I fell in love with the Arc system because it is highly customizable. The hole punch is an expensive one-time purchase, but the notebook cover was very reasonable. It uses a series of discs to bind the pages together, so I can move pages and sections around and replace covers. I decided on the full-sized poly-plastic cover. This was great because I simply printed the pages I needed weekly or monthly. Crazy week? Different planning guide. While using this notebook, I had a monthly plan, daily plan, and a reference section.
However, my biggest problem was simply the size and remembering to print or hole punch, creating a hot mess. I left the expensive hole punch at home, but I did almost all my printing at school on standard paper. Really, a slightly heavier paper would be better. My Arc will stick out of my beloved Timbuk2 purse, so I tended to leave it in my school bag on the weekend. This was a problem because I constantly needed to add to my calendar when out with friends or at church.
I have now switched to an Erin Condren Life Planner. While expensive ($50 before adding accessories), it is very sturdy. The paper is a good weight, the spiral is metal with a plastic coating for smooth page turning, and the tabs are laminated. While I have largely been impressed with the excellent quality, the plastic zip pouch in my planner split along the side a few days into carrying two felt pens. The company credited my next purchase for $10, and I duct taped the split closed- a hassle, but not a deal breaker.
I did not purchase the additional pen holder ($8 really?!?), but perhaps this pouch was not designed for pens; if so, they should fix that!
The best parts? It easily fits into my bag! Its basically adorable! I bought my planner, and then my mother, school counselor and her daughter all bought one: serious planner envy.
The monthly planning squares are a decent size and I use the note section to record flexible deadlines and the like.
|Weekly Worksheet copyright of The Together Teacher (thetogetherteacher.com). |
You should really consider checking out the blog and The Together Teacher by Maia Heyck-Merlin
if you are into creating an organized teacher life!
By comparison, I could easily customize my weekly worksheets in my Arc, with spaces to divide my goals for the week by my role as a teacher, friend, etc. I could break down my day by hour or by morning and night.
In summary: I like my Erin Condren planner and will definitely finish the calendar year with it. However, in the long term, I feel my planning needs will force me back to my Arc. I can easily print several months worth of weekly planning sheets.To improve on it, I would suggest printing paper that will be referenced constantly on heavier stock or put into a page protector/folder insert. I also need to position my hole punch near wherever I'm doing my printing, and create a designated place to put old monthly and weekly sheets. I have also considered buying the half-sheet sized cover for the Arc or (*SIGH*) resigning myself to an even larger purse- thoughts?
Feel free to share any suggestions, or share your organization systems in the comments!