Every semester for the past two years, the top three items on my to-buy list were: textbooks, pens, and a planner. 

Next semester, that planner is getting crossed off.

Personally, planners were my lifesavers. They were a way to keep me afloat when all the stresses of college life began to drown me.

It dawned on me, however, that my lifesaver was just another thing weighing me down.

Each semester would start off with the hunt for the perfect planner.

I'd want a bright, new cover. Each day in it had to have enough lines for my assignments. It had to be small enough to fill up the little space left in my backpack. 

My planner became another stress for me. 

It became a clutter of purple ink and unfinished tasks. It became a hassle to fill it in each night even though it was a way for me to stay organized.

date, pizza, beer, coffee, wine
Daniela Doncel

Self care is not about turning your life upside down; it's about making the tiny changes in life for an overall better one.

I am a very creative and visual person. Drawing and writing things out relaxes me, so why not add it into my daily schedule?

I bought a journal, turned it into my life planner and made my life a bit more colorful.


Daniela Doncel

My day-to-day schedules felt less like a chore and more like a canvas when I started using a journal. I could create my own titles and lists with doodles and colors.

I didn't have to worry about running out of space for my assignments, because I could use as much space as I wanted. 

My journal became a home for my creativity to flourish, and it made me happier.

coffee, beer, tea
Daniela Doncel


beer, tea, coffee
Daniela Doncel

Most planners come with sections where you can write goals or notes. With a journal, you can create the subsections you need in your life.

You can create a section to document your water and calorie intake, your goals for the month, even a list of the shows you want to watch or finish.

You can even paint a life plan you have for your future. Personally, I have made my journal a place that not only keeps my school work in check but my personal projects as well like my creative writing.

pizza, tea, coffee, beer
Daniela Doncel

Stress Relief

pizza, beer
Daniela Doncel

Using a journal rather than a store-bought planner filled my days with a stress reliever. Every night, I knew I had to take out at least 10 minutes to plan out my next day.

In those 10 minutes, I could color in my bubble letters and feel my stress wash away.

I understand what it's like to be packed to the brim with things that need to get done, but mental health is just as vital as that upcoming exam.

The 10 minutes you take to fill in your journal can be the 10 minutes you need to breathe, calm any anxiety, and relieve some stress.

beer, tea, coffee
Daniela Doncel


tea, sweet, candy
Daniela Doncel

Planners are waiting to be filled with tasks; journals are waiting to be filled with your life.

Make your journal personal to you. Don't just fill it with assignments. Fill it with the events of your life and the art of your mind.

Organizing your life can be fun, so long as you give it a try.

coffee, cake, beer, tea
Daniela Doncel

Cross that planner off your list. Buy a journal instead, and don't forget to buy some colored pencils too.