My 2021 Planner – Discipline and Focus for the Coming Year

I have a bit of Seasonal Affective Disorder, and December is the worst time of year for me. Discipline and Focus are not my strong suits in any case, but this time of year is a train wreck. (NOTE: I started this in October, it’s now Jan 2nd…)

I know I’m not the only one, and I’m not the only one with a notebook fetish. In fact, Shaunta Grimes penned an article that has some great ideas for Planning, Journaling and generally keeping things organized. I feel that I do a pretty good job, I could definitely do better, and I am really going to work at it this year. I frequently get a burst of energy after my December Blahs, and I will need to capitalize on that ASAP.

Here is a run-down of my current system, and a peek at some tools I may be utilizing in 2021.

Bullet Journal & Morning Pages

Yes, I have been doing this for almost two years now. I believe I have finally found a format that I like, that works for me, and is attractive. I am an excellent list-maker, but have a terrible time looking back and learning from my mistakes and oversights. Until it’s an emergency. In 2021 I plan to work on that deficiency and get serious about the planning and the subsequent review.

Monthly Spread #BuJo Bullet Journal
Guess when I started thinking about this post…

Sadly, I am terrible at actually laying out the details of the SMART goals…I have yet to do it for Nov or Dec. So I need to return to my GTD roots and start setting appointments with myself to do these planning and organizing tasks. The easy way to find time to do this is to put down my stupid phone and stop doomscrolling through Twitter. That is my number-one time-suck. The SMART goals are my Big Rocks for the month, the handful of things that simply MUST get done.

Second, better attention must be paid to the Weekly Spread, in terms of planning and executing the Big Rocks for the month and week.

I Weekly Spread #BuJo Bullet Journal

That little box at the bottom-left, “Weekly Review Notes”, needs to become a more important feature (perhaps I’ll move it!), as I NEED to perform a Periodic Review much more often and more regularly. My look back at the results from 02020 was scheduled for 2 Jan, and I actually did it! While also writing this post and reviewing Shaunta’s article and thinking about how to best FOCUS on my fortune and create an environment where discipline is possible.

Morning Pages

A journaling technique I learned about 20 years ago from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, Morning Pages are an amazing way to get things out of your head and down on paper. Sadly, I do not do them as religiously as I used to. For 2021 I am going to make a concerted effort to write at least one page, and shoot for two, every single morning. To make this a success, I suspect it will be easier if I sit down at my desk immediately upon arising, even before I get coffee or do the yoga thing. Lately, especially in December, I’d glance at my phone and “just take a sec to check the notifications”, and pretty soon it’s an hour later and I’ve made 20 posts on twitter. When I actually do the Morning Pages exercise properly, I feel energized, clear-headed and ready to start my day. When I do not, I just flail about and go with the flow. There is an obvious benefit to doing this exercise, and I am no longer going to give it short shrift.

End of Day Planning

I often have a chance, at the end of the day, to sit down and think about what needs to get done the following day. I usually just make a list and then go to bed, but for this month (at least) I’m going to make it a little more detailed. I will ask myself some questions like “How much creativity was I able to express today?” or “What tasks are left undone?”. Things like that, which should help me to maintain focus and discipline (because I will get tired of writing that I didn’t do Project A today and should do it tomorrow, over and over and over. Just get’r done.

2021 Projects

There are a handful of projects of varying scales planned for 2021. The first and foremost is my weekly newsletter with detailed setting info about the World of Weirth. This is Old-School material that is really applicable to most any campaign setting, so feel free to rob it and chop it up for parts. The newsletter sign-up is here, totally f.r.e.e.

Another of the projects that I’d like to accomplish this year is to paint the Fellowship of the Ring miniatures set, that I’ve had in its box since it came out in 2001 or so. Apparently it goes for about $100 on ebay right now…

Fellowship of the Ring

For an actual, in-real-life Con scheduled for this February, I am going to get this model of Rick’s Cafe Americain for the Cthulhu in Casablanca – Pulp Alley scenario I have been working on for something like five years.



And some “Pirate” ships that have been languishing since their Kickstarter in 2014.

Pirate ships

Work will continue on the World of Weirth campaign setting and on the playtest campaign. The ultimate goal, of course, to make a setting worth publishing. The player-facing information is being set up on the World of Weirth World Anvil worldbuilding site.

There are a few other things I have on the back burner, these are the most pressing for me and for my own current passion. Stay tuned for more!

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