I’ve always been a person who loves the idea of planners, but it took me a very long time to find one that really works for me. Something that helps me organize all my thoughts in a open, yet still guided, manner.
When I discovered the Method To The Madness Planner, I felt like I had found the answer to all my organizing struggles. From the blank dates to the prompts for helping you think through you big goals and day to day necessities. It is a dream for scatterbrained people like me, who have a lot of thoughts and ideas that need to be put to paper, but need a little help in figuring out how to organize them.
ABOUT THE SHOP
Method To The Madness was created by Jocelyn Schade, a fellow mad one. Like many, she had big dreams she wanted to make a reality, but she didn’t want to get lost in the future and lose the present. She sought out planners that could help her focus on everything, big and small, but found that nothing merged the two together quite right. So she made her own!
This planner was created by a dreamer, for dreamers. For those of us who get lost in the clouds of big thinking and need assistance in bringing ourselves back to now. This is the ultimate reminder that what you do in the present should be a reflection of what you want your future to look like, but that the present still needs to be lived and appreciated for all it is.
Method To The Madness is a small shop. Currently operated by Jocelyn and made in small batches. The first batch has been sold and she is currently in the process of bringing more planners to us soon! Soon, she will have a kickstarter where you can go support her in creating more beautiful planners for us and get a 30% discount while you’re at it! If there’s anything worth investing in, I’d say the organization of your present and future is definitely one of them.
A LOOK INSIDE THE PLANNER
As beautiful and simple as the outside is, the inside is just as wonderful. The design is super simple which helps you to personalize it and prevents distractions in the middle of a brainstorm. There are prompts that help you to remember yourself and set intentions for each day. From the very first page, and every page after, you’re reminded that everything you write down should be for you. Not for who you think you should be, not anything you feel pressure to do. Everything you do, you need to do it for you.
So here is an in-depth look at the Method Madness Planner and how I’ve used mine! Truly, this planner has become the key method to my madness.
THE DEATH GAME
The very first thing you’ll do in this planner is take sometime to think about what truly matters to you. The things that, in the end, you’ll be thinking about and cherishing the most. The activities that fill your life as full as it can be.
By putting yourself in the mindset of thinking about how much time you have left and what you would do if you knew your time was limited, you’re able to get to the route of what you truly want in life. In my death game, I learned that what I value most is time with family and peace. I was able to figure out that what I needed most was to slow down and take in the simple moments of everyday. The everyday that may have passed me buy if I didn’t take the time to learn what was most important.
This is where you focus on the future for a moment. A place where you think as big and dream as big as you can. Starting with The Big Picture, writing down everything you want in life and ending with detailed plans to accomplish 3 big goals in the next 3 months.
The Big Picture
For me, The Big Picture was a brain dump of anything and everything. Improvements I’d like to make, things I’d like to do, and who I want to become. I didn’t have time limits or expectations for when these things need to happen. It was just simply a dump for everything I could think of that I’d love to have in my life at some point. From an improved skincare routine to being debt free to simply having slower moments in my day.
Three month vision
This is where I got a bit more specific. I looked at my big picture items and wrote down the things that could realistically be done (or needed to be done) in the next three months. I made a point to not add too much to this list because, the way I see it, it’s better to start small and add more later than to overload yourself with unrealistic expectations. So here was my 3 month vision:
make my maternity wardrobe
create a minimalist workbook
cook at home more
make each day more intentional
The last bit of this section is to break down your 3 biggest goals (I love this rule-of-threes thing she has going on). This is where you can take your bigger goals or more abstract goals and break them down into tangible tasks that you can add to your day to day as you go along. I chose to focus most on,
cooking at home more
creating a minimalist workbook
So there’s a blank page where you can brainstorm and take notes as you think through your big goals to make sure you get everything you envision on paper, right there in front of you. Then, there’s the guided page. The page where you think through your why, first move, and to-dos. I’ve found that the hardest part of starting anything is figuring out what to do first, so having this space to think through anything and everything and then coming up with a first, second, third, etc. step was essential in helping me to actually start things.
WEEKLY PAUSE & PLAN
This is a space where you can sit and think about your upcoming week. From things you need to do to things you want to do. It’s a good reminder to set some intentions for the following week.
