I Started Using a Panda Planner and It’s Kind of Changed My Life

Every Friday at 8:30 a.m., a Google Calendar notification from my company’s CEO pops up reminding me to “Reflect and Give Thanks.” The “Reflect” part specifically means to think about what I can do 10 percent better next week, and the “Give Thanks!” part means, well, I think you can figure that part out on your own. Considering the time, I’m rarely ready to be seen in public, let alone “Reflect and Give Thanks!” Instead, I swipe it away and move on with my day.

The thing is, it’s not that I’m anti-reflection and gratitude; it’s just that I was never sold on the benefits of it as a weekly practice. That is, until I met the Panda Planner.

As a type-A millennial lady, who enjoys making lists and checking them twice, I recently went on the Amazon hunt to find a new daily planner. What I found instead was a little black (or blue, or purple, or pink) book that builds gratitude, goal-setting, affirmation, reflection and checklists (!!!) into its owner’s everyday practice.

There is beauty in a day, or week or month, that’s driven with focus, purpose and an opportunity to celebrate your wins—no matter how tiny they might be. (Seriously, I once logged “feeling less dread for my upcoming work trip” as a win. Hey, it was to me.)

So yes, just like any other planner, the Panda helps you organize your life (dinner next Tuesday at 7), but it also helped me to see the forest for the trees: In the midst of a gazillion little daily to-dos, I finally had a place where I could write down bigger goals. In February it was to do more yoga (basic, I know), but in March it has grown into something beyond weekly workout routines. 

When I went back and reflected on last month’s wins and ways I can continue growing, I realized there was a singular focus: Me. So for March I am shifting that focus and setting goals and aspirations that go beyond myself. I’m exploring ways to be a more present wife, a more collaborative colleague and a more selfless friend. These are some lofty goals, but you gotta start somewhere. And before the Panda, I wouldn’t have been writing these down as actual goals, let alone even thinking about them.

For the record: I do not work for the Panda Planner, although it seems like our CEOs have similar visions for regular reflection and gratitude. I am just a 30-year-old woman who enjoys structure (checklists!!!), celebration over small wins and forcing myself to work out. 

And by the way, I still don’t “Reflect and Give Thanks!” every Friday at 8:30 a.m., because now I do it every day. Check.