September 19, 2016

5 Things to Help Make Paper Planners Fun and Productive

Last week, I talked about my path to “planner peace,” and the variety of paper planners and time management systems I have tried along the way.

One of the key reasons that I use paper planners is because I enjoy using them, for all sorts of reasons. There’s the feel of the ink flowing on the paper as I write; the control I have over the colors (I like color-coding); even the weight of the paper itself has a bearing on the experience of working with a paper planner.

Paper Planning Works Better for Me Than Online Productivity Systems

The bigger deal: having the siren song of creativity helps me stay on schedule. It’s more fun for me to use a bullet journal combined with a Happy Planner than it ever was for me to insert information into an online program.

I’m easily pleased, I suppose, but having those little squares in the Tracker that I fill in with different colors of ink every day when I’ve accomplished a task? That’s enough to make me do the task, and enough to make me stay current in my time management, too.

5 Fun Things That Keep Me Dedicated to My Planners and Time Management

Here are five things that help me with that creative spin on scheduling my days and weeks:

Pilot FriXion Erasable Gel Pens 

When a friend recommended these pens to me, I smiled politely and thought “no way.”

Why? They are erasable, and I’ve had lots of bad experiences with erasable ink. It didn’t work. Or it worked but to get rid of the ink, you were likely to tear the paper.

Not with these. I love the Pilot FriXion Gel Pens. They don’t write as deep or dark as other pens, that’s what you’re giving up by using them. But it’s well worth it in my book, because heck – they’re ERASABLE.  

Washi Tape 

I love using washi tape on my monthly and weekly calendars, as well as in my Bullet Journal. I divide the weekend from the weekdays; I block big project deadlines; you get the idea.

Heck, I’ve used Washi Tape in my Bible – I have put tape around the entire edge of the pages for the first page of Psalms, Proverbs, Genesis, Matthew, and Revelation because it’s a great index tool.

That red in the back of the book? I know it’s the first page of Revelation. The blue one? That’s Psalms.


There’s a mad, mad world out there for you if you like stickers for your planners. Etsy Shops have all sorts of inviting stickers, dedicated to specific planners and their sizes. Erin Condren? Go find your Erin Condren sized stickers there. Ditto for Filofax, Kikki K, all lots more.

Me, I’ve stuck with Amazon and Hobby Lobby so far. And I’m playing around with making some of my own using sticker paper that I can feed through my printer.

You can get Calendar Reminder Stickers (birthdays, etc.) if you like. Me, I like stickers that have “to do lists,” flags, and other references which allow me to write whatever I want on them. I’d rather have a blank sticker where I write “Bill’s Birthday” than have a sticker with Birthday already printed on it. That’s just me.  

Clear Plastic Ruler 

I need a ruler because I like my lines to be sharp. Having a clear plastic ruler lets me see where I’m going with my pen.

The shorter six inch ruler works better for me in my Bullet Journal, which is a Moleskine.

Markers and Gel Pens for Color 

As for markers, some people love Sharpies, but not me. Not for my Planners, it’s too easy for them to bleed through the paper or at least leave a heavy shadow. Instead, I like Bic highlighters that I can get at my local HEB grocery store. Nothing fancy.

When I want to highlight with color, they work just fine. And I also like to use Gel Pens to add color, too. I have one of those sets that they sell for adult coloring books, and it has come in very handy in my Bullet Journal (and in my Bible Art).
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