I really look forward to the weekly pause & plan because it gives you a moment to check in frequently. Honestly, most of this planner is meant to help you check in more often which is something I really love. I feel like it’s too easy to go through the motions without ever taking a step back to evaluate what you’ve done, what you’re doing, and where it’s taking you.
Moment of awe
This is where you take a moment to think about the last week. You’re encouraged to think about all the good that happened, which I really love. Even if your week wasn’t amazing, it’s a good time to at least congratulate yourself for getting through it. As an introvert, my very first entry for my weekly reflection was that I socialized! I also acknowledged that, though I wasn’t feeling very motivated, I still managed to stay productive. Though, there are also weeks where I’ve congratulated myself for taking a break even though I could have been busy.
This is another brainstorm moment where you can write freely about all that you want for next week. What can improve? How do you want to feel at the end of it? What are your intentions? You can think about things you’d like to carry on from the last week and new things you’d like to implement in the week to come. Anything you can think of, this is the place to let it out.
GET it all out
This is a bit of a brain dump for tasks for the upcoming week. It’s structured in a checklist format so you can take your intentions and turn them into goals, along with keeping track of tasks you know you need to do within the next week. At the very end, you're encouraged to take a second look at your list and cross off the things that aren’t true to you. If there’s anything you may have added because you feel like you should do it, even though it’s not something you need or want to do, this is the time to cross it off and let it go. You don’t need to be anyone but yourself here.
Ah, the meat of the planner. This is what planners are all about and Jocelyn executed this part perfectly.
A big problem I have with a lot of planners is that they feel like they need to be full of tasks, but they don’t give you a space to really think about your day and how to fit everything into it.
The schedule is not dated, none of the planner is. You can stop and start when you need to and there’s no feeling like you have to play catch up or guilt for not staying productive 100% of the time. If you need a lazy week, go for it! the nice new page will be there when you’re ready for it.
Each month starts with a calendar so you can have a bird’s eye view of what your month looks like. There are notes on the side to keep track of tasks or goals you’re working on for that month or activities you have planned so you can go in and schedule them as needed. You can follow the structure of one month at a time or just fill it in week by week as you use your planner. It’s totally up to you! This is just a nice place to get an idea of the big picture to make sure you’re not over scheduling or overlapping on anything.
In this spot, I like to check in with everything. There are two pages. One with 7 morning, day, and night boxes and another with 7 days worth of checklists. For me, I don’t use the daily plan for the checklist. I like to just go down the line and let that be my brain dump for any and all tasks I think of during my weekly pause & plan along with things in my monthly overview and big goal brainstorms. This is where I go into true planning mode and keep all tasks that I need and want to do in one place. Then, I use the page with the morning, day, and night boxes to decide which tasks can be done on which day, and even further, which time of day they need/should happen. - I also like to use this part for meal planning. I set aside a few of the check lists to write out meals that I can make for the week and then pick the day when I’m organizing my tasks.
The daily overview has to be my favorite part by far.
There are two pages for every daily overview. It seemed really intimidating at first. I’m a person who typically has 3-4 to-dos each day (if even that many), so I honestly had no idea how I’d fill out two whole pages. But the way this space is laid out makes it easy to let your mind flow and create a day you can really enjoy.
DAILY LOVE BOMB
“Drop one bomb, drop three bombs. Spread gratitude all over the page. If you want more of the good stuff, declare the good stuff!”
This is the quote you see next to your very first Daily Love Bomb. From there, this symbol is meant to remind you to focus on the good stuff. Remember, you’re not meant to be perfect and the very point of life is to always seek growth. This can only happen if you accept the fact that not everyday is perfect, but appreciate anything good that may have happened.
Here is where you can pour your heart out. There are two separate spaces with lines to fill as you please. I use one at the start and the other at the end of my day. I like to think about what I want my day to be and then I have a quick reflection before bed. It’s been really helpful in determining how I’m feeling each day. I can check in to see if I’m full of energy and ready to load on the to-dos or if I’m needing a day of rest with only the necessities. At the end of the day, I can close the planner on a good note, giving me happy thoughts as I wind down for the night.
