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Confession: January first is not why I bought a new journal planner. Circumstances have changed, and I’m not using the Panda Planner to its full potential. Thus the Self Journal. The Panda Planner links are affiliate links to Amazon. I get a tiny commission, and you get 10% off if you use the code PANDAFAM. And if you’re enticed by this post, use code BiancaJSmith for 15% off anything from BestSelf Co.
What are these changed circumstances I hear you ask? I’m doing more one-off consulting work and using Calendy for shared scheduling. (it’s excellent, I can share a link, and that person can book their own time on my calendar). I’m also going up on the dream of productive time blocking. It’s not working, and I’m not sure I can focus on one thing to make it work. If I have a mental block on one writing project, it’s more productive to switch projects than to take a hopefully-useful walk to trigger creativity. It was a good experiment and one I wish worked, alas.
So that meant I was leaving swathes of empty space in my Panda Planner and feeling guilty about it. Oh, shush. I know that’s silly, but I did feel that way. Replacing the planner with THIRD in six months and leaving it half-empty is still wasteful. I know…sigh.
I wasn’t going to do the requested unboxing, but I get questions about the different planners and journals. Also, I do still feel bad for going through three planners in six months. Oh, and I was asked to do one.
The Self Journal
Best Self’s Self Journal was on my shortlist when I went back to the Panda Planner last time. It was a little too journal and a little less planner, so didn’t fit at the time. But as the journal reflections were the main thing I was using (and loving) in the Panda Planner, it was time to revisit. Best Self offers a PDF of their entire planner online for free. It’s a little pokey to find, but a Google search takes you straight there, or I think it’s linked from the FAQ page. I’m making you search so you get more of their site and it seems less scammy. I printed a week’s worth of pages. A goal setting spread, a weekly spread, and seven daily spreads. I skipped the monthly because that’s in the Panda Planner. Yes, I double-planner’d it for a few days.
It took completing one goal setting sheet to convince me to buy the physical copy. Kind of counter-productive when my goal is saving money, but I think it’s got the ROI. I love that it forces me into a goal plan: dates, stages, steps, even success rewards. I want to make a bullet journal tracker in the actual journal too, which was a selling point for me. The habit trackers are more in-your-face which helps me. Gamification and self-accountability work. There’s a small daily planner section, so I feel less guilty about leaving it blank.
Unboxing the Self Journal
The Self Journal is gorgeous. And much higher quality than you’d expect for a 13-week journal. It’s cloth-bound, beautiful paper, and three ribbon bookmarks. Yeah, it’s a bit pricey at around $30. I bought mine direct from Best Self and signed up for the subscription. It gives 10% off, which helps with their $4.95 delivery fee. You probably won’t pay delivery with Amazon, but it’s much more expensive there. The 13-week length is because it is goals and habits before planner. Thirteen weeks has been proven to be an effective time to change behaviors and complete projects. Many tech projects use the same process. The tech industry probably developed it with sprints. Weeks are set as Monday to Sunday.
The Self Journal is undated, and some parts are intentionally printed light so you can customize it for you. They even say this in the accompanying user guide. In the gorgeous box (which has a tag on the spine so you can label and keep your planners on a shelf), there was a stick-on tab to hold a pen, a 13 week wall chart to track your goal progress, a very useful morning and evening routine reference card, and, of course, the Self Journal. Like most, they have online communities and videos, but we know I’ll never touch those. It seems like too much work when I have other things to do.
Check out the gallery below for photos of the journal and planner pages. It only arrived last night, so anything with writing is from the printouts.
Finally, for those wanting a Self Journal, they have per month and subscriptions. I adore the convenience of a subscription, but I recommend trying it as a once-off purchase first. I love the journal, but it may not work for you.
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