I love to imagine myself as one of those cool people who sit in a cafe and type away on their laptops sipping a cup of coffee. When taking a break from the laptop they open one of their fancy, cool looking diaries or planners and tick off things on a to do list.. That’s the picture I have been fascinated with for years, buying new diaries come every new year and of course, not using them. Then, every year end just end up throwing them out and promising myself the next year will be different and what actually happens is that my new pretty diary collects dust month after month.
I realise the solution is not to buy a better diary every year but perhaps having enough self disciple to actually use one. However, it often feels quite overwhelming looking at the blank page and not knowing what to do with it. Plan out my day, plan my year, plan my moods, make a to do list.. Where does one start implementing these new things they want to achieve? Too many options and too many scattered ideas that never get seen through.
However, this year one of the things I definitely wanted to do is to get more structure into my day and was looking for means to do so. And although the task of planning out your days/weeks does indeed look daunting, it actually gets easier once you start. And the thing is, if you’re like me, and postpone planning because you want to use a certain pen or want to write but are not sure if your handwriting is nice enough for the notebook (I have those though all the time..) just remember that this diary/notebook/planner is here to serve YOU, not the other way around. So take this as an opportunity to experiment and learn about what works for you.
I have been using 3 tools for the past few months: two notebooks and an app. Might seem a bit excessive for someone who could not use 1 diary, but it’s like having different shoes for different occasions, you need more than one.. Hear me out:
First thing is a plain notebook that I use during my morning routine and I write in it for 5 to 10 minutes. What gets written depends on my mood and circumstances, I try and make it as positive as possible, so it would be an abstract combination of affirmations, things I want to achieve and a prayer. I try and fill a page of an A5 notebook and find that once all these positive thoughts and intentions are on paper, it’s somehow more real and sets a tone for a better day.
Then, the 5 Minute Journal App, I have set a reminder for the app on my phone which I try and fill out after I make my coffee in the morning. It’s essentially a gratitude journal in an app form: you fill it out in the morning: 3 things you’re grateful for, 3 things that will make today great and an intention for the day; and in the evening (I do it as a last thing before turning the lights off): 3 amazing things that happened today and 1 thing how you could have made today better. It’s really great, helps to carry the momentum from filling out the notebook and define the things I will focus on that particular day and it’s a great closure for the day as it kind of sets the tone for the following morning.
And last but not least it’s the Dear Diary planner. This year as every year, I was looking the prettiest diary, the only difference is that I am actually using it! (tap on the back for myself for that.) The planner itself is beautiful. But most importantly, it’s a structured system for achieving your goals. It has week to view but as well as that, little boxes to tick to track your habits and set out the goals for the week. There are little perks at the end of every week – a weekly overview and (something you could find in a glossy magazine) useful tips, recipes, or general insight into a topic. And I LOVE that, it makes me look forward to completing the whole week so I get a little reward Sunday evening when looking back on the past week and planning out the next one.
I scan over it in the morning while having breakfast after I am done with my gratitude app to make sure I have all my personal to do things in it and to start off a productive day. I make sure to tick off the habits that I have been sticking to and goals I have achieved every evening.
The great thing is, the system is actually working. And for someone who is obsessing over the right handwriting and spelling, get this erasable pen from Amazon, so you can erase the mistake(s) and keep the tidy looking journal.
Let me know what works for you and how to you keep on top of your day?
Lots of Love!