On the second page, you’re given all the tools you need to get motivated and organized for your day.
You start with the Make Your First Move icon. It can be a task to help you achieve the thing that will move you closer to a major goal, or just an abstract motivation. For me, I like to think of it as my daily motivation or mantra. Examples of how I use this would be: “get started,” “rest,” “stay active,” etc. Just simple goals or motivations for my day to keep myself in the right mindset.
Then you’ve got your Daily Shot O’ Dopamine. Something you can do that makes you happy. I’ve literally written to play as much of an iPad game while I still have the free trial. Get creative with this. It doesn’t have to be huge, just anything you can think of that you can allow yourself to do that day. From coffee dates to binge watching TV to eating cake. Just make sure there’s at least one thing you’re doing everyday that makes you happy.
Then, there’s a checklist and a morning, day, and night space. I like to start with the checklist and fill out all the tasks, anything at all that I need to do that day along with the meal we’re planning on eating. Once that’s filled out, I’ll organize it by which time of day something needs to happen and I’ll reference this throughout the day. Honestly, I had no idea how helpful it was to organize tasks by time of day until I started using this planner. It helps to keep your day well balanced. I also love that you don’t have to put your tasks in order as you’re thinking of them. You can simply think first, then organize which makes it so much easier to think of things.
The last little bit. I’m not sure if it was intentional or just how the page was laid out, but there’s a small free space where I like to write reminders for myself. At one point, during my first trimester of pregnancy when I had aversions to almost anything with protein, I use this space to keep track of how much peanut butter I was eating to try and add some amount of protein to my diet. I’ve also written little reminders like “avoid TV during nap time today” to try and break some bad habits or just simple encouragements if I’m not feeling motivated. It’s a really great space to keep something on your mind that day.
MONTH REVIEW | NEXT MONTH
Here you’ll find a series of prompts for thinking about how the previous month went and how you want the next month to be. It’s short and sweet which I love. I appreciate taking more time to think about each individual day with the larger reflections being quick and to the point.
In the Month Review, you’ll cheers to the good stuff, think about what you need to work on and what you need to let go of, think about any “lightbulb moments” you may have had, and find the beauty in all the madness.
For Next Month, you’ll asses your current mood, decide what you need more of and less of in the coming month, give yourself a quick note, and think about whatever it is you want to think about for the next month.
For most of these prompts, I keep it to one or two words. Just quick jots that sum up each category. I almost like playing that game where you say the first thing that comes to mind. You don’t think, you just write. I’ve found it’s helpful in keeping things honest. You don’t have time to think too much about what other may have written, what expectations there are, or to judge yourself too harshly before writing your answer. You just write the thing that is most true to you.
Lastly, you have a few extra pages. Some with lines and some that are totally blank. You can use these however you please. I never really know how to use these pages, honestly. It’s nice having the option for quick thoughts or lists. It could be a useful place to keep track of books you want to read or things you want to do. Keep a bucket list or a list of ideas on self-love activities for everyday. Something to turn to when you’re just not sure what to do.
This is a little symbol that appears randomly throughout your days. It shows up in the daily checklists as a reminder of what really matters. It’s meant to make you think about the death game and all the things you would want to do if you knew the end was near.
While that may sound daunting, it’s really there to remind you what’s really important and that no matter how busy you get, life is much better when you make room for the things that are most important to you. When you see this symbol, you’re meant to add one thing to your day to work towards something that will make you happier. Something from your death game list or maybe just an extra treat for yourself. Sometimes I’ll even write reminders to slow down or to let go of something that’s been getting in my way.
So this planner is the thing that helped me get organized. The messages that are spread throughout the pages, the layout, the prompts, the check ins. All of it has helped me to balance my life a little better. My mind is organized but I don’t have the pressure of being productive all the time. I can take breaks without shamefully skipping over pre-made dates. I can fill it as much or as little as I please.
Most importantly, the Madness Planner has helped me to set intention. By taking a moment every day, week, and month to check in, I’m able to make sure I’m on the path that’s right for me. I can make improvements to myself and my life on a daily basis which ultimately, isn’t that why we do anything at all?