Back to Basics Planning Challenge: Conclusion

The end of November marks the end of the Back to Basics Planning Challenge that I undertook. To refresh you with the concept, here’s what I wrote in my previous post about the challenge:

The idea of the challenge is simply a no-decoration planning challenge, to demonstrate if we are able to plan without the expensive accessories such as stickers, washi tapes, and stamps. The terms of the (completely optional) challenge is as follows:

  • Weeks 1-2: Absolutely no stickers, no washi tapes, no stamps. However, you are allowed to use an unlimited amount of pens as you like, which you can use to draw your decorations, aside from actually planning with.

  • Week 3: Functional stickers and stamps are now allowed. Examples include water intake trackers, arrow stickers, etc. Washi tape is only allowed if they served a functional role, such as tabs.

  • Week 4: Decorating with stamps is now allowed, along with the functional stickers and stamps. The idea is to use only the items that can be reused.

Here’s a sample page of the last two weeks of November planning.

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And here’s another one of the first week of December.

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If you are saying that there’s barely any change, then you are correct. My conclusion of this challenge is basically that this sort of planning works perfectly for me. I find that I rarely need any stickers or washi tape when I plan, and the only stamp that I ended up using are these coffee trackers. It’s nice to have something to fill up all the empty spaces afterwards, and I tend to use it almost consistently as a brush calligraphy practice area.

It really depends on how the brain works. I feel quite cluttered and pressured if I think that I have to decorate my planner with a certain theme, which detracts from the actual planning process. I appreciate the simplicity of this planning style, and it helped me realize as well that I do not need to buy more stickers and washi tape just for the heck of it.

Back 2 Basics Planning Challenge

For the month of November, I’m participating in the Back2Basics Planning Challenge by KateB of KateBTPS in YouTube. To know more about this challenge, take a look at this video:

If you don’t want to watch the video, let me give you a quick summary. The idea of the challenge is simply a no-decoration planning challenge, to demonstrate if we are able to plan without the expensive accessories such as stickers, washi tapes, and stamps. The terms of the (completely optional) challenge is as follows:

  • Weeks 1-2: Absolutely no stickers, no washi tapes, no stamps. However, you are allowed to use an unlimited amount of pens as you like, which you can use to draw your decorations, aside from actually planning with.
  • Week 3: Functional stickers and stamps are now allowed. Examples include water intake trackers, arrow stickers, etc. Washi tape is only allowed if they served a functional role, such as tabs.
  • Week 4: Decorating with stamps is now allowed, along with the functional stickers and stamps. The idea is to use only the items that can be reused.

At the end of each phase, assess how you felt. Were you able to actually plan without all the accessories? Were they actually just extras, or did you find that you could not plan without them? Did you feel like you did not enjoy the planning process without them?

I decided to try this for the month of November, primarily because I was also going to test out the Hobonichi-style planning and was starting with nearly a blank slate. I do feel like I have too many stickers and washi tape, and wanted to see if I can convince myself that I don’t need them to plan with. I am using a passport size Midori refill (unlined) for the whole of this month, on a day-per-page layout.

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The monthly layout unfortunately already has a strip of washi tape. I had drawn out this calendar before I saw Kate’s planning challenge, but I would not let that bother me, and I don’t consider this stage a failure. I also had already put a sticker to denote an upcoming wedding, another strip of washi to denote the¬†upcoming APEC event, and a sticker to denote a holiday.

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Here are the rest of my planning pages for the first week. I’ve been quite comfortable with just using pens for planning, although I needed¬†to change my approach to my coffee intake tracking. I wrote out the word “coffee” in block letters, and colored in two letters for each cup of coffee I drank. This is now equivalent to my usual stamping of three coffee cups in my previous layouts.

One of the things I felt weird about was all the blank space remaining after the planning parts. Where I would normally slather on stickers or washi tape or stamp away with my stamps, I just tried putting in some brush calligraphy practice. This made me feel better, and now I have all this space to go back to for more calligraphy later on.

I feel like I can comfortably continue on to the rest of the challenge without much difficulty, but I am definitely looking forward to being able to use functional stickers and stamps by Week 3! What did you think of this challenge?