How Hacking A Pocket Planner Can Make 2017 A Lot Less Stressful

What if your ability to coast through treacherous situations suddenly became easier?

Happy Chinese New Year!

Do we get to push a reset button by celebrating the year of the Rooster, kind of like Groundhog’s Day?! *silently wishing that was the case*

I know that a lot of you are wishing you could wake up in an alternate dimension right about now. The world we live in today is certainly not as simple as it was many years ago, and the more we progress with innovation, the more we get exposed to information at a rapid clip from every possible angle.

2016 was one of the most eye-opening years of our lives, and it’s only been coupled with more intensity since 2017 began. We are all riding the collective wave of hopefulness, anger, frustration, and that eerie feeling of uncertainty.

So what are we to do?

I mean, we can’t very well go hide in a hole and wish it could all be better. Well, we could, but seriously, what does that even accomplish? Nothing. (unless you have one of those pimped out bunkers and could live there for eternity because you tapped into aquaponics and permaculture).

Ahem, but I digress.

I know that for me, waking up every day to face the onslaught of digital media, news, and the voices of friends and family, it takes a certain amount of willpower to stay “sane”. *deep breaths*

Thankfully, I had an idea when my mother wished to toss her yearly 2017 pocket planner. I have a “thing” against useless waste and would prefer to upcycle or recycle whenever possible.

But I understood her point, I mean, there is an APP for everything these days, so why would we use a small paper booklet when we have automated reminders and cloud backups for our contact lists?!

Here’s why:

I turned this archaic little booklet into my personal gratitude journal, where every morning upon waking, I write five things I am grateful for on the corresponding date. If you didn’t already know, it’s been proven by science that practicing gratitude can have a positive impact on our well-being.

We Love Science

Dr. Robert A. Emmons describes a study in his new book, “Thanks!” where he carried out research with three experimental groups over a 10-week period.

One group was asked to write down five things they were grateful for that occurred in the last week for each of the weeks in the 10-week study.

A second group was asked to write down five things that annoyed or hassled them from the previous week.

And the third group was asked to list five events that happened in the last week but were asked not to focus on the event being positive or negative.

Wanna guess which group ended up on top when it came to feeling more optimistic about the future?! That’s right, group numero UNO! The group that wrote down just five things they were grateful for. 😀

Whoa! So simple, and yet so profound.

The Clincher

So here’s where my little book of gratitude helped me the most and why I am beyond happy for coming up with this simple hack. (btw, if you try it out yourself, I would love to hear your feedback) 😏

My work computer of two and a half years decided that it was time to pass on to that “special place” that all systems seem to go when they no longer function properly or start up upon reboot. *Le sigh*

So I did what any laptop nomad would do, and quickly went to the store to get a replacement (knowing all too well that I could get the system fixed, could probably lose data, and that I would definitely ensure maximum downtime). Nope, can’t that happen.

Upon getting my new touch screen 2 in 1 system, I noticed that every time I would type my in passwords they got rejected, and I KNOW I hit the right keys. I contacted support, ran through diagnostics, and very soon realized that I had a defective keyboard. Ugh… thankfully I have 98% of my world in the cloud…

The very next day, after I realized that I could replace my system (thanks to the 14-day lemon law policy), I made sure of listing what I was grateful that very morning.

I began to notice everything that I was thankful for that day, even after writing only five things down.

Well, thankfully, that kept me in good spirits while I went to the store to get the replacement system and headed back home to set it all up again. It was easier to get everything in order this time around, as I learned from system number one and that made setup all the more efficient.

I thought I was done…

but I was wrong, a different set of keys were sticking! *deeper breaths*

I looked at my pocket journal, recalled everything I could be grateful for and saddled up to go back to the store. Despite brain fatigue from setting up two systems within four days, I knew I had to get one that worked perfectly.

Our lives are a reflection of what we tolerate, and I surely wasn’t going to tolerate anything less than a healthy, fully functioning system.

This time, I told them to take it out of the box IN the store so we could test drive the keyboard. It helped immensely to smile to the staff and to act with kindness and gratitude. Little known fact: when we share gratitude it expands and sends a ripple effect to everyone we encounter.


Third times the charm, and all I can say is this, I had no idea just how grateful I am for all that I learned throughout this experience. By waking up every day, despite the fears of downtime, loss of work, loss