Best Laid Plans

BLP Episode #108: Back to School, Scrolling Habits, Planner Matchups & Apple Notes

August 22, 2022

Back to School

Prior episode: Back to School Extravaganza — I had so much fun doing that one! There’s a whole discussion of vintage school supplies from the 1980s + 1990s . . .

Current back to school energy: all of the schedules, plans, and organization!

Enjoying the 2023 Hobonichi Release and jumping into the newly redesigned Full Focus:

redesigned weekly preview page!! love the cute little habit tracker.

Note: I am a Full Focus affiliate; if you’d like to use my code for 10% off, it’s SARAH10 and link is here!

Listener Tips: Reading Related

  • Stephanie from A Lit Life shared a link to her spreadsheet: here
  • Tiera loves the Little Inklings A Novel Companion – currently sold out, but hopefully a restock coming!

Scroll-Related Questions

Two related questions: one about scroll alternatives, and another about what helped me break my Insta habit. The latter question is more difficult, though I took a break and when I returned it seemed to be a sea of reels which wasn’t that fun anymore, so that was good timing for me!

Scroll alternatives for me include email checks (though I’d like to do that less!), WhatsApp, text chains, DuoLingo, Wordle, reading blogs (via Feedly) and YouTube.

Planner Matchups

Matchup #1: College-bound teen with night shift work — ideas:

Matchup #2: Calendar on left, blank space on right, and not too clunky (ie, no discs)?

Apple Notes

Here’s a screenshot of my Notes, with the notes for this very episode (yes, meta!)

Super useful things I store in there:

  • all kinds of travel documents/info
  • kids’ school info + health forms
  • show notes + scripts for various podcast ventures
  • goals, someday/maybe list, etc

That’s all for this week – whew! Next week: some great JetPens finds . . .


  • Reply Allee August 22, 2022 at 5:13 pm

    I recently was tired of the time I spent on IG and have had similar problems in the past of deleting the app only to go online to look at it. SO, I unfollowed everyone that I didn’t know in person. I wrote down the names of accounts that I really liked just in case, but I now find IG to be much more boring without people whose jobs are to create content all day. If there is an account I want to check in on, I have to consciously search them in IG or go directly to their blog (which I have found myself doing more). This hasn’t helped for Reddit, but has definitely helped me to be more intentional about IG.

  • Reply Lori c August 22, 2022 at 7:07 pm

    I loved this episode! The reference to trapper keepers in the intro brought back memories! A friend recently sent me Lisa Frank stickers and thinking of both of these sends me back in time to the art supply aisle of my local Bradlees (department store). Memories!!

    I really liked the apple notes discussion. I had no idea you could insert pictures or pdfs into a note! It sounds like maybe you use it similarly to how others use Microsoft OneNote?

    For travel plans I have used TripIt for a lonnnnng time. I can forward my hotel, rental car, flight reservation to plans at TripIt dot com and it somehow magically links it to my app so everything is nicely organized in one spot/format. I’d love to hear how other people organize travel plans, I feel like I’m rusty post-pandemic. Lol!

    • Reply Lori C August 22, 2022 at 7:09 pm

      Oh and meant to ask- do you ever run into storage issues with your iCloud account? Curious with the pdfs and images in your notes if they take up a lot of space.

  • Reply Elisabeth August 22, 2022 at 9:46 pm

    Another suggestion for Matchup #2 – my favorite planner has the calendar on the left/a blank page on the right (and isn’t bulky) and it’s the Moleskine classic weekly planner. I prefer the soft cover (less clunky/bulky than their hard cover) in a size XL (about 8×10″).

    • Reply Stephanie G. August 22, 2022 at 10:00 pm

      Funny- this is my current (and, so far, favorite) as well! It’s simple, but works really well. I also like that it’s fairly easy to take back and forth between home/work, but also lays flat nicely on a desk for easy reference throughout the day. And it has enough space for everything- I do work, home, and habits (with some e-calendar help too!)

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns August 23, 2022 at 9:21 am

    You inspired me to quit IG last winter – I went off the day after our son’s 1st birthday, so December 4th and have not looked back. I’m off FB and IG. My family has a FB group so I miss out on updates but I figure if it’s urgent enough, someone will tell me. I do get comments from people saying they miss seeing pictures of my kids but overall it is best for me to be fully off.

    I love apple notes, too. My favorite way we use it is to plan our grocery shopping. I have a shared note with my husband so we can both add to the list and then he uses it to do our grocery shopping. I also have a packing list that I use for every trip. Our kids need so much stuff, like sound machines and night lights and such. It is nice to not have to retain the list in my brain and then I know I won’t forget anything!

  • Reply Amanda August 24, 2022 at 9:28 am

    Matchup #2 made me think of what I have used for years — Filofax!! I buy two inserts — week on one page diary with notes, personal size (which is what you’re looking for) plus month on two pages so I can have that overview. Calendar is a Monday start for both weekly and monthly. On the weekly spread, week is on the left page; lined note page on the right. The amount of space for each day is the same size.

    The personal size paper is a standard size, so you can probably find a slimmer organizer if the Filofax is too clunky, though it’s slimmer than a lot of disc systems. Currently my planner stays at home, but I’ve toted it around for years and I never found it too heavy or clunky.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger August 24, 2022 at 11:07 am

      Yesss! Love this idea!!

  • Reply Amanda August 24, 2022 at 10:28 am

    I wrote a long comment with a recommendation for Matchup #2, and it got lost in cyberspace. So I am retyping it.
    My recommendation is what I have been using for years — Filofax! I use week on one page with notes and month on two pages (to have that monthly overview). Both calendars are a Monday start and each day has the same amount of space. On the weekly spread, it is calendar on the left and lined notes on the right. I use the personal size, but you can choose A5 if you need more space.

    The organizer itself is not very clunky; I’ve toted it around for years. Currently it stays on my desk at home but has traveled many placed with me. Some of the newer organizer “binders” look even slimmer than what I have. And it is definitely lighter and thinner than disc-bound systems.

  • Reply Grateful Kae August 24, 2022 at 12:38 pm

    Sorry for this is such a dumb question, but Is Apple notes only applicable if you have a Mac or MacBook or whatever? I occasionally use the notes feature on my phone to keep lists, but it appears you have a fancier version- so this must be on your computer? We have an old iMac but I mostly use my HP laptop. Am I correct then I can’t use Apple Notes in my case, right? (I’m so bad with all things iCloud, etc… 😬)

    • Reply Brenda C. August 24, 2022 at 4:19 pm

      I can answer! I “think” that if you log into iCloud on any device, you can use Apple Notes with a Windows based machine! You just need an Apple ID, which you likely have for your iPhone.

  • Reply Brenda C. August 24, 2022 at 4:15 pm

    Great episode. I love the love for Apple Notes, as huge i-Fan in general. However, I’ve lost all my notes on more than one occasion so I’m very leery. I blame my young daughter, but even going to “Recently Deleted” didn’t help. So I’m very hesitant to commit again!

  • Reply Lee August 26, 2022 at 10:33 am

    Moleskine and Leuchterm both have slim hard bound books with a week calendar on one page and a notes page on the other side.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger August 26, 2022 at 11:16 am

      I believe this particular person wanted a moleskine alternative but yes leuchtterm good point!!!

  • Reply Alexandria August 26, 2022 at 9:41 pm


    I was wondering if anyone could share the website for the korean planner store mentioned for the college bound teen. It didn’t make it in to the notes above and I couldn’t make out the address when listening.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger August 27, 2022 at 6:28 am


      • Reply Alexandria August 27, 2022 at 11:59 am

        Thank You!

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