(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter. And check out her first novel, The Bone Weaver’s Orchard, now available where books are sold!)
Is there some secret system of planner that unlocks your productivity? I've heard enough people say 'yes' that I continue to have hope for myself. Certainly no one system works for everyone, so it stands to reason that we should probably try them all, just to be sure.
I used to obsessively bullet journal. Not just the basic system, but the whole kit--stencils, stickers, color-coded weather and habit trackers, counters... Basically, I had more planner than plans. I enjoyed it! It was a hobby. A very, very time-consuming hobby. As life has gotten busier, my system has devolved into a chaotic flurry of scratch paper and post-its that I'll scrape out of the bottom of my backpack, hopefully in time to do the thing written on said scrap. From one extreme to the other! And neither has really worked well.
I know I need structure, to keep the chaos at bay. But I know I need some freedom, because my life is far from routine. And, like anyone cracking open a brand new planner, I'm hoping this one will be the one.
The Quo Vadis Life Journal Infinite is a well-structured but undated journal-style planner. It borrows some of the Bullet Journal philosophy, with a dedicated index, numbered pages, an abundance of note-taking pages, and predetermined list space. It's just enough structure to serve as a guide and reminder about what's important to track, but all of the labels and headers are blank, so you can customize it in a way that works for you. The blank dates let you start any day of the year--perfect for those of us abandoning other planners in search of new solutions.
There are pages for a yearly overview, then a month spread, then each week is spread across two pages. The monthly pages have a grid for tracking and the weekly pages have a place for to-do lists or reminders. Each month also has note pages in a handy dot-grid.
I was intimidated at first. I don't like opening a planner and seeing instructions. But the instruction pages here are truly unnecessary (and I wish they had been on a removable insert instead of being bound into the book). It's not a complicated book. And the lack of labels helps open up some possibilities, too. Don't need a yearly spread? You could write goals on those, instead.
Regardless of whether or not the system works, the book is well made. It has Clairefontaine French-milled paper that can handle anything except alcohol markers. Even my gushiest fountain pen barely shows through at all. All of the interior design is done in a lovely, calming, unobtrusive grey. It has 224 pages, which is a lot for a weekly planner. Nearly half this book is open for note taking. I think that would make it a great candidate for a work planner, where meeting notes can be kept handy nearby the to-do lists such meetings tend to generate.
The cover is black faux leather. There's an elastic closure band, an expanding pocket in the back, and a ribbon bookmark. A planner like this really should have at least two ribbons, in my opinion, but that's why the stationery gods created a plethora of cute page markers. I don't usually like hardcover planners--I want something lightweight, if I'm going to carry it around everywhere. And the cover branding on this one isn't as subtle as I'd like. But all these are small trade-offs if the system itself works.
It is June, now, if you hadn't noticed. Almost the solstice. Which means almost July. It's possible you have already abandoned the idealist planner you optimistically selected last winter. If so, the chaos has probably already set in. But it's not too late to wrangle back some control over the latter half of the year. If this looks like it might help, you can get one for around $25, which is a very decent price for such a sturdy compilation of abundant great paper.
(Exaclair provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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