(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)
Early in September, I began thinking about what planner I wanted to use in 2019. I’ve been using the Hobonichi A5 Cousin (review here) for several years now, and although I love it, I wanted to use my William Hannah A5 notebook more (review here). I thought about replacing my Hobonichi with the William Hannah notebook, so I ordered a set of calendar pages and something new called “Intentions Pages.”
William Hannah paper is amazing. It’s super thick (100gsm) and luxurious. There’s almost no show through, even with the wettest inks.
However, when my calendar and Intentions Pages arrived, I immediately discovered a problem. I couldn’t fit even one month of daily calendar pages and Intentions Pages in my notebook. The paper is just too thick! I like to have an entire semester’s worth of daily and monthly pages in one calendar for work, and my William Hannah couldn’t hold that much. So, I ordered another Hobonichi to use at work.
But, I immediately fell in love with the William Hannah Intentions Pages. What are Intentions Pages, you ask? Well, the Monthly Intentions Pages help you think through your goals for each month and to reflect upon them when the month is over.
The front page asks you to consider the following things:
- This month’s goals (what and why?) - There’s plenty of room to write five substantive goals in the spaces provided.
- What will I do more of this month? - Here you can write down a list or a paragraph of things you’d like to do more, which I think is an excellent thing to contemplate at the beginning of each month.
- What will I do less of this month? - This is also a helpful question. I always find that I waste too much time doing things that don’t contribute to my goals or that take away from my happiness.
The next two pages provide a monthly grid where you can write important dates. There’s also a daily tracker at the bottom of the pages.
The back page asks the following reflection questions:
- How would I summarise the month? - A large portion of the page is devoted to this question so you can write out your thoughts in paragraph form.
- What will I do differently in the future? - The rest of the page challenges you to think about what needs to change in the coming days and months.
Daily Intentions Pages provide a guide for thinking through your goals, evaluating your mood, and contemplating other questions each day.
The front page has the following items:
- A box where you can record the day’s “Happiness Level.” - You can either write down your mood or draw something to represent your happiness level in this box. I do this at the end of the day.
- Check boxes to record meditation, exercise, and reading or learning (daily practices that all of us could benefit from, though I’ve been terrible at finding time to exercise or meditate this fall).
- The remainder of the page lists the following items to consider at the beginning of each day:
- I am grateful for
- A positive from yesterday
- Yesterday I learned
- A creative or positive idea
- A thought around one of my goals
- Today’s critical action
- Two further key actions
- A stretch target for today
- My intention for today
The back page provides a checklist for your critical action, key actions, and stretch target. There’s also room for the following:
- Random Thoughts
- What did I learn today?
- A thought for tomorrow
I put my Monthly Intentions Pages at the beginning of the month followed by a month’s worth of Daily Intentions Pages. This much fits perfectly into my William Hannah notebook.
I’ve been doing Intentions Pages since September, and they’ve helped me to track my mood, record what I am grateful for, contemplate creative and positive ideas, record what I’ve been learning, and analyze how I’m progressing on my monthly and daily goals.
This fall has been one of the worst semesters I’ve ever experienced. We had major cuts at my university, and many of my friends and colleagues lost their jobs. In addition, my mentor of many years died. So, I had to deal with more grief and stress than normal. The Intentions Pages helped me work through my rollercoaster thoughts and emotions and also reminded me to record grateful, creative, and positive thoughts each day. This was really good for me because many days I didn’t feel positive or grateful, but when I dug down deep, I could find things that brought me a tiny bit of cheer.
I recorded my mood in terms of weather, because I discovered using a weather metaphor was easier for me than trying to come up with words to describe my mood each day. I have to admit that most days this fall were gloomy, often with thunder and rain. But, there were some sunny days as well.
Even though I was disappointed that my William Hannah notebook didn’t work out as my daily calendar, the Intentions Pages were a wonderful surprise. I journal regularly, but the Intentions Pages provide me with a structured set of questions and prompts that I work through every day. My William Hannah notebook sits next to me on the side table in the living room where I drink my coffee each morning and cuddle my kitties in the evening. I’ve been pretty faithful recording my intentions each day, and I think it’s benefitted me greatly.
(I purchased my William Hannah notebook and Intentions Pages with my own funds.)
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