Tuesday, February 9, 2016

My Journey Towards Planner Zen

Mandala doodle in my bullet journal
 I started keeping a diary when I was 16. I was staying at a girls’ hostel and attended school at Sekolah Menengah King George V, Seremban. A rather aloof person, I was having a difficult time making friends and poured my sorrows in my diary. Fortunately, I adapted to hostel life and have more friends and can now say that the best time of my teenage life was at the hostel. Here’s to Malay Girls Hostel, Seremban!

Fast forward to my working life; keeping a planner helped me keep track of my projects, sales and what have you. My first employer and one that is worth mentioning is Royal Selangor Pewter put strong emphasis on human resource development and I even took a course on how to effectively use a planner.

Image from Google
Then, I went into paperless organizer. I had a PalmOne Zire31 and I was scheduling my appointments with it when I was active as a Unit Trust Adviser. I felt strongly about using less paper and being environmental friendly so to a certain point, it did serve a purpose.

Then I started a family and let go of a lot of things; focusing on my babies and keeping the house. I managed to start a small online enterprise with my handmade and never give it much thought of organizing things the best way possible. It’s more of doing things as you go. Nothing really works well for me nor was I searching for the perfect planner to help me organize stuff.

Looking back, I wonder how did I manage? Seriously... Well, I didn’t or at least I didn’t manage it well enough. The dawn of realizing I need a planner came when I stumbled upon Angela Trinidad’s Passion Planner KickStart site sometime end 2014. I was so impressed on how she breaks down the planner to make it goal oriented. Something that I feel seriously lacking in my life after I settled down with kids. She had a free version and I made my own Passion Planner on A5 paper and bind them together with my comb binder.
My DIY A5 Passion Planner 
I’m beginning to discover ‘Planner Zen’. I like the Weekly Spread, the Week’s Focus, the Good Things That Happened column and the blank space for my brain dump. It brought me back to my first love of pen and paper. Somehow, paperless planner wasn’t cutting it for for me. There is magic when you put pen to paper!
I DIYed some trackers and used cute memo stickers bought at Daiso

I was quite content with the Passion Planner and somewhere in 2015, I discovered local planner groups on instagram @myplannerbabes and @planneraddictmalaysia. I was amazed with what they are doing with their planners. They don’t look anything like the planners I was using before. They have colours, washi tapes, stickers, beautiful hand-writing, stamps and so much more. I started to get the creative itch to do the same with my planner. But A5 size is not a size to do much decoration; what more to have it functional too. So I went hunting for a new planner. From these groups I found out that some had more than one planner. I wasn’t sure I can manage more than 1 planner but I won’t know unless I try.

Mambi Happy Planner 2015-2016

I was in luck because Scrap n Crop brought in the Mambi Happy Planner which starts July 2015 to December 2016. I got my Happy Planner somewhere in September (if I’m not mistaken) and started to hoard clear stamps, washi tapes, stickers and made my own stickers and what have you. From limited space in my A5 Passion Planner, I have so much space in the Happy Planner. Have I achieved Planner Zen? I thought I had. But it was short lived. The planner is so “pretty” that I was too careful filling it in. It takes time, planning and in short too much work for me. It’s not helping me much in organizing my life but it’s adding to the long list of things to do for me. No, it defeats the purpose of me having a planner.

My somewhat humble decorated pages of the Happy Planner

So I started dabbling in other systems. I made my own Passport Size Faux-MTN and diy-ed the inserts. I thought organizing the different areas of my life with different inserts but having it together in the Dori would work but again, short lived. It was still too much work for me to juggle between the inserts. I’ve made more Fauxdori and dubbed them Zidori and gave and sold them online. 

By end November, I’ve decided to let go of my Happy Planner so it can spread it’s happiness to a deserving Planner. I did sell it off and my quest for a planner went back to square one. At the same time, I’ve been searching Pinterest to get ideas on how to use a planner more effectively. I then stumbled upon Bullet Journaling and the simplicity of it all captured my attention. I watched the video and searched some more. I later found boho.berry and tinyrayofsunshine. They are bullet journal junkies and I love them to bits. I follow them on Instagram and their blogs. They expanded the basic concept of bullet journal and made it SO interesting so I decided to give it a try.

So I went to get a notebook. I feel that A5 is the best size for me. It’s small enough to keep in my handbag and yet functional enough to hold a lot of things. I wanted a dotted page and I found a notebook at Borders; Giornale by Unicorn. It’s only RM20.05 which is a lot more easy on the wallet than a Moleskine. I dived right into in and started my Bullet Journal journey in December 2015. Here are some sneak peak of the pages in my Bullet Journal, Bujo for short:

Index page

Future Log

Monthly Spread

Some of the trackers I’ve incorporated
I love the fact that it slowly grows on me. It’s like falling in love all over again with pen and paper. It wasn’t an immediate Planner Zen but it was a journey of discoveries. This is the kind of love that grows as you nurture it. Totally different from my Happy Planner episode which now I can call an infatuation. The more I discover what Bujo can do, the higher the Planner Zen grows. I am in a happy place as far as my planner is concern. I achieve Zen without needing to fill the pages with washi tapes or cute stickers. My doodles although not so pretty and the quotes I hand-lettered was giving me satisfaction beyond the more professionally done commercial planners.

And the zen didn’t just stop there as a planner zen. In my blog of handmade and diy stuff, it finds its place here as everything in the bullet journal is made by me. As a disclaimer, in no part of this post am I saying that any particular planner system is inferior to bullet journaling. They might be the best for some planners, they are just not the right ones for me. 

With that, I leave you for the time being. In next post, I’ll be sharing more things on my Bujo and show you how it is helping me organize my life. In the meanwhile, do check out the links I’ve shared in this post if you are interested to learn more about bullet journalling. Who knows, it might lead you to Planner Zen as it has lead me :)

p/s: Wishing everyone a “Happy Lunar New Year!”

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