I’m planner obsessed! You can chalk it up to my type A personality, need for creative outlets, or overly busy and hectic schedule (which I am working on decreasing!). What ever your belief is, a planner is an effective way for me to stay organized, stay accountable to my goals/commitments, and also to decompress or have a clear mind. And in 2018, I found the perfect planner to fit my lifestyle, the Commit 30 Planner!
I researched many planners like the Erin Condren Life Planner and the Happy Planner finally settling on Commit 30’s Planner due to its weekly horizontal layout that has three categories, “life to do” and “work to do” tasks bars, and monthly goal planning. There is a specific layout for goals and action items each month. Valuing overall health, I wanted a planner that would help inspire me to stick to my overall health commitments and goals. And I wanted a planner where there was plenty of space to document my thoughts and ambitions through writing, stickers, and block lettering (which I love to do!).
Each weekend in 2018 I took a small amount of time to open up my planner and think about the tasks and goals I had for the week. This was not a time for me to think about work tasks as I have an entirely separate system for calendaring in the school counseling office. Instead, this was a time for me to focus on my personal well being and ambitions outside of my school counseling practice. In my life this meant scheduling my gym classes and documenting them in my planner, meal planning and recording my shopping list, writing out errands that needed to be done, reviewing any social commitments I had during the week and ensuring that they do not conflict with work commitments, and remembering birthdays or other important dates and writing them down. Creating lists and and documenting dates helped me to mentally prepare for my week ahead. No surprises!
During this time, I also took some time to reflect on the past week. This was an important moment in my weekly routine. It was me and the past negotiating what went well and what area needs improvement. In 2018, I found that the area that often needed improvement was creating a schedule that did not allow me to slow down, breathe, and be calm. This reflection allowed me to work week by week on creating a more doable and healthy schedule for myself. Planners should be about personal growth and development. I always tell my students that my expectation of them is that they are always constantly growing and improving. Therefore, I need to hold myself to that standard.
The Commit 30 planner allowed me to think about some fun goals I had and pick action items to accomplish them. For example, last year I experienced a very traumatic house fire. I was so upset about everything and obviously very stressed about my home and items and the plethora of work that came afterward. That month my goal was to be more grateful. The action item I chose to accomplish this task was to write down three things I was grateful for each day. One of my favorite moments of gratitude was “I am thankful for the time to develop my creative space”. Something I took for granted for years until I went back to school to earn my Phd! With the guidance of the Commit 30 planner to develop a personal goal and an action item, I was able to accomplish many things in 2018.
The planner also acted as a creative outlet for me. In all honestly, my planner is very private. I list things in my planner that I could never say out loud. Its a space for me to journal some of my most intimate thoughts and goals even before I can fully articulate them. I emphasized these thoughts or goals or notes with doodles, stickers, and quotes. It all feels very satisfying knowing that my brain is not meant to function all on its own. There is a space to put all of it.
I didn’t know I would find so much joy in having an “old school paper planner”. If you know my school counseling practice then you know that I am pretty much paperless at work (a post about that later!). But given how much joy and effectiveness it brought me in 2018 I couldn’t wait for my 2019 planner to arrive! And I can’t wait to see what the year has to offer because of it.