My Nerdy Planning Ritual


Diane Dobson Barton Planner Nerd Artist
My Daily Planning Ritual Supplies

I definitely have “planner must haves”. I. Am. A. Compulsive. List. Maker.

My husband will tell you, I make list of my lists. Which is ALMOST true. The fact is, I am probably worse.

I have ADHD, and am a very visual person. Making lists and having a visual cue to remind me what needs to be accomplished, work best for me. If I do not write it down, it will NOT happen. People think I am joking. I’m not.

Knowing visually what is expected, makes me feel less anxious. Especially since I am now doing my art full time.


I need to know what I am working toward. The big picture and how it all fits. Especially if things are going slow. Which they currently are. But, I can look at what my big-picture goals are, and KNOW that I am doing whatever I can to make those things happen.

My income not as high as I would like? Not a big stressor because I have planned ahead and know without a doubt that it WILL come if I keep working the plan. If I did not feel that certainty, I would be a quivering ball of anxiety on a daily basis.

What do I actually use?

So what do I use to plan? What office supplies do I kneel in front in the middle of the aisle because I am in total and complete AWE!? I use, and plan to keep using my PowerSheets (Link takes you to a YouTube Review by PlanWithLaken – Skip to 4:50 to see inside the PowerSheets) every quarter. They help me focus on what I want to accomplish.

Diane Dobson Barton Planner Nerd Artist

When it comes down to it, I can not live without a simple notebook and pen. Yes, I can glam it up with covers, colored pens/pencils, stamps, stickers and photos of the grandkids. But what it comes down to in the end. What I absolutely MUST have, is a notebook. Preferably a nice notebook, but a .50 composition book will do the same work in the end.

I am a sucker when stores come out with the back to school specials! The supplies almost make me giddy. Who am I kidding? I am giddy, I just learned to hide it so the people in Michael’s aren’t frightened at the site of me.

I want every notebook, every pen. Especially if they are sparkly. (SQUIRREL!) I have a stockpile of notebooks. Yes, I am guilty of indulging in open commercialism.

Currently this is my studio shelf of must have notebooks to use “someday”.

My Journal Stockpile

My notebook of choice is one that will fit into a book bag, purse, or can be carried without much hassle. Right now I am using a traveler’s notebook that has simple inserts you can take in and out to meet your needs. The link above for traveler’s notebooks takes you to a wide range of Amazon offers. The one I currently use is a cheapy from the discount store. I bought it on a whim and have found it to be the perfect size for my needs.


My inserts include One for a calendar, both monthly, and weekly. One I can jot down notes for an idea for biz, art, reading or writing project. All indexed so I can easily find what I need. One for finances, that I keep on hand to write down business expenses or remind me when or how much specific regular bills are that I need to include in my budget. Then in the very back, I have a smaller pocket-sized notebook from Fieldnotes. It is small enough I can easily transfer to and from whatever system I use. It has important personal info that I may need when on the go.

Diane Dobson Barton Planner Nerd Artist
Top of Travel Journal Inserts

To write all this down a good pen is a must. Yes, “Pen Nerd” IS a real thing. My current pen desires are squelched with a Pilot G2 .38

The method I use for keeping it all in order is similar to what can be found at bullet journaling books and videos. I lean toward a more minimalist style as I prefer to use my creative time for my fine art.

So what do you use? A Happy Planner? A Erin Condren? A bullet journal? Or a Frankenstein mixture of something in between?

Let me know in the comments below. We nerds need to stick together!