Planning to get a new hobby?

When most of us think of planning, we think of a drab colored sheet with the days of our week written out and being bluntly monopolized by large blocks of homework, chores and meetings. When Emily Burney thinks of planning, her opinion is unique.

What comes to Burney’s mind is a fun activity that combines the science of time management with the enjoyable nature of art. “This [planning] is both an art and a science; it allows me to use both sides of my brain. Making my schedule creates structure, and the artsy side of it is that I can go back through and label activities with different colors or stickers,” Burney stated.

Emily Burney’s bullet journal
Emily Burney’s bullet journal

The artistic side of planning is what Burney really enjoys; from the types of labels to the color schemes, organization is an art in itself. “The planner community really opened up my eyes to the different types of planners and the different types of papers and the types of pens I like to use. Sometimes I like a certain color pen only on a certain paper depending the way it looks,” she said.

Burney became enveloped in this unique hobby back in middle school when she got her first planner. The practice of keeping her activities organized has captivated her ever since. “In college I had been introduced to the planning community. It sounds a bit odd, but there are hundreds of types of planners and designers for them,” Burney stated.

The planning community is incredibly widespread. One of the most well-known planner brands is Erin Condren, which Burney highly recommends. Many planner brands such as Emily Condren provide customizable options that change as life changes. “One of the things I had to learn was that with every new life stage, whether that is starting college or getting married, your planning system may change,” Burney said.

Courtesy of EMILY BURNEY Emily Burney shared some of her customized  journal designs on her Facebook page.
Courtesy of EMILY BURNEY
Emily Burney shared some of her customized journal designs on her Facebook page.

Burney makes a point of recording the things that she usually misses when she gets too busy. She includes things from time with her family to noticing beautiful landscapes in her schedule. Burney takes a holistic approach to planning: it is not only about the meetings and chores, but also about the experiences everyone should plan not to miss. “That is one of the big reasons why I schedule. I plan to plan into my day free time, which is the opposite of what you think you would do but it is easy for your time to get filled up,” Burney stated.

Burney’s passion for planning does not end after she closes her own planer or checks off another thing from her to do list. She has expanded her hobby by pouring into others and starting a group in the community that gets together to discuss planning techniques as well as time management methods. While the group has only met twice and is comprised of students, Burney is hopeful that it will become more established and that more members of the community will be encouraged to join.