First Impression: Rituals for Living Dreambook and Planner
Last week, Kathryn wrote about mindfulness and how it is all about setting intention and focusing your emotions and attention on the present. I definitely struggle with this personally. Between my day-job, my business, night classes, wedding planning, and the administrative aspect of life in general, the day can go by in the blink of an eye and it is all too easy to forget to take a minute for myself. The one thing that is constantly by my side throughout the busy day is my notebook/planner. I start and end my day with it.
My review of the Passion Planner has become quite popular, and I was recently contacted by Briana Borten of The Dragontree and asked to do a first impression review on her and her husband’s Rituals for Living Dreambook+Planner. They launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring this tool that helps people achieve their goals while nourishing their body, mind, and spirit. I am a lover of planners, so I was really excited to share my thoughts on this product after speaking with Briana personally. Below are my thoughts on the overall design, the Dreambook section, and the Planner aspect. Disclaimer: I am not being paid to speak about this product. These opinions are my personal truth!
First off, here is part of the official description of the Rituals for Living:
The Rituals for Living Dreambook is a life map and exploration process that helps you clarify and emphasize your true priorities, and establish a plan to bring them to the forefront of your life. It guides you to find enjoyment and specialness every step of the way. And it reminds you not to sacrifice your physical, psychological, or spiritual health as you start achieving goals like never before. The Rituals for Living Dreambook includes planning sessions (goals for the year, quarter, and month), weekly summaries, boot camp (top goals, tasks, health challenges), blank sheets for right brain creative exploration, and a year-end section to gather memorable moments, clarify what worked and didn’t work, and establish next year’s theme. It has over 260 pages and is printed in the United States. It is quality-made from heavy 70-pound paper, has a size of 7×9 inches, and a lovely debossed durable soft cover.
Thoughts on Design
Since they are still in the middle of their Kickstarter campaign, they don’t have full and complete books ready to go. But I was given a digital version of the Dreambook+Planner for this first impression. One design detail I really like is the arrow theme. The book states, “the arrow theme is a reminder of the incredible power of your attention – because your energy flows in the direction of your attention.” It’s a small but meaningful detail. I also like the main flower logo because it reminds me of these simple flower drawings I did as a small kid in the early 90s (anyone else remember what I’m talking about?), so whenever I see it I am reminded of my childhood and it makes me feel a little happier.
Thoughts on the Dreambook
The way the book works is laid out in the beginning, with the process being “Connect, Dream, Craft, Ritualize, Plan“. The questions in each of these section make you reflect on different aspects of your life. It has a good balance of asking questions about the present as well as the future. I really enjoyed the ‘Dream’ section where you are asked to answer questions as if you are 3 years from today. It was actually fun to mentally pretend that I was in 2018 and imagine what I want my life to be like. While you are imagining, you are actually outlining your mind and heart’s true goals for the future.
I appreciated that the mind maps in the ‘Craft’ section were given a whole page. One of the things I disliked about the passion planner was that it felt kind of cramped to me. With this book coming in only one size (7×9 inches), you are truly allowed to dream big. BUT, I don’t know how I will feel about carrying around a 7×9 book in my purse. This is something I would definitely discuss in my full review.
I think one of the most valuable sections of this book is the ‘Ritualize’ section. It is so true that rituals are no longer valued in our society today. I don’t know about you, but when I first hear of the word ritual I tend to think of some kind of creepy cult activity. But that is totally NOT what it’s about. Rituals are about routines that you practice regularly that make you feel good. This goes back to wellness and mindfulness. There is a great list of ‘Elements of a Ritual’ that can help you figure out what works for you.
I would recommend that you do NOT try to fill out the entire Dreambook section in one sitting. I attempted to do this, but it made my brain hurt. You should take your time (yet another life lesson)…
Thoughts on the Planner
One of the things that I have personally never seen in another planner is the Quarterly break down. I LOVE this because I often think of time in quarters because of financial aspects for my business, but also because this is a great way to break down the year into more manageable chunks, especially if you have projects. I am so excited about this section because it will help me manage my time for my client projects. I think this section will show me when I’m available to take on new clients, and therefore ensure that I’m not taking on too much or spreading myself too thin. Then within each quarter, you can break down each project into important tasks so you know exactly what needs to be done to accomplish the project.
The monthly set up of the planning section has another small detail to remind you of intention setting in that you can name a “Theme of the Month”. The months and weeks start on Monday rather than Sunday, which I like because I feel like Sunday is the end of my week and Monday is the start of a new week.
My FAVORITE part of this whole book is the way that the weeks are set up. Here are my pros and cons:
1. I LOVE that each week has a simple challenge.. for example “This week, buy as little in plastic containers as possible.” The little things will help make the world happier and healthier! The simple weekly challenge adds to our consciousness.
2. I like how there is a section for top 3 goals for the week.
3. I cannot speak ENOUGH about how much I love the daily setup. The first box starts with intention, then morning rituals and activities, then a time break dow of the day, then evening rituals, and last but not least, a section to list what you are grateful for. This is so thoughtful because the organized layout follows the natural flow of your day. Wake up and set intention, and reflect before you go to bed. Because I love planning, I am so excited by the idea of planning my morning and nightly rituals. What’s even better is that there is a list of suggested rituals on each weekly page! I can go through the list and choose what I would like to do. I love lists so I love this.
4. I have a separate notebook where I write what I am grateful for each day, but now I have a special box for it in my planner! I don’t need another thing to keep that information, and now I can easily look back and reflect about how much I have to be thankful for whenever I feel like I’m not having a great day.
1. I am more a task-oriented instead of time-oriented person, so the section for tasks in each week is too small for me.
I am SO EXCITED by this planner and really hope the Kickstarter gets funded so that we can all try it out too. You can watch Briana and her husband Peter’s video and see more detailed pictures (including the weekly view that I love so much) of the planner on their Kickstarter page. I know some of us are skeptical because of the shipping fiasco that was the Passion Planner, but I think that if you look at the timeline listed on their Kickstarter it shows that they are conscious of timing. I think a big plus is that they are printing the books in the US. I honestly think the Rituals for Living Dreambook+Planner will help with personal awareness, wellness, and mindfulness while still working as a functional planner to keep you organized. I really want to try out a complete book – feeling a bound book is much different from downloading a digital version, for me at least. If the Kickstarter gets funded, I will do a full review and include comments on customer service and quality. They have 4 days left to reach their $25,000 goal.. please consider backing their project by visiting their Kickstarter. Maybe my hunt for the perfect planner will finally end? Who knows..