There is a specific rush I feel when I walk through any superstore at the beginning of fall. There’s one section I always feel drawn to the most: school supplies.
All those empty notebooks and sharpened pencils remind me of the incredible sense of possibility I felt as a nerdy kid who loved school and couldn’t wait to fill up the pages with things I would learn. As I got older, that enthusiasm moved to one specific item: a new planner.
My Type A sensibilities really reach nirvana when I have an empty planner to fill. This time last year I bought a planner for 2020. Little did I know how quickly that planner would go from being a symbol of organization and productivity to a depressing reminder of all the things I would not be able to do as 2020 progressed.
But this fall, I feel a renewed need to pour my hopes and aspirations into a planner — regardless of how long the pandemic continues. More importantly, I want to focus less on traditional markers of productivity and more on how I can encourage myself to stay present and focused on the good things happening right in front of me.
I got even more excited about the idea of a new planner for this year when I discovered the world of Jewish planners, which seem to be a relatively new phenomenon. The Jewish calendar, of course, has existed for millennia. Only in recent years have I seen beautifully designed, annual Jewish planners that allow your culture and spirituality to coexist with secular life.
Below are some Jewish planners I’ve found for the new Hebrew year, 5781. If you’ve been wondering how to better keep track of time (or like, know what day it is) in the coming year, then I highly encourage you try one out.
Driven Day Planner
This daily planner features a cognac leather cover, gold monthly tabs, and gold wire binding. Each week includes a Shabbat planning page plus individual sections for personal care, appointments, family responsibilities, menu planning, and a place to write out what you’re grateful for. It also features an inspirational quote on every page from either a Jewish or secular thought leader.
The Driven Day website also includes printables for budgeting, workouts, cleaning, as well as Jewish holiday planning. This planner is clearly geared towards moms, but could still work very well for anyone.
Gold Herring Planner
The Gold Herring Planner focuses on the Shmita, the seven-year cycle in the Torah that marks agricultural practices and can also be used as a metaphor to measure spiritual growth. I had the chance to speak with Mo Golden, co-founder of Gold Herring, who emphasized that this planner is for anyone with any level of Jewish observance, and any gender: “Women are expected to have these beautiful planners and be the keepers of plans and do the emotional labor. It does a disservice to men because they don’t feel like they are allowed to have beautiful things or do self care.”
Rather than a traditional grid, the Gold Herring planner uses wheels for each week, like a pie chart. Mo, a graphic designer, emphasized how she wanted to capture “the cyclical nature of Jewish time.” For each month, there is a table listing the Jewish days and Gregorian days next to each other, eliminating confusion over start and end times for each of the Jewish holidays. There’s also ample space for personal reflection, rather than the traditional markers of productivity and responsibility.
The Shaatra MyDay planner features a modern black, white, and gold reusable binder. At the top of every page is a space to list your top three goals for the day. I especially appreciate how each day includes a water tracking feature, because I never feel like I drink enough water. The binder holds six months’ worth of pages, which may be a drawback to some users. Extra note pages are available for purchase through the website. Each page includes sunrise and sunset times, and each Friday includes Shabbat and Havdalah candle lighting times, all in Eastern Standard Time. If you live outside of the East Coast of the United States, it’s nothing a little white out could change if you really love the rest of it.
Meaningful Moments Planner
The Meaningful Moments “Mindful Moments” planner is a nice mix of weekly planning and space for spiritual reflection. There are a variety of cover options including my favorite basic millennial color, blush pink. There is a “Thank You Hashem” page for each week to cultivate a weekly gratitude practice, as well as Torah thoughts for each month and holiday. Similar to the Driven Day planner, it has ample space to menu plan, if that’s your thing. I like how this planner includes space for reviewing your monthly goals, breaking down those categories like self-growth, Torah, and family. If you are especially focused on spiritual growth this year, this planner is for you.
Regardless of your goals, any one of these planners will help you view the world through a more Jewish lens and help you stay organized while you do it.
Header image design by Emily Burack. Background via Getty Images.