An Honest Opinion of the Monk Manual 90-Day Planner
For those looking to get their lives organized
*** This is not a paid post. This is truly just my opinion of this 90-day planner!
If you're anything like me then you've gotten a lot of ads lately about planners, organizers, life journals, etc.
I mean, the new year just hit so it only makes sense--new year, new me--right?
I've looked at dozens of planners and even gave my partner a 2021 personalized planner for Christmas, but I wanted something more specific and tailored to my needs. Even though I really liked the planner I gave to Tyler, it wasn't organized enough for me.
I like to have things laid out in front of me so I know exactly what my day looks like. Yes, any old planner would suffice, but they were always missing something, which is why I never committed to filling them out for the rest of the year.
I would get 3-4 weeks in and revert back to putting everything in my phone/Google calendar. My phone is always with me so it made sense to use it instead of a paper planner.
But a goal of mine was to separate from my phone as much as I could.
Finally, an ad popped up on my Instagram that caught my eye--The Monk Manual 90-day Planner.
So, what is the Monk Manual 90-day Planner?
Well, according to their mission on their website, this is what they're all about:
What the world needs now, is monks sweet monks.
We find a radical way of living in monasteries. A way that flips contemporary thinking on its head. Where the world says focus on more, the monk says focus on less. Where the world seeks to master outcomes, the monk seeks to master self. Where the world fills our lives with noise and distraction, the monk fills his or her life with quiet and focus. Where the world pursues a life of independence, the monk pursues a life of trust, walking the path of life with God and others. Where the world medicates, the monk meditates.
We are on an ambitious mission to help busy people utilize timeless monastic principles to live with greater peace and purpose in their everyday lives.
Walking the path of life with God?
Now, if you know me then you know I'm not religious by any means. When I say I'm Jewish, it's more of the cultural context than the spiritual. My dad is Jewish and so is the rest of his side of the family. That's about as connected to Judaism as it gets for me. So, 'walking the path of life with God' isn't something I necessarily connected with when it came to choosing this planner.
But, the layout of this planner was exactly what I have been looking for all these years. I didn't even know that's what I was looking for!
So, how is it laid out?
You have the month on the left side and you fill in the dates.
At the top right of the left page, you write down a habit you want to stick to for the month. For February mine is to go to bed by 10:30pm and up at 6:30am.
Go down the left page and you'll find the Prepare - Priority section. This is where you write down the most important tasks for the month. This can be tough to figure out at the beginning of the month, so it's okay to fill it out as the month goes on.
Now, you can see the right page is blank. This is because I will reflect at the end of the month how it went! This was super cool to me and I'm excited to see how February pans out in comparison to what I originally scheduled. This analytical and introspective aspect of the planner was a huge selling point for me.
Now, this weekly section is awesome. The left side is what you fill out at the beginning of the week.
You write down your top three priorities/tasks and then you're other not-as-important tasks underneath.
Add your personal goals for the week. For me it was finishing an audiobook I was taking my sweet time with.
Then you add your relationships you want to grow.
Then add what you're looking forward to that week.
The right side of the page is when you reflect on how the week went. Again, I love this about the planner. A lot of planners don't seem to have this kind of thing.
The daily pages are where you live most of the time--obviously.
I fill out the left side in the morning and then reflect at the end of the night on the right side of the planner.
What I LOVE about the Monk Manual 90-day Planner!
Its simple, sleek design aligns perfectly with my personal aesthetic. I like things clean--if you couldn't tell by this blog--so it was a no-brainer to get this one. After looking at so many frilly planners I was burnt out from the search. But damn, this one was it.
It's seriously the perfect size. It fits easily in my bag--not that I'm going anywhere during this pandemic.
The 'gratefulness' aspect was a huge seller. I have to remind myself to verbalize and write down what I'm grateful for. Just thinking it isn't enough for me to get those feel-good fuzzy butterflies when I reflect on how awesome my life really is. Getting it on paper is key for me.
The timed daily scheduler is so helpful. I dislike planners that don't have the hours written out when I need to schedule my day. Maybe I'm lazy?
Reflecting at the end of the day is that extra step that allows me to stay in the present and analyze what worked and didn't during the day.
The break-up of month, week, and day keeps things hyper-organized.
Writing in this planner every morning has given me the morning routine I've always wanted. Yes, having a morning routine is something I could have done without a planner, but, oh man, it helped kickstart it so much
Having my most prioritized to-do at the very top of my daily page allows me to focus on the most important task at hand. This has significantly reduced my anxiety about trying to get everything done. It's just not possible--nor should we be doing everything in one day!
The bullet-journal section allows me to draw and get my creativity out. I love bullet journaling but I'm new to it so committing to an entire bullet journal wasn't in the cards. This little section is perfect.
I reflect on my highlights of the day and when I felt unrest. It's so important for me to figure out what caused my uneasiness during the day. This planner definitely helps with that.
Checking off things from my to-do list feels like a good sip of delicious hot coffee on a crisp winter morning. I get to check things off every day--morning and evening. It's an organized-obsessed person's crack, that's what it is.
What I don't like so much about the Monk Manual 90-day Planner...
It's a little pricey... this planner runs at $38 for only 90 days. So that times 4 for the entire year? $152... There are other planners that run much cheaper and might achieve the same thing... but I haven't found one yet.
There isn't enough room to write everything I want-- but then I have to remind myself that it's a planner and not a journal. If I did want to write more--and I do--, there are blank pages in the very back to get my thoughts out! So it works out.
Writing on the peach-colored sections sometimes makes my pen smudge--but that could be a pen issue and not a paper issue... but the white paper allows me to write smudge-free... so that's something to think about with this planner.
On the weekly page, there's a blurb that says 'God is teaching me.' Since I'm not religious I cross out God and write in 'life' instead. Now, if you are a believer, then this is perfect and such a great way to tie in your faith with your planner/morning routine.
That's about it!
Will I continue?
For now, absolutely. I only started using this planner on February 1, 2021, and today is February 21, so it hasn't been that long. But it has been a daily habit that I don't see myself dropping any time soon.
Yes, the price isn't my favorite, but if I feel like it really helps me after these 90 days then hell yeah I'll get another one for the next 90 days!
Maybe I'm just getting older?
I turn 30 in less than a week, so maybe something in my brain has switched to "omg you need to get your life together and this planner will do just that!" Eff, it's really working.
Maybe it has something to do with the pandemic shifting all our routines out of whack and forcing us to think about what truly makes us happy. And this planner makes me write those thoughts down.
For now, I'm a Monk Manual 90-day planner convert.
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