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Living the Abundantly Lush lifestyle, as I’ve mentioned before, is about making everything count. One of the biggest steps you’ll need to take, assuming you haven’t already, is learning to organize your life. Organization is critical for saving time, money, and sanity.

A good, trustworthy planner system does the majority of the boring thinking for you, leaving your mind clear for more important things, such as overindulgence in coffee liqueur and/or witty banter with your amazing friends.

I prefer a paper planner to an electronic one. I find that I need instant and constant access to it, especially when I’m on the phone (eliminating the ability to use a smarting-phone for that purpose) or when I’m half asleep and just need to jot something down without waiting for a power up or a blinding light. Plus I just like the feel of writing things down. It gives me a sense of accomplishment.

Paper planners can be very expensive, running you anywhere from $30 to $400 for a quality, complete kit. Fortunately I’ve poor-personed my way around those limitations, and am happy to share with you what I’ve learned.

1. The Binder: Planner binders are notoriously expensive, and it’s not until you’ve used one for a while that you even know if it’s right for you. The good news is that many people have gone digital and gotten rid of their old binders. Frequent your local thrift store and I bet that you’ll find a quality binder pretty quickly for a very low price. I paid four dollars for mine. Planners come in a few standard sizes. Once you find the binder you feel best about, you can find fillers to fit that very size. My preference is the Classic size, which has 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ paper, because then it’s only a matter of cutting the pages in half if you decide to….

2. Print your own filler pages: DIY Planner has a vast assortment of filler pages that you print out yourself, in just about every size. Most of the filler pages are customizable, and there is a huge community of paper users who are willing to help with any issues. Here’s a great place to start. I find it’s cheaper to print out one page of each and make copies at a shop rather than blowing through a thirty dollar print cartridge on my own. If that’s too much, you can always choose to…

3. Forgo both the binder and the filler paper by creating a Hipster PDA

Don't let the name enrage you.

This is an awesome organizer that has a start-up cost of under two dollars. You can make it as simple or complicated as you like, and if you don’t end up using it, you aren’t out a huge investment. You can even use a fancy-pants Moleskin if you’re into all that.

The more you trust your planner system, the better it will work. If you can carry it around with you and you get in the habit of referring to it, you’ll soon discover that you can do ten times what you thought you could.

And a quick tip before I sign out: If you have a decent digital camera, photograph your planner pages every couple of days and store the photos in a folder somewhere. That way, in the unlikely event that something happens to your planner, you have a backup of all of your important information.

And now back to your regularly scheduled program.

Ariel 2012

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