There is no right or wrong way to plan a day, forget a year (especially since the 2020 plans went haywire). So, how do you plan yours? Are you a diligent plotter or are you the free-spirited panster? In 2020, I wrote in a daily planner, every single day, even when the to-do list was a cross between doing laundry, attending Zoom work calls, buying masks… I recorded the good, the bad and the ugly. My preference for planners and love for stationery aside, experts are also in support of the idea of investing in a 2021 planner, for hey, you never know what it may bring with it? “You should absolutely invest in one, and for many good reasons — 2020 taught us that even if nothing is happening, time flies; just as it gave us time to think about what we want to achieve in our lives. What better time to start than a New Year,” says Anissa Boulahya, founder, Ashante Design.
The way forward
“There is nothing nicer than looking ahead, seeing the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ and planning for the future. My reason to buy a planner is optimism, I want to plan all the things we didn’t get to do this year,” says Suzy O’Brien, founder, Paper Dates, a seller on The Saffron Souk. Suzy uses two planners — a wall planner to see the whole year at a glance, and a month-to-a-page, with columns for each family member’s activities and events. “We still have to remember everyone’s birthday, so get one!” adds Anissa.
What kind of planner should you get?
At Ashante Design, a UAE-based lifestyle brand that creates bespoke stationery and gifts, all the planners are unique. “We have produced only 200 of them for 2021,” adds Anissa.
Suzy mentions how she has seen the ones with inspirational quotes. “We need something clean, simple, nice to look at, which matches how we like to remember things,” she adds. Anissa’s suggestion: don’t go in for a planner, but an accessory. “Get something you’ll want to take everywhere with you. Hence, you will never forget it on your desk,” she says. Ruban Shanmugarajah, CEO, Lifestyle UAE (Landmark Group) shares how despite the move to electronic planning, traditional planners are still popular and continue to be available in many shapes and forms. “The layout and cover should match the personality of the individual; a fun quirky cover always adds excitement,” he says.
Writing it down versus typing it out
Ruban is also a firm believer that penning down thoughts and actions on paper helps register tasks vividly in the mind. “If you want to get things done, pen down your thoughts on a journal or a planner and wait for the magic to happen,” he says. Dr Saliha Afridi, a clinical psychologist, backs up his view. “Writing leaves a different imprint on the mind in comparison to typing it out. You are more likely to follow through with the task you planned, even if you forget to look at your planner, because you remember it more readily.”
Dr Afridi, who is also the managing director of Lighthouse Arabia, a community mental health and wellness clinic in Dubai, adds, “I will ‘pencil it in’ or ‘it’s blocked off and penned in’ both show a different level of commitment to a planned event versus typing, which you can easily delete with no trace.” Suzie sums it up the best when she says, “I prefer seeing everything up on my wall, rather than hiding in my phone.”
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