EmbrACE Magazine

Making a List, Checking it Twice


Keeping a planner is what I feel like an introduction to adulthood. It is a great way to form the habit of keeping a habit. It is also a gateway to getting somewhat organized, at least get the illusion of being organized, with time. And you know what, ‘tis the season to get yourself a new agenda.

Finding the “planner peace”, a system that works like a clock ever in favor, is essentially what everyone is trying to find, yet finding it so hard to achieve. Planner peace had always been this unachievable goal for me. I had bought planners cheap and expensive, basic and more elaborate, minimalist or decorated. Nothing worked, I had never used any of them consistently. Never missed a deadline, but always on full-on panic mode.

What had changed the game for me initially was the Bullet Journal Method. The method can be as simple or as complicated as you would like it to be. If something does not work for you, you can turn over the page and start fresh on another. I just loved the idea of using an empty notebook to create an agenda specialized specifically to fit my habits and scheduling, plus my excessive Type A lists on pretty much anything from groceries to travel to bucket lists. And to top it all, I did not need to pay for a new notebook. I could have used one from my ever-growing “too nice to mess up” notebook collection. So budget friendly, right? And then I went along spending a fortune on washi tapes, stickers, brush pens, and scrapbooking paper. But I am tracking my spending now so it’s not a surprise to me anymore when I have no excess money left by the end of the month.

It is also very low maintenance. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy recreating the same spreads every month, over and over again. Though I must admit, there is something very much therapeutic about it. And yet it is also very much time consuming and makes long-term planning much harder. But I still keep it. I still spend at least an hour to set up the upcoming month, filling in my gratitude log every day, writing my weekly recaps every Sunday. My Bullet Journal had truly transformed into a true journal of documentation of my life rather than pre-planning, for which I am using a €1 Hema planner now.

And hence, my bullet journal had also rekindled my love for the pre-printed structural planners.

Whichever system you chose to plan, try starting it now. Work on your goals for the new year, the seasons to come, the upcoming terms, and obviously the months. Take your time, focus and decide how you want to spend the upcoming year. Try a system, fail, move on to a different system, until finding a -probably hybrid- system working for you. At the end of the day, planning is a marathon, not a sprint. And goal planning specifically is not something that happens overnight, it needs its specific planning as well. That is why the last week of November is not early to start planning for the new year, as the matter of the fact, it is just the time.