(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter. And check out her first novel, The Bone Weaver’s Orchard, now available where books are sold!)
It's time to plan your plans! Planning your planning! It's planner season!
Confession: It stresses me out. Because I know what I want. And I know what works for me. And they are not the same thing! I usually cave and buy a complex, ambitious planner system at the beginning of the year, stick with it through April, and then things gradually deteriorate until about... oh, now... and then I spend the rest of the year with just a monthly spread and a lot of lists.
I started this year with a Hobonichi Cousin, last year with a Weeks, and the years before that with complicated and over-decorated bullet journals. Starting last month, I switched to a plain, slim grid notebook that I drew my own monthly spreads in and I've been keeping notes and lists in the back half of the notebook. Not long after I set that up, this Apica Monthly Schedule book arrived, which is the exact same layout as what I had designed for myself. I know that this layout is all I really need to know where I need to be and when. Yes, the squares are small. But days are short! So, if I run out of room in the square, I've also run out of room in my day. You might be surprised how much I can fit in a square, though. I can still thoroughly overbook myself in this small space.
This faux leather cover has an interior fold that the schedule book slides into. It can hold two slim A5 notebooks, or one notebook and a memo pad, or one thicker A5 notebook. It has an interior card pocket, two ribbon bookmarks, an extra back pocket, and a pen loop. The stitching is neat and sturdy, so it should stand up to the wear and tear of holding a planner, though I do find that the faux leather can warp over time with use. The pocket slits tend to stretch and lose a bit of integrity after a while, so I'm not certain if it can manage a year of daily use.
The cover doesn't need to be for the schedule or planner. It can hold any of the Apica A5 notebooks. Or nearly any A5 notebook, for that matter, as long as it isn't too thick. It's a decent cover, but it didn't blow me away, especially for the $25 price tag. There are a lot of better covers out there for less cost, in my opinion. When this arrived, it was the bonus schedule book that really got my attention.
The schedule book itself is a thread-bound soft cardstock cover book in A5 size. It begins with a yearly overview page. I've never really figured out what those are for, so I typically leave those blank. Then, there are sixteen monthly spreads, all unlabeled, so you can start and end on any month. The monthly pages have a lined list along the left edge of the page for tracking tasks. After the monthly spreads, there are 15 pages of 5mm grid paper for notes and lists. The paper is fantastic. It's smooth, acid-free, and takes even the most broad and inky fountain pens without so much as a feather. The only pen that bled was a Sharpie fineliner.
It's certainly not a life-organizer. It won't have all the details of my comings and goings, or the minute breakdowns of my goals and plans. But it's the perfect place to keep the crucial info handy, and it's all I need to carry with me to make sure I don't double-book anything as I go about the day. I know it's all I need, because it's all I use for a good quarter of the year. The cover and schedule set is $25 on JetPens, and the schedule itself is only $3.80 for the A5 size. Yes, I can have all the planner I need, with some of the best paper out there, for under $4. I don't need a $50 planner.
Of course, I'll end up getting the big fancy planner, anyway. I always do. It never fails. And even if it doesn't help me organize my life better, at least it helps me get excited about the start of a new year. And when it all gets to be too much, I have this simple but effective tool to keep me going through what promises to be another busy year.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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