This post introduces the Rocketbook Panda Planner, a new tool I’ve been trying to help manage my work/life/study. When I first returned to work from parental leave, I needed to get my head back into the world of work. I’d tried lots of different tools to keep myself focused and help me plan and prioritise my weeks and days. For the most part, I had something that worked. However, I had to acknowledge I needed something different now I am a father to three! Something that would help me plan life — with the perspectives of fatherhood and a busy career.
I’d decided I wanted something handwritten as opposed to something digital. Mobile phones, tablets and laptops are doorways to a world of distractions. I knew that if I used an app, I would inevitably get distracted by the many other things in my devices. Probably email or Twitter — the two usual culprits.
So! I needed something to motivate, plan and prioritise. Plus it must be ‘paper-based’.
Introducing the Rocketbook Panda Planner
After some research, I came across the Rocketbook Panda Planner. Described as a planner for ‘those who want an endlessly reusable planner to last for years, if not a lifetime. The Rocketbook Panda Planner gets you organised so you can focus and hit your goals.’ That sounded just like what I needed.
The planner is split into a number of different page types to help you plan:
More importantly – it is reusable. I’d never considered a ‘re-usable’ notebook (and wasn’t aware they existed). It is however a fantastic idea. The entire book is essentially wipe clean. It’s a bit like a whiteboard meeting a book. This means there is no guilt from having another diary that will end up in a recycling bin. The real selling point of this wasn’t clear until I actually used it. The beautifully therapeutic moment you wipe away days and weeks of plans, achievements and reflections (there is an app to help you retain a digital copy).
Using the Rocketbook Panda Planner
I very much enjoyed the process of using the Panda Planner. I first worked through the goals and roadmap sections to plan the next quarter (3 months). I set out a number of ambitious work, research and personal goals. It also gave me a valuable opportunity to reflect on potential barriers. Here I noted that my three little ones may become barriers to progress – but it also helped me concretely write that it didn’t matter. As a parent – I needed to juggle that new balance and the Panda Planner helped me navigate this. It was helpful to pen some of this down and get to grips with my life’s new priorities. I am, perhaps, guilty of focusing on work too much – and the Panda Planner helped me bring some balance to that.
With the quarter prepared, I then moved towards weekly and daily sections. I particularly liked how they provided opportunity to undertake routines as part of the day. The daily planner (below) starts off asking what you are grateful for, and excited about — three items for each list. It also provided space for a daily affirmation. Not something I’d usually go for, but with three adopted children moving in, I was writing ‘I can do this’ a fair bit. For the evening is an opportunity to reflect on the day. Here you can record the wins for the day and take note of any opportunities to improve. The rest of the page is very much what you’d expect of a daily planner: priorities, schedule, tasks and notes.
What I’m using
I’d recommend giving the Rocketbook Panda Planner a go. I’ve since expanded to utilise a standard Rocketbook for my general notes. You can write on them with any of the Pilot Frixion line of pens and markers. I’ve found the Frixion fineliners much better than the rollerball ones as they put less pressure on the Rocketbook pages. I think this has to work in favour of longevity.