then maybe you should start by browsing what Happy Planner has to offer. There are a number of Australian distributors including Secretly Scrapbooking who is based in Western Australia. They have a range of useful information on their blog as well but you can peruse their shop for Happy Planner products at:
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