How the POG came to be

There are A LOT of planners to choose from. A simple google search delivers 2.2 BILLION results. The spectrum is as wide as helping with a specific focus to your run-of-the-mill day planner (and there’s a shit ton of those).

I’ve tried a lot of iterations over the years. My day job in the non-profit world requires the ability to juggle many, many projects and priorities at once, so I’ve refined my project management methods over the years. Many years ago, I settled on a planner style purchased on a whim at TJ Maxx. It provided a weekly outlook with about 10 rows of lines per day. It was the first time I had ever limited my daily tasks to the available area. Previous iterations of “to do “ lists were in long, daunting lists in spiral notebook. Spreading my projects out across the week, I found myself not only being ridiculously productive, I was able to gauge and renegotiate my priorities better.

And yet… it wasn’t quite enough.

This year marks the fourth edition of my Planner of Glory (POG) and (I think) it gets better each year. As I grow and learn more, I continue to refine what’s contained inside. The structure itself hasn’t changed much, and that’s largely because of what I used to do.

I want to take you back to a time before the POG. A time where I wrote out my schedule and tasks by hand. Every week.

I love me a good list -- the satisfaction of checking something off. I loved adding comics and practicing my hand lettering. I didn’t love drawing the same thing over and over again.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The Bullet Journal method: A Quick Overview

First, I want to say, this method served me well until it didn’t. I used it for over two years and it met my needs in a way no other method had before. It was created by Ryder Carroll and it helped me bring my never-ending to do lists into some sense order.

Some of the principles of bullet journaling include:

  1. Rapid logging
    Or as I like to say, “Give it a KISS” (Keep It Simple Stupid). If you can understand what you mean in a few words, use those few words. You don’t need waste time and energy with a bunch of detail.

  2. Bullet system: symbols for the below, nesting (grouping items together), signifiers (* = priority; ! = inspiration)

    1. Tasks •

    2. Notes -

    3. Events ○

  3. Collections

    1. “The Index”

    2. Monthly Log

    3. Daily Log

    4. Custom Collections

Listen, you can watch a five minute video to understand it better than I could ever explain here. The same page also explains all the above in detail. The point is, it’s methodical. I like that. It a great system. (Maybe it will be for you!)

It worked, but at the same time it didn’t.

I LOVE an analog solution for keeping track of things (see note above about the simple joy of crossing items as “done!” physically). But I also embrace the technology available to me. One example: a collection of “Books I Want to Read” in the bullet system would be noted in the index and then you’d start your list. You’d go back to the list when you needed to add other books. Problem was, I would finish my bullet journal pages before I’ve even come close to reading what had been indexed. So, what works for me is to add the book to a list I keep in Google Keep or to my Amazon wishlist (what? If you wanna throw a book my way, I won’t say no).

I wanted more. But I wanted it more focused. I needed something that managed my work tasks, but also my personal life too. Being a designer and a bit of an organizational freak, I knew I could make it happen. I would take what I liked, leave what I didn’t, and bring a whole added slew of tools. I could take my project management experience, marry it with goal setting & intentions, and help manage a-not-inconsequential-portion of my life in an analog way, in concert with the digital tools I love.

And thus the Planner of Glory was born.

It started with a single print for myself that I brought to a work meeting. My friend and colleague requested one. Then another friend saw it (Hi, Shazam), and wanted one too. I sold two that first year.

In the second iteration, I tried a hard copy book format. MISTAKE. It was too bulky and my price point had to skyrocket to accommodate the upgrade. It didn’t lay flat and the pens leaked through. It was lessons learned. Regardless, six people joined the fold,

Last year, I went back to my soft cover version, updated the monthly reflection and goal setting, and welcomed 16 whole people! Then added 4 more when I came out with a school-year edition! 20 people in 2018! (I don’t want to bore you with business math, but that’s a 900% increase in 3 years.) Mostly, I’m just really excited that people resonate with my system.

This year, I’m even more proud of the POG. I’ve completely revamped the monthly reflection area (which was inspired by the work of my dear friend Nicole Antoinette). I’ve also updated the Goals + Shit section (if you buy the planner, you’ll see what I mean!) and made a few other tweaks as well, including a small email series to help people get the most out of the planner. Including some quarterly reminders, too. I think the only thing I’ll have to fix for 2021’s version are any typos I find along the way. shrugs

SIDEBAR: In addition to Nicole’s awesome work mentioned, these are a few others who have inspired how I work and live. This is certainly not a comprehensive list, and many are well-known, but if they aren’t to you, maybe check ‘em out: Alex Franzen | Seth Godin | Jocko Willink | Hal Elrod | Tony Robbins (listen, watch I am not your Guru on Netflix and then you can @ me)

Jessica Ishikawa