Sunday 7 January 2024

The Best Planner Ever - Curation by St. Belford

I have found it. The very best planner. Ever. One that I actually used all year last year, and liked so much that I pre-ordered one. They're not cheap, and this year I splurged on the tabs and more stickers (because you can never have enough stickers), so it was my Christmas gift from Santa. 

It focuses on Self Care, which is excellent, and St. Belford even provides lovely podcasts supporting your self-care.

The Sections:

1. Self-Care Menu: what can you do for 10/30/60 minutes for your mind/body/soul?

2. Bucket List for the year: what fun, satisfying adventures do you want to have?

3. Set your Intentions for the year: how do you want to live your life? What do you want to change, achieve, do?

4. The next section is hefty: Missions: what do you want to accomplish this year? And you don't just write "Paint my house". You also give yourself a target date, tell yourself Why you want to do it, Overcome your fears about doing it, lay out the (manageable) Steps with their individual target dates, note your Milestones, your Rewards upon completion, and you even get a lovely Progress Bar that you can decorate to your heart's desire. It's like a big Project Plan on a two-page spread, in your planner, not in a separate notebook. Awesome.

5. Less daunting is the Habit Curator: What habits do you want to incorporate into your life? What are their benefits, the steps to doing the habit, the cues that help trigger you to do it, and a checklist for starting it. In other words, I'm not just listing my habits, I'm setting myself up for success in doing them.

6. Savings Curator: What are you saving for, how can you re-budget or make more money to do so? This section also includes monthly Income and Expenses tables.

7. The Monthly section: All the monthly spreads are in one section, so you can plan your monthly items, write in all your birthdays, see what's going on in your schedule at a glance instead of flipping through pages to find the next month. It should also be noted that every day is a full square. None of those useless diagonal half-squares!

8. Then, and this is the best, the Weekly Spreads: Each week gets two full two-page spreads. 

Pre-Week Planner: The whole month is laid out at the top, and the week you're in is bolded. There is a Gratitude Reflection for the week, a Drawing Board (your mini bullet journal for the week, or for whatever), your week's Priorities / Mission Progress, and a Personal Planner / Tracker (meal planning, workouts, moods, whatever you want). At the very bottom is a prompt for the week - something that will make you feel good.

Weekly Spread: Every day has it's own full block, and each block has an appointment/task section, a checklist section, and a Self-Care line. The spread also includes a space for reminders or notes, and the Habit Tracker for the week.

9. One of the last, and also best, sections, is the Memories section:

Yearly Memory Bank. It's where you write down all the things that you want to remember, like when did you have coffee with that random friend, when and where was your vacation, when did your car go in for service, etc. It has 54 spaces for the things that you don't want to shuffle back through the whole book to find, and it's great. 

Yearly Reflections: prompts help you look back at your year; who/what made you happy/unhappy, and what can you change to make next year better?

10. At the very end are plain lined note pages. Not a lot, but they get the job done. And, new this year is next year's calendar.

That all sounds like a lot.

But the very best part is that St Belford themselves give you permission to not use all the spaces, do all the things, and they even tell you to give yourself permission to not accomplish all the missions etc. that you've set out for yourself. Life happens, and your self-care and mental health are more important than checking all the boxes and doing all the tasks and meeting all the target dates.

I certainly did not do all the things and meet all the dates. Not one of my missions made it off the page last year. I only have one or two habits that I manage to do 50% of the time. I didn't do everything on my Bucket List. And I'm okay with that because I can see what I have accomplished in my general life. Because it was actually a lot.

I finally finished crocheting a dishcloth that I've been working on for a couple of years. Now I want to crochet more.

I exercised a lot more and ate more vegetables this year. I prepped better lunches for work, more often, this year.

I was a better President for a Group this year.

I was less hard on myself for not getting things done this year. And this, right here, is motivation to do even just one more thing this year. And to be okay with not doing it, if it's too much.

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