I remember when my mom bought me my very first planner. I was in the 6th grade, and since I was going to have to keep track of homework for different classes, she bought me a small floral planner for that year. From that moment on, the planner became my absolute favorite back-to-school item to shop for. While my day-to-day schedule has changed quite a bit from my Texas History homework and awkward junior high dances, I still love to keep my plans for each month all in one spot.
I Wished for a Catholic Planner
Over the years I have tried a lot of planners. A lot. While many of them worked just fine, at the end of the day I was always wishing for something that helped me incorporate my faith life. There were several lovely options made available by our Protestant sisters, and while those were a step in the right direction, they began to make me wish a Catholic planner existed….
I’m sure you can guess what happened next.
Not long after I found myself wishing for a Catholic planner, Blessed is She announced the arrival of their Catholic planner. Since that very first planner was released, I have been using the BIS academic year planner every year. I don’t ever see myself using anything else.
As a mom of five (three of which will be in school this year!), working part time, and the wife of a youth minister, I find that I need my planner almost more than when I was trying to keep track of assignments in college.
How I Use + Why I Love the BIS Academic Year Planner
I know some of you may be on the fence about the BIS Planner or wondering what really makes it so spectacular. So I’ve decided to walk you through it and mention all my favorite features, as well as give honest commentary on the areas I don’t use very often.
Who else always has loose papers on the kitchen counter? You know what I’m talking about. Save the dates, receipts, bills, grocery lists, etc.
When you open the planner, the first thing you see is a pocket for all those papers that need a home! At the end of each week, I go through the pocket to see if there is anything to get rid of or add to it.
The Saints Would Approve
The front page says “Made For The Modern Catholic Woman,” but I can think of several saints who I’m sure would have enjoyed this planner.
The Vital Front Pages
The first few pages of the planner break down every aspect and show you how to get the most out of the pages. This is so incredibly helpful!
Wondering when a certain feast day is? Don’t worry, there is a whole page listing the major Saint feast days of each month. Plus, those same feast days are on the monthly and daily spread as well, which saves you some time of having to write them in yourself. I can still remember watching my mother lay out her calendar and the Church calendar every year and transferring everything over by hand!
Following the list of feast days is a very important list of Holy Days of Obligation, as well as start days for certain novenas.
Also in the beginning are a few pages of prayers that the BIS team pulled together just for you! Sometimes I can’t find the words when I pray, so I’ll flip to those pages and just let the Holy Spirit guide me to the one my soul needs to speak.
The Full Spread
Now we’re getting to the heart of the planner (*rubs hands together excitedly*). Since this is the academic planner, we open up to a full spread of the month of August.
Monthly spreads are color-coordinated liturgically. Like I mentioned above, they contain all the major feast days.
There is also a Saint quote at the top of each monthly spread. I love using the quote as a small guided meditation to focus on throughout the month.
Finally, each monthly spread has a space dedicated for important notes in the “don’t forget” section. I use this if I need a reminder to schedule something that maybe I can’t put on the calendar just yet because something else is pending.
A lot of planners will just jump straight into the daily layout immediately after the monthly spread. Not this planner! Before jumping into each week, there are two whole pages dedicated to meal planning, a grocery list, goals, prayer intentions, a to-do list, and open notes.
A Scripture verse at the top reminds that we can do all the planning you want, but at the end of the day, we must hold fast to God and His Word above all else.
Then we dive into the week! Each day is marked by time (starting at 6:00 a.m so you early early risers may need to write in a 5 a.m.). I’ll admit, this is a part of the planner that took the longest to get used to. I originally liked my planner lines unmarked because things change and I’m a bit of a control freak. I don’t like it when my day doesn’t match my planner, but that’s a different blog post for a different day. I have gotten much better at using the times as a simple guideline. Now, I can’t imagine using a planner without them!
Each day also has a small to-do list section which is so helpful when, at the beginning of the week, I find that I have a crazy amount to get done. The smaller lists on each day allow me to take things in bite-sized pieces. It also gives me space to add in things as they come up (because they always do).
The Most Important Things to Do
Underneath the smaller to-do list on the daily spread is a section for you to check-off. Have you loved your body, mind, and soul today?
I’ll admit this is not a section I use very often. However, that’s probably an indicator that I am not loving on those things each day, which is something I’m trying to change.
Finally, at the end of each day, there is a section to record your gratitude. This section is perhaps the most underrated portion of this whole planner. How different is your day when you have gratitude on the forefront of your mind? In the chaos of life, it’s easy to see all that we “think” we’re missing. The gratitude section of this planner helps you remember that everything you need is right in front of you.
The Notes Section
The end of the planner contains a few extra pages for notes and another wonderful pocket for all those papers that you need to keep.
An Act of Self- and Family-Care
I love taking time on a Sunday afternoon to sit down with some Topo Chico or a glass of wine and work through my planner for the week. I like to use colored pens to help brighten things up, but that’s just a personal preference.
While this planner is full of wonderful things, at the heart of it, it’s quite streamlined. In its simplicity, it allows the owner to make it fit their vision. So whether you’re a stickers and washi tape person, or a black ink only person, this planner is for you.
Whether you’re a small business owner, an empty-nester, a college student, a mother of ten, or a young adult, this planner is for you!How I Use the Blessed is She Academic Year Planner #BISblog // Click To Tweet
Susana Starbuck is a regular contributor to the BIS blog. She is wife of a youth minister and mother to four littles five and under. She lives in Phoenix, AZ and enjoys reading a good book, posting her highlight reel on Instagram, and drinking wine. You can connect with her here.