Planning season is upon us. That means that we get to start afresh with new pens, journals, and visions for what we want in the new year. I’m a huge fan of all things paper, but I like to keep things minimal, well designed, and simple.
I also like to stick with what works, with tools that help me get clear and focused and stay on point throughout the year.
As Benjamin Franklin is famous for saying, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” If reading that quote makes you cringe because you hate planning or don’t consider yourself a planner, try thinking of planning in a new way.
What if planning was less about sticking to a set of unbendable rules and more like creating your dream list of what you’d like to see happen in life then working out how you want to make those dreams happen. Planning doesn’t have to be boring, difficult, or rigid.
The best plans have loads of passion, drive, and common sense all mixed together. And a great plan is flexible enough to not break under the pressure of life’s curve balls.
So as we look at 2018 as a new set of 365 days to make magic in, let’s focus on keeping it simple but beautiful. Plain but powerful.
one / / Passion Planner
First things first, you have to start with a great planner. I myself like a physical planner. I’m a writer and get more clarity from actually handwriting things versus looking at a digital calendar.
Looking for the right planner can become a time-wasting obsession. My friend and planner expert, Lorna Bailey, likes to say, “Just pick a planner, use it and make the most of it.”
Most things work if you work ’em.
I’ve been using the Passion Planner now for 3 years and I love it. I’ve thought about using other planners and actually searched high and low for other ones I liked. Of course, I did see others that I thought were visually more beautiful. But for me, it comes down to what works.
The Passion Planner’s main feature that brings me back, again and again, is the layout of the time for each week. You can clearly see each half hour beginning at 6:00 am and ending your day at 10:30 pm. If you have a part-time job like I do, then it helps to see where you need to block out time for work, travel time, personal time, and other cool things like workout and morning routines.
There’s also the added benefit of being able to create a mind map for the year, review each month with prompting questions and review the year.
Plus there’s a pocket in the back of the planner similar to a Moleskin journal. They go together well in my opinion!
two / / Pentel EnerGel Alloy RT Gel Pen
Have you ever had that special pen that you found randomly laying around, no idea how it came into your procession, but it becomes your favorite pen that no one is allowed to touch?! Yeah…that’s this pen for me.
This pen has become my buddy in life. First of all, I love that it’s alloy and retractable. I don’t like pens with caps because the caps always, always, always get lost. Secondly, the ink quality and the tip quality of the pen is outstanding. With this guy, I recommend the 0.5mm ball. But the 0.7mm is quite good too.
With this pen, I have journaled my plans, goals, and wishes!
three / / Moleskine Classic Notebook, Large, Squared
The Moleskine Classic Notebook series has been around for ages. I’ve been using these classic journals since high school. What I love about these is that they never change. Which means that if you’re a someone who likes visual consistency on a shelf, you can have it with Moleskine products.
It’s really neat to see your collection grow over the years, too.
Personally, I opt for the squared or gridded journals because I can be more precise. It’s technically called a Cashiers journal and for good reason. I make amazing lists and basic budgets like a boss with the grid lines guiding me.
Also, I can’t leave this unsaid: the paper quality is really what makes any journal or planner stand out.
four / / Present & Correct 2018 Wall Planner
I’ve been a visual person since I can remember. I need to have things clearly laid out in front of me to really get a sense of my time.
And lately, the concept of “52 weeks” has been kicking around in my brain as I get ready for a new year.
52 weeks really isn’t a lot of time when you think about it. Neither is three hundred and sixty-five days. So to really make the most of the year I’ve decided that I’m going to focus on seeing the time that I have.
With this wall planner, you could mark off things like bills, health goals, important deadlines, and seasonal needs like switching to a winter wardrobe or spring cleaning the house.
Those really the most basic tools I use to stay organized, creative, focused, and positive. I believe that planning is an essential part of staying healthy and driven. You don’t need much to get the job done. Keep it simple, use what you have and work the system that you create for yourself.
I hope you like this round of minimalist planning essentials. If there’s a tool or planner that you use to stay organized, even if it’s an app, let me know in the comments below so I can check it out and others can learn about it too!