One of the things I love about beginning the year is that I get to use a brand new planner or journal. It’s quite literally like starting off with a blank slate — fresh pages full of hope and possibility! And the act of setting up my pages and spreads, writing down my vision and goals for the year, plotting out important dates make facing the new year a little less daunting and a lot more exciting. There’s something about seeing it all written down on paper that helps boost my confidence.
This 2020, I’m so thrilled to be using Everyday Explorer Co‘s Let’s Be Explorers undated planner, lovingly and meticulously designed by Christine Herrin. All the details of this planner is meant to encourage the user to be positive, be eager to grow and enjoy every moment of life in practical and measurable ways. There may be more ways than one to use it but the way I’ve set it up and filled it out so far has been a delightful breeze! Let me explain just what I mean as I go through every section…
The first page of the Let’s Be Explorers planner is what I call the Intention Page. When you read what it says you’ll understand that it is meant to motivate and inspire.
After a quick view of the planner features, the next page is a blank canvas for absolutely anything! So I decided to make it a mood board. I decorated it, putting in one of my favorite photos of a very self enriching experience I had last year just to keep the positive vibe going in the pages.
Highlights of the Year
There’s a spread titled Year At A Glance which is still empty because I mean to fill this with highlights per month as they happen. This will also serve as my guide when I put together my Project Life at the end of the year, so I’ll know the occassions and big events to document.
Habit and Project Tracker
The next spread is called Yearly Plan and is basically like a chart where you can track anything you want on a daily basis. I used the Calendar Days stamp set, also by Everyday Explorers Co, to label the first column with months and I’m using the chart to track habits I hope to maintain this year such as attending dance classes, listening to enriching podcasts and making time to create just for myself.
In the bottom I made my own legend and set color codes for each habit or project. Everyday, I mark the appropriate box with the colors of the habits I was able to fulfill. In this way, I’ll clearly see after a given amount of time how faithful I’ve been to keeping these habits. If I haven’t been, then it will help me assess my reasons (or excuses) and perhaps figure out what I could work on or adjust.
There’s also a page where you can list down all your Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly and Yearly Tasks. These are the things that must repeat over a period of time such as weekly exercise, monthly deep house cleaning, monthly pedia visits, quarterly decluttering, etc.
I expect that new things will be added to these lists as the months pass and as my life changes but it’s good to have an idea what important things have to happen throughout the year. It’s the responsibilities and chores that aren’t as fun to talk about or plan for but are necessary to maintain a good quality of life.
Top 3 Goals and Word for the Year
This spread is significantly more exciting than the previous one but just as important. Yearly Goals page encourages you to write down your top three goals for the year and helpfully prompts you to break each of them down into doable steps. There’s even a box in the bottom that tells you to write down what reward you’ll give yourself once the goal is reached!
Next to Yearly Goals is another blank space “for brainstorming/ mood boarding/ extra thoughts.” I decided to use it to document my 2020 word which came to me when I was going through Susannah Conway’s Unravel Your Year Workbook. As you can see, my word is MOVE. This word means many things to me at the moment but I expect that it will redefine itself and take form in more ways for me throughout the year, so it’s best if I see and read it often. I only used stamps to create this layout using different sets from Everyday Explorers Co.
Two other cool features of this planner is The Next 90 Days and the goals check-in page. These pages allow you to break the year into more manageable phases and track your progress towards reaching your goals at every quarter mark.
It is easier to picture what should happen in three months than in twelve months, so having this spread totally makes planning life more realistic and less overwhelming.
Every section begins with a full view of the month which I’ve decided to decorate with stickers and tapes, setting the mood for the weeks ahead. Take note that this planner is completely undated so I used the Calendar Days and Dated stamp sets to mark the months and number the days. In case you’re wondering, it is undated so that the user has freedom to start at any time of year he or she would like.
This spread also has a section on the side for note taking or a space to participate in the little monthly challenges written on the bottom right corner. An example would be “Pick one thing to record or document for the entire month” as simple as your daily coffee drink or number of steps you walk. For April it’s making a Gratitude List and for June it’s “What’s on your nightstand.” It’s a fun activity to do when you find a few minutes of free time, perhaps while waiting in line, to wind down in bed at night or as a meditation activity in the morning.
Now we go to the weekly layouts where all the action, all the living and all the exploring take place.
The page on the left is divided into the days of the week with an extra box on top where you can write down what you expect to accomplish within the next seven days. There’s ample space to write down appointments for each day. I just specify the time next to the activity.
The page on the right is mostly blank and this is where I put down my week’s TO DO LISTS. Sometimes there will be a few important reminders too. In the bottom there is a section for notes and another prompt for the end of the week. This week’s is “All the colors!” and is a prompt to write about your favorite color combo or palette and to use it as inspiration to make something. I plan to tackle these once the week is done. I like this fun detail because it makes me think of things I wouldn’t normally pay attention to. Things like “new spot in the hood,” “current favorite meme or gif ,” or “things that make your life easier” help us to not take life so seriously and have more appreciation for the unimportant, not so celebrated details of our everyday. I’ve been looking forward to these prompts lately!
The end of each month’s section are more blank pages where you can write notes and lists. Mine will eventually contain a list of books I finished reading over the past month as well as a record of my expenses.
Last but not the least, I want to show you how I made my Let’s Be Explorers planner my own — STICKERS!!! It’s a blank cover so users can personalize it however way they want.
I put my favorite stickers from artists I admire then mixed in ones that come with the planner. I put some on the back too but I left gaps for when I get more cool stickers this year.
I could go on and on and on but I should really end here. I think it’s enough information on how one can maximize the format of the Let’s Be Explorers planner, specially since it’s only the start of the year. I’m sure as weeks and months go by, I will find more ways to utilize its features and pages.
If you own one and still feel lost as to how you should use it, feel free to try my system. But if you notice, I’m really just following what the planner has already laid out per page. It also helps to have tools like the clear date stamps to make labelling faster, easier and neater. Ultimately, the Let’s Be Explorers Undated Planner allows you to be you and gives you much room for creativity. So go on and explore!
You can order the Let’s Be Explorers Undated Planner as well as the stickers and stamp sets on www.everydayexplorers.ph.