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Practical Planning


The hunt for the perfect planner has already begun—but this 2020 will be different for me. Instead of spending a couple of thousand pesos for fancy coffee in exchange for an equally fancy planner, I will opt for the minimalist (you might even say boring) option of a dotted page of paper. I know some people may not agree with me, but to each his own.

There was one year when I used the much-raved about planner. There was also a year when I used the colorful day planner by Paulo Coelho. But for some reason, the habit of writing down to-dos and schedules just didn’t stick—even if the pages were beautifully made. Then 2019 came around and I discovered what is known as bullet journaling. A Google search revealed to me the basics: An index for pages or sections you would want to come to later, page numbers, symbols for each type of entry, and DIY calendars and trackers. It seemed easy enough.

Practical Planning

I assembled my arsenal: a trusty black Parker pen, a couple of glitter pens for headers, and a brush pen for scribbles (or attempts at hand lettering).

A year in bullet journaling has dramatically changed my life. I have filled out a hundred pages filled with notes, quotes that resonated with me at a certain point in the past year, and a wealth of information I can look back to and learn from. These are my realizations.

1. An “x” gave me some sort of satisfaction

I had the most productive days in the past year than all the previous years in my professional life. Listing down to-dos in bullets has become an everyday essential—and marking each task with an “x” at the end of the day brought me satisfaction. I felt more purposeful when I saw how much work I did in a day and it made me look forward to getting things done the next day.

2. There is no excuse to forget tasks

Notes and schedules are kept in one notebook—that means one less notebook to lug around and no more forgetting notes. Since there are no fixed pages, I was able to maximize each page and do whatever suited my needs as I went along.

3. There’s no pressure to keep the pages pristine—and that somehow allows for more genuine expression

Sometimes expensive notebooks and planners become too pretty to write on, so you end up not writing anything at all! Scribbling and doodling have always been therapeutic for me and I was reunited with that part of myself.

4. Trackers are really a lot of help

Trackers help you learn about yourself and show you what you need to improve on. One of the things I found oddly satisfying was keeping track of my dreams (or at least the ones I can remember) and songs that put me in a good mood.

5. I’m more grateful as I’m able to appreciate little things

Setting up a “daily gratitude” page has helped me appreciate the little things and the present more. Although planners are meant to help you plan for the immediate future, writing about everyday things has made me feel more grounded.

Source: Manila Bulletin

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