Last Christmas I took to Amazon to find my husband a planner. It’s not that he hasn’t tried planners before- because he has. He had tried just about every option to organize his day with a planner. So when I saw the Panda Planner online, I was slightly skeptical.
Some memorable organization hacks that my husband tried include sticky notes on doors (so he would see it when he left the room) and writing on his hands. We even talked about a rubber band method where you moved it from your left hand to your right hand- ridiculously complicated for remembering to do important tasks.
And forget it when he went to work. Being a Firefighter means that he has to stay focused on the job so anything personal went out the window. He had a separate check list at work he kept in his locker and relied heavily on his Lt. with organizing the day.
Basically, we needed a miracle planner. Somewhere that He can organize his day and his week. Somewhere that he can hope and plan and turn his dreams into reality. He didn’t want to be the “disorganized firefighter” anymore.
Que the Panda Planner.
At first glance, this black (or now they have other colored sleeves) was a little daunting. It seemed both simple and overly complicated all at once.
Simple, because it still had places to set goals (daily, weekly and monthly) and to-do checklists.
Though, it was a little more complicated because it gave a lot of freedom to the dates you picked (you can fill in your own date so you aren’t penalized for skipping a few days) and it also has places to create gratitude/affirmations and reflection.
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Why We love the Panda Planner
So basically, the Panda Planner Pro is still an average planner. You can schedule your day and your week. You can keep track of the ever revolving firefighter work schedule and the honey do list.
You can also see the bigger picture. That your life is more than just work and chores. That you want to create goals to achieve and then monitor the progress with reflection. This is especially important for the stressful holiday season.
This is also true with the monthly outlooks. It’s amazing to look back on your goals for last month (and the days and weeks) to see where you need to improve for the current month.
Then once you get a few months of ‘data’, you can see where you succeeded and where you failed. This might be my absolute favorite feature- you won’t reach your goals if you always do the same things.
The Panda Planner is a productivity, gratitude, and goal setting planner wrapped up into one awesome package.
Why I think all Firefighters should have a Panda (not the animal, the planner)
Firefighters can lead a pretty hectic lifestyle. For one, they have an unique schedule between all the 24/48/72’s, overtime and training. Volunteers especially, can benefit from a Panda Planner, because they are generally logging a full-time job on top of family life. It can be stressful to stay on top of everything!
Mostly, I recommend planning for mental health. I know- I sound like a broken record because I mention mental health in every post BUT it’s important!
When you have a plan/goal and actionable steps, it can get rid of the fear and anxiety. It can make a super stressful project just be regular stressful. It can also provide perspective, because writing things down helps someone realize their priorities.
Plus, when you have a planner (written or digital) it helps with time management- then you can actually achieve the goals you want!
I also like this planner for firefighters (and my husband will confirm!) because its a day by day thing. So you could use it only for shift days, or only for home days, without wasting a lot of paper.
And if you forget about it for a week or a month- no big deal! Just pick back up where you started, no anxiety attached.
Panda Planner examples
So I’ll be honest. The first time I looked at the Panda Planner, I clicked off of it onto something else.
Why? Because I thought it would be too much or too overwhelming. Turns out that its actually great for organizing your thoughts with its different options. So here are some real life pages from my husband’s Panda.
This first image is the Daily Sheet. It has things like a Morning review, Today’s Priorities and a Task list. It can also help you with your Focus, end of the Day notes, and hourly schedule.
The weekly planner is also a lot of fun and useful for staying organized. The four main sections are: the review of last week, the upcoming week, projects, and top goals.
Panda Printable and accessories
It’s never too early or too late to start making some goals to achieve!
I have this printable for helping firefighters and others achieve their goals AND it fits in the large panda planner! You can also scale it down to fit in most other planners. It is so beneficial for setting your yearly goals and to help maintain your focus. Check out the Free printable here!
This year my husband is also working to use a few different colors in his planner. We found these set of pens here that work very well with the Panda.
As you can see from the examples above, this isn’t really a sticker type planner. BUT, I did find these stickers for Christmas for my husband to try. We’ll see how long it lasts. Could be helpful for some people!
So for my firefighter, this Panda Planner changed the game.
We like the Panda Planner Pro Undated. I suggest everyone take a look and see if it is a good fit for your lifestyle.
I know I’m more of a “Happy Planner” type person- but I’m also a type A personality that is going to get shit done regardless of what my planner says.
If you want a smaller planner that last a whole year (and is cheaper in the grand scheme of things), I recommend the Clever Fox planner. They claim it can increase productivity by 300% and the Clever Fox Reviews on Amazon support that fact!
Do you own the Panda Planner? Are you thinking about getting one? Let me know how you keep your day organized in the comments below! I’m always interested to hear how people meet their goals.