Obviously, the best thing about a new year is all that new stationery.
Crisp, white notebooks, just waiting to be filled with all your schemes and daydreams. Empty diaries, crying out to be populated with plans. Instagrammable planners that retail for forty quid plus import fees, that will almost certainly be abandoned by summer.
Not this year.
My friend Kaite has been singing the praises of her Passion Planner for years. As the epitome of the portfolio career type – a freelance journalist and critic turned acclaimed author – as well as somebody with a background in strategic planning, Kaite needs a system that is both flexible and gets results. And sure, my head is easily turned by pretty stationery (see that flipping ban.do planner that I imported from the US then never used), but to hear Kaite talk the Passion Planner is life-changing stuff. And so, when the crowdfunder launched for their 2018 planners, I was quick to subscribe – so quick that it meant I had to count down the months, never mind weeks, until my beautiful planner arrived.
Dreamed up by Angelia Trinidad, who was struggling to find the perfect system to help her develop and achieve her personal goals during that post-university, pre-“career” limbo period, the Passion Planner is supposed to help you set both personal and professional goals and then make taking steps towards them part of your daily routine. It encourages you to turn big picture plans into smaller, achievable goals, and incorporates checking in with yourself once a month to see what worked, what didn’t, and how you can build on the small successes to live your absolute best life.
If that all sounds a bit pompous and airy-fairy? It’s really, really not. I’ve been using the system for 10 days now, and I’m already beginning to see some successes – as well as changes in my organisational approach. I’ve never been much of a goal-oriented person in the traditional sense: I’m successful, but much of that has been through a combination of good luck, chancing my arm and high-functioning anxiety. I work incredibly hard, but not always in ways that are the most strategic or efficient. Using my Passion Planner gives me a rough idea of what my week is going to look like and what I need to get done, and allows me to allocate my time effectively – I then only have myself to blame if I spend a good chunk of the one night of the week I have set aside for writing this blog post frittering my time away on Facebook…
It’s a learning process to be sure, and one I haven’t entirely gotten the hang of yet – but just knowing that, once I hit “schedule” on this blog post, I’ll be done with “blog work” for the week has me incredibly excited. Plus, it’s a community I’m really excited to be a part of too: since the very beginning, Angelina has emphasised community in the Passion Planner ethos and the company donates a planner to a school, organisation or individual for every one purchased.
Of course, just because I’ve found the perfect system doesn’t mean I’m limiting myself to a single piece of stationery. My handbag-sized ‘to-do diary’* from Busy B is the perfect thing to keep me organised when I’m out and about. Each spread consists of a week-to-view schedule on the left-hand page and a lined page for notes on the right, which I’ve been using to track the blog posts and freelance work I’m due to produce in that particular week. While not as detailed as the Passion Planner, it means I can quickly see where I’m supposed to be and what I’m supposed to be doing, and leave the more strategic stuff for my nightly brain dump and planning sessions. An Edinburgh-based independent brand, Busy B produces some really gorgeous, budget-friendly and innovative products (like the planner-friendly sticky notes* you can see in the pictures) – and when I decided I wanted to get my sister a diary to help keep her organised at work as a Christmas present, they were the obvious choice.
Busy B are also behind the budget book I mentioned in last year’s money-saving post, and I’m back using that again after a couple of months of disorganisation and bad habits. The same goes for my bullet journal, which has once again become my place for tracking my habits, blog ideas, books read and films watched, as well as being a daily log of the things – good and bad – I want to get out of my head and commit to paper before bed.
Of course, the most important part of my organisational toolkit is just having notebooks to write in when inspiration strikes – something I’m already hoping, and planning, will be a big part of my 2018. My nieces and nephew gifted me the perfect, lined, marble-print notebook for Christmas, which is already getting plenty of use, while lovely Ina at Folklorique gifted me an eco-friendly notebook featuring one of her gorgeous illustrations* to help me start the new year off right.
What are you using to help you get organised this year?
This post contains PR samples, but all views are my own and unbiased.