circle planner get organised this year in 2019

The Circle Planner [review]

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Christmas is done and dusted and now I’m very much looking forward to 2019. I got myself the Circle Planner for the first time and I’m so happy with it so far, I decided to share my views with you. Plus, Mother Tongue Notes readers can get 10% off the planner (see code below)*!

Why I wanted a planner

I have been feeling the need to get better organised in all areas of my life. There’s so much going on on so many fronts, it can be difficult to keep tabs on it all and, importantly, to keep focused and not overwhelmed. I have been experimenting with apps and other digital productivity solutions, as well as notepads and I have a feeling I finally found a system that works for me.

I feel the need for transformation on a few fronts and for 2019 I decided to invest in a planner.

Planners for all

Planners are essentially diaries that allow space to make notes, block time and reflect for better learning.  You can get cheap basic ones for £1 from the pound shop, to more design-led planners for around £40. The latter are better quality and have a lot more thought put into it. However, there are many different types and it’s difficult to make a decision, especially when they cost that much.

I looked at a few and…

  • Some were too girly for my taste, with loads of flourishes and inspirational quotes
  • Others too business-like, with many of pages about international dates, codes and so forth that may matter to an import/export business operating globally, but not for someone like me
  • Then, of course, there’s the bullet journaling cult which has become increasingly popular in recent years. I admit it looks beautiful and very instagrammable but looks like a lot of hard work for someone who doesn’t have much time to create a whole diary from scratch, nor the talent for stunning calligraphy like the one below
Bullet Journal. Photo from Estee Janssens for unsplash
Bullet Journal. Photo from Estee Janssens for unsplash
  • And, of course, there are the planners aimed at mummies, which are more about family and domestic tasks like shopping lists and the children’s social schedule than about mummy’s own needs
  • Plus everything else in between…

I just wanted to get focused on what really matters. I need to make some changes to my life, acquire new habits and could do with a  little help breaking my challenges down and reviewing progress. That’s why I wanted something flexible, yet not so complicated as many planners out there, and that gave me pride and joy to hold. A quality item that made me feel “yes, I deserve this”, but without too much ‘mumbo jumbo’.

Enter the Circle Planner

Then I saw an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign from a local business mum for a brand new planner. She had decided to create her own planner because she had not found anything that worked for her.

pink circle planner for a more productive and focused 2019

I got a circle planner for myself weeks ago during the Indiegogo campaign and I have been so excited to get it, I could barely wait with excitement. This being a crowdfunding campaign, there’s a long lead time between supporting the campaign (i.e. buying the planner) and receiving it. I’ve got it now and I just wish it included the month of December 2018 so I could have started using it straight away!  

At £30 (£27 with the discount code below), it’s not the cheapest but it’s a good quality planner and it’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into it, in line with latest thinking on productivity and it feels like an investment, a treat for myself.

10% off code

… it’s a good quality planner, a lot of thought has gone into it and it feels like an investment, a treat for myself

For 2018 I got a cheap business planner from Poundland which started falling apart halfway through the year – as the old saying goes “you get what you pay for….”. It was the first time I used a planner to plan my work and I found it useful to block time slots but that was it. I already feel like the circle planner has given me much more. The Circle Planner made me think about the future and how I am going to make it happen every month, every week, every day.

I know I keep gushing about it, so let me just tell you what I like so much about it…

What I like about the Circle planner

  • For starters, it’s dated for 2019. I would have not time and patience to add days myself for that’s a must
  • It starts with a list of life goals, five-year goals and 2019 goals, a common strategy employed by coaches to get people to think about their life goals and reverse engineer how to get there. The areas are:
    career, personal, relationships, financial, travel and bucket list. Bucket lists and travel are not a priority for me at the moment, so I use those for other areas I want to focus on such as health.  
circle planner get organised this year in 2019
Life goals > 5 years goals > 20189 goals
  • The start of each month’s section has a page for you to zone in on what you need to achieve that month to work towards those goals. It follows the same areas:
Monthly goals
Monthly Goals
  • Each month’s section also has:
    • A monthly planner across two pages – this offers a month overview and you can use it as you wish. I know some people chose to use it as a meal planner for example. I chose to keep it as a health diary, so I can make a quick note on how I feel physically and mentally.
circle planner get organised this year in 2019
Monthly planner across 2 pages
  • A week per two page spread, with 30min slots from 6am to 9pm. I wouldn’t mind if it started at 5am and went up to 10am and have a bigger area but I can definitely work with it as it is. It includes other sections for you to use as you wish, for example for to-dos or shopping lists and a habit tracker.  I am currently trying to make a few changes to my sleep and other habits so this will be very handy
circle planner get organised this year in 2019
One week per two page spread
  • Each month has a monthly review at the end, based on the six areas of life above to check in how you did in relation to your goals
  • There is a sprinkle of colouring pages and quotes but not too much. Just enough to stimulate creativity and reduce stress
circle planner get organised this year in 2019
I already started colouring in with my new brush pens
I love a piece of stationery, don’t you?
  • It encourages reflection and gratitude without being it over the top. At the end, after the month of December, there’s a page to review the year and take those lessons forward
circle planner get organised this year in 2019
End of year review at the end of the planner, following the same six areas you used at the start to plan out the year
  • It has an elastic band around it, two ribbons to mark different sections for quick reference, empty pages at the end to be used as you wish and a pocket at the back, just like the Moleskine notebooks (which I also love and use a lot!)

I just like the design generally, not dull, but also not too ‘fluffy’. Just a neutral tasteful design and functional layout. This year I went with rose but I’m starting to have yellow envy from looking at their Instagram account

The size (between A4 and A5), cloth cover and thick sustainable paper makes it feel substantial – perhaps a little heavy to carry around but I’ve got it to keep at home, on my work desk so at any one point when I get to work I know exactly what my focus is and what I need to do.  

I love the fact that the basics are there already in place to meet my needs, but with enough flexibility to make it my own. It’s simple, well thought through and versatile so I can use it in the best way to suit me.

Now I feel kitted out for the year ahead – bring it on 2019!

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