Planning and Organization

Using a Panda Planner

I’ve become a big fan of using a daily journal or planner, particularly first thing in the morning. Before I started journaling, my morning routine would consist of me snoozing my alarm as much as possible, grabbing my phone, and getting immediately stressed out about the chaotic world outside. Not a great way to start the day. I started looking into journaling as an alternative to my wake-up routine, and more generally as a way to keep myself organized and prevent myself from feeling overwhelmed.

I briefly discussed on my other blog my use of the Panda Planner. If you’re not familiar, the Panda Planner is part daily/weekly/monthly planner, part gratitude journal, and part overall-inspiration-project-planning planner. I’ve found it to be very helpful not just in organizing my schedule, but organizing my thoughts and helping me focus. It’s a great tool moving into the new year!

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I grab my Panda Planner first thing in the morning, before I’m even out of bed, and I fill out everything on the page except for the “End of Day Review” section (I fill that section out at night, as I’m settling into bed). That means every morning I come up with:

  • 3 things I’m grateful for
  • 3 things I’m looking forward to
  • A focus for my day
  • Some sort of exercise to do that day (usually physical, though it can be whatever type of “exercise” I need that day)
  • An “Affirmation”, aka a sincere compliment for myself to give myself some early-morning confidence
  • My schedule, priorities, and to-do list for the day

It only takes a couple minutes, and it puts me in a much better mood than browsing Facebook. Even on especially sleepy/grumpy days, I’m able to fill all of that out (oftentimes I’m grateful for things like tea or my comfy bed!)

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I usually try to fill out my weekly page each Sunday. The weekly pages are pretty similar to the daily pages, but obviously with a broader week-long viewpoint. I can reflect on what went well in the previous week, and how I can improve moving forward. Then I can set goals and intentions for the coming week, organized into different categories. There’s often a lot of redundancy on these pages for me, but sometimes I feel that just helps hammer a certain point home in my brain!

Finally, the monthly view looks very similar to a regular monthly planner. However, once again, it has sections for goal planning and for reflection. You can also decide on a Habit you want to develop over the course of the month.

Do you journal at all? What journals have you used, and which have you liked? Let me know in the comments!

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