Ah, 2018. It feels so good to greet a new year. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that I am very happy to leave 2017 behind. It was rough. Also, 2017 can kick rocks.
Desperate for a fresh start, I began working on my 2018 planner in early December, finished it in record time, and couldn't wait to "move in". In fact, I couldn't help myself and carried it around for the last week and a half of December. This is the happiest I've ever been with a planner. 2018 already feels so much better. I'm not sure how or why. It just does.
This time last year, I wrote a post about my 2017 planner. A lot has changed, but much of how I think about planning has stayed the same. Last year, I focused more on the "why" and "how" of my planning process. This time, I'd like to share the main components: the "what", if you will.
This year, I went with the Webster's Pages A5 Color Crush Planner in Sedona. It's a beautiful, well-made, and cost-effective (Hurry! It's still on sale!) option to all the other planner binders out there. In looking for a new binder, I wanted exactly three things:
- It had to be made of vegan leather (or at least made from no animal products).
- It had to come with an epoxy-coated decorative snap cover (as opposed to the plain silver, gold, or brass circle snap options). I don't know why this was so important to me, but it was, and so I honored that.
- I wanted a planner with a wallet-like setup on the inside cover, preferably with an added window pocket.
This planner met all three of my "requirements", and I couldn't be happier with it! Every time I pull it out of my bag, it's like I forget how beautiful it is and fall in love with it all over again.
I talked about my inspirational images last year, and I'm sticking with the exact same setup except with new images. I love the general trends I'm starting to see from year-to-year. Last year was all about fun, creativity, and a better quality of life. This year is all about work, determination, and (hopefully!) big achievements. I love that each collection of images tells a story about what I needed most at that particular time in my life. I should collect them and make a mini book as the years go by.
Last year, I read a book called What Mama Couldn't Tell Us About Love, and something the authors stressed was the power of positive affirmations. The idea is that reading certain phrases over and over has the ability to retrain our psyche to let go of deeply rooted negative self-talk and replace it with words to soothe the soul and spirit. It sounds very woo-woo, but it's actually an effective and therapeutic practice. I started out printing phrases on paper and taping them to my wall, but after I moved, I decided to create a more portable system. In my planner, on the back of each inspirational image is a positive affirmation. I chose the top eight that felt the most needed, important, and real.
Get To Work Book
I tried the Get To Work Book in Spring 2016 with the unbound 7x9" version (discontinued) and again with the new A5 size (sold out) for the latter half of 2017. There is something about the A5 size that just clicked for me, and I'm thrilled to be using it again for 2018! I love the minimalist design and workhorse weekly pages that keep my task- and time-oriented plans in check. It's my favorite monthly/weekly planner out of anything I've ever used, including ones I designed myself... for myself!
Last year, I talked about my desire to keep monthly and weekly pages separate. Now, each monthly tab is interspersed throughout the weeks, and I took away the page marker that would allow me to flip directly to the current week. Now that I flip to the month first, I am constantly looking ahead at the entire month while bearing in mind anything that may be coming up in the next few weeks. In the past, when I would flip directly to the current week, my monthly layout was almost always forgotten. This is working so much better for me now.
Just a quick note: If you like to use erasable pens like Muji or Frixion on your planning pages, the Get To Work Book may not be the planner for you. I didn't have any problems using erasable pens with my 2017 version, but the 2018 print run seems to be erasing away with the pen ink! I still use my Muji pen because I love the flexibility it gives, and I don't erase often. However, this definitely may be a deal breaker for some of my planner pals out there!
Business Receipt Envelopes
For the current month, I have an A7 envelope (in the color persimmon) where I punched holes and secured it with washi tape. This is where I'm keeping my business receipts for the month and will refer back to them for easy bookkeeping and accounting. When the month is over, I'll either empty the envelope and place it behind the next month's tab, or use a new envelope while filing the old one away for reference. Either way, I'm loving having a separate place to corral receipts while still keeping them neatly tucked away but in easy reach.
Plant-Based Meal Planner and Shopping List
I've been playing around with a process/layout for meal planning and grocery shopping for a few years (before and after becoming vegan), and I finally came up with just the right insert! I can now get in and out of the grocery store in record time, and I hardly ever forget the things I need (a huge problem beforehand). I'll be talking more about this and my planning process surrounding meal planning in a separate post, but for now, you can find these inserts in my shop!
Bits & Pieces
Behind the monthly and weekly inserts are my Russell + Hazel mini tabs (cut down and hole-punched to fit the A5 size). Behind these tabs, I put lined notebook paper, extra project breakdown pages and graph paper that came with the Get To Work Book, and PDF documents of important papers printed at A5 size (or 69%).
I know there is some debate as to whether planner peace exists, but never have I been as happy with a planner setup as I am with this one. Ever since elementary school (yes, I was that child) I've tried nearly ever planner style, size, and design known to man. Each year, I have made tweaks and changes to improve my systematic approach to setting and achieving goals. This year, I finally got it right. I'm just SO HAPPY with my entire workflow when it comes to planning, and I am no longer experiencing planner envy. I'm happy with what I have. That feels so good to type! It's a perfect example of how when you stick with something (even when you're frustrated and completely convinced it's not working), it just gets better every year. I love that as I learn more about myself, I can better determine what I need in every area of my life. I can't wait to see what improvements I come up with for next year's planner!
Most importantly, I hope 2018 brings you every good thing under the sun, and I wish you a lifetime of happy planning. Thanks for reading!