Think about those times in your life when you have felt inspired to something really great. Where does that inspiration come from?
The Holy Spirit. God inspires us to do great things with our lives.
----Matthew Kelly

Welcome to The Not So Perfect Catholic!

Disclaimer: I am not a theologian, just a Catholic empty-nester trying to figure it all out. The views on this blog are my own.

Why I Ditched a Popular Catholic Planner

laptop open to blog page with planner, and coffee cup

I've written a couple of posts about different Catholic Planners. In Which Catholic Planner is Better for You? I reviewed 2 different Catholic Planners: The Blessed is She Planner and the Catholic Through the Year (CTTY) Planner. In I have a Winner in the Catholic Planner Debate, I really thought I had a winner in the CTTY Planner. Gosh, I loved that planner! It actually had more than what I needed, but I loved the layout and the disc option. It was just about perfect. 

When it was time to buy another academic planner for my last school year before retirement, I immediately went to the Catholic Sistas ETSY Store...but a planner for this school year wasn't there. A quick search on ETSY came up with no hits, so I think she may have closed her store. So, I went to their site...nope, not there either. I don't know what happened. Maybe they didn't sell, which is a complete shame because it's just about perfect. Or maybe Martina decided that it wasn't worth putting her time and effort into. Whatever the reason, it's not available anymore. So, I decided to go back to the BIS planner.

As a school-based Speech-Language Pathologist, I have specific needs for a planner. As a Catholic professional, those needs include keeping up with the Liturgical Calendar.

During my first couple of years using a Catholic planner, I purchased them from BIS, then I switched over to CTTY. I decided to go back to BIS because it's so wildly popular. At first, I was excited about it. Once I received the BIS planner and started filling it up with appointments and IEP meetings, I realized it just wasn't going to work. There just wasn't enough room for each day to put in everything I needed. (Click on the picture for a better view.)

Blessed is She Planner: Weekly View
I considered just going to an office supply store and buying a regular planner, but I really like to support Catholic shops and I like to have the Liturgical Calendar at my fingertips without going to a separate calendar. I began searching online for other options and found the 2022-2023 Catholic Planner (Half-size) from ElizabethClareShop on ETSY. In the past, I have purchased stickers from her and have always been pleased. Elizabeth has been very quick to respond when I've had questions. This planner was the closest I came to find one similar to CTTY. And it was on sale with free shipping! I have plenty of room on the weekly view to write in all of my IEP meetings, appointments, and To-Do lists for school.
ElizabethClareShop 2022-2023 Catholic Academic Planner
As you can see from the picture, I used washi tape to divide the days right down the middle. I put my IEP meetings/appointments/events on the right and my "To-Do" list on the left. It's working like a charm! Overall, I'm really happy with this planner.

There are a couple of things I would have liked to have had in a planner. 1) Since the cover is heavy laminated cardstock, I'm hoping it's going to hold up until May. Time will tell on that one! 2) The tabs weren't already on the monthly view pages so I had to put them on myself. That is definitely not one of my talents.

It came with a guide, which helped, but as I was placing November, the tab stuck to my finger and tore. I like BIS' tabs, which are sturdy (and already fixed onto the pages):

One thing I really like about the EC Planner is that it is "no frills". The beginning of the planner has the year's calendar, 3 pages for notes, and a page that has space to write "My Rule, My Patron, My spiritual Practices, and My Goals. Then it jumps right into the calendar. The BIS starts out with a letter from Jenna, a whole page for Liturgical Mass Colors, another page for the yearly calendar, a page for the yearly feast days, a page for Holy Days and Novena Start Dates, a page for "How to Make a Holy Hour " and Friday Penance, 1 more for prayers, 2 pages on the Rosary, and another 2 for Examination of Conscience. That's 11 pages before the planner even starts! 
The EC monthly view has the dedication of the month (for example September is "mother of the Seven Sorrows of Mary") Prior to each month there are a couple of pages.
A page for goals/tasks and notes

Novena dates/tracker, monthly confession check box, and a Scripture verse to ponder as well as a page for notes
In BIS, prior to each month, there's a page for reflection and then a beautiful cover page with a quote from a Saint. The monthly views include the Liturgical Colors and the quote that was on the monthly cover.  I find that this view is just too small to really make it effective for me. I do like that both planners have space on the side where I can write the IEPs and Re-evaluations that are due each month.
Blessed is She Academic Planner Monthly View

ElizabethClareShop Monthly View
At the end of the BIS Planner, there are 15 blank pages for notes. The back of the EC Planner includes:
Common Catholic Prayers and the Rosary. I'm not sure why the Luminous Mysteries aren't included.

Suggestions for using the planner, Catholic Practices, and a symbol guide.

Note and Future Plans pages

Next year's calendar and the Liturgical Colors for this year
I've found that I just don't need all of the information that is in the BIS Planner. I just need a planner where I can keep track of my meetings/events/to-do list, and be reminded of the Liturgical Calendar. I need a half-size planner...I have to carry materials between 2 schools so I don't need a planner that's going to take up a lot of space and weigh down my already too heavy backpack. (Both come in half-size.) Both have absolutely beautiful covers:
ElizabethClareShop 2022-2023 Catholic Academic Planner

Cover of Blessed is She Catholic Academic Planner
The ElizabethClare Planner's original cost was the same as the BIS, but with the 30% off the total price was $15 less. With ElizabethClare there is free shipping; BIS does not have free shipping unless your order is over $100. 

As you can tell, I definitely prefer the EC Planner. In my opinion, teachers would absolutely love this planner, especially itinerant education professionals. I would love to see an option given by CTTY: no holes punched so I could use my disc hole puncher and make it a disc planner. That also gives the option to choose what's in the planner. I really don't need all of the note-taking pages, but maybe someone else would use them. Plus, I could pop in a couple of folders that I had in my CTTY planner to hold my planner stickers. It's all about options!

To wrap up, here are the features of the ElizabethClareShop 2022-2023 Catholic Academic Planner that made me ditch the Blessed is She Catholic Academic Planner:
  • No frills
  • Lightweight (approximately 8 oz. lighter than BIS)
  • Large weekly view with plenty of room for IEP meetings/events/to-do list
  • Large monthly view that is readable
  • Few pages for notes 
  • Compact Catholic Practices and common prayers pages
I'd love to hear from you. What Catholic Academic Planner works best for you? Have you stayed with the same one for years, or like me, are you trying to find that perfect one?

**I have to note that I found a planner on ETSY that is similar to the CTTY in the weekly format. It is only available in the calendar year and not the academic calendar, though. It looks as sturdy as the BIS planner with the CTTY weekly format, so if you're looking for a calendar year planner, the Simple Holiness Planner might be worth a look. 

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