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Will I Need Sticky Notes or a Planner to Get Me Through the Year?

By Ilene Mitnick November 27, 2023 Mindset

It’s nearly December. Around this time of year, I start thinking about what planner, and therefore planning system, I’ll use in January in order to appear organized in the new year. But I hate planners. They’re too confining. They have pages I don’t need and never have enough of the pages I like.

This year, I’m having second thoughts. The thought of a newfangled planner that promises to keep my personal, business, and family life organized and productive even when life gets hectic? Sweet!

The Planner Conundrum

There’s an art to conquering a planner, but I’m still a novice.Some planners remind you you’re capable of amazing things throughout the year. Other, more enlightened planners tickle the beginning of every day with a gratitude list and end the day by asking us to note our delights and joys.

Planners are supposed to stay sturdy and be able to withstand a year’s worth of daily use without falling apart. This is starting to sound personal.

Actually, given how unmoored so many of us are during these turbulent times, a fetching new planner, even metaphorically, feels like just the right gizmo to help us find our brawn, map out a plan, and blaze a new path.

Think Short-Term

Maybe, just maybe, we can get back on track with a system designed to help us attain our goals and dreams by focusing on short-term undertakings.

In fact, short-term planning feels doable. We can do almost anything in small bits. Before you know it, those commitments add up to days, then weeks and months of attainable goals!

Where’s the Time Gone?

If I’ve learned anything this year, it’s just how precious my relationship with time is. Time is a valuable resource and today, after decades of fighting it, I’m making a declaration to embrace it! 2023 has forced me to re-evaluate how to spend my time.

Ok, I just made a decision. I’m trading in my writing pads and multiple-sized sticky notes for a planner and taking on 2024 with a sense of guardianship and care.

I’m going to lean into what’s important as I work through my tasks and activities with one modification: It’s the how I’m going to do it that will change me, not the what.

The Plan Needs to Change

Before I pick the perfect planner, I’ve decided to customize the perfect plan. These indispensable activities will make their way into the planner, I promise!

Good Morning Mindset

Create daily mindset routines to maintain a sense of calm – and, for that matter, a sense of routine. Don’t turn on the news, it only leads to exhaustion.

As soon as I wake up, I will do three things before my feet hit the ground: drink from an already filled tumbler of water with lemon essential oil; apply two drops of Balance Grounding Essential Oil Blend to each foot; and thank Spirit for this new day.

Keep Moving

Get a little bit of exercise every day to keep your immune system boosted.

I walk in my neighborhood all ear-budded-up listening to my podcast pick of the day. When I’m done, I’m a little bit smarter. I also got a new mini trampoline, and I’m loving it for low-impact weight-bearing activity. I feel like a kid when I’m on it!

Get off the Treadmill

You can reach your dreams and stay sane. Go into your day with one question: What will feel good to have accomplished today? Chunk out your day in realistic nuggets.

Especially if you work from home, like we do, micro-scheduling is key. Even with a million variables to tamp down, know exactly what you want or need to do every few minutes, and then feel great ticking off the boxes.

Me Time

Taking care of yourself isn’t a luxury. It’s essential. Connect with things you enjoy. Eat well. Sleep well. Read. Meditate. When done properly, meditation triggers the body’s natural relaxation response.

Another way to manage mood and other physical stress is with pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils. My favorites for calming and steadying are Ylang Ylang, Wild Orange, Neroli, Lavender, and Cedarwood.

No matter what ends up in your planner, set realistic expectations and be easy on yourself if you can’t meet them.

Remember, we aren’t experts at metabolizing life as we now know it, so proper planning and checking in on the plan a lot will give you the bandwidth you need to take good care of you. As will a big, fat, lime-green sticky note!

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What time management strategies will get you through the rest of the year? How are you planning to manage your days in 2024? What are your favorite morning hacks to get you in the right mindset? Please share with our community and let’s have a chat!

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Geraldine Martinsen

No planner for me. No appointments before 11am is my new resolution.


I would love to see your planner 😉

The Author

Ilene Mitnick and her wife Allison are the co-founders of The Zest Zone where they share their inspiration for high-vibe living and cooking with essential oils. As certified essential oil educators, they provide wellness coaching and protocols to those who want to live, work, and play with more vitality. Ilene can be contacted at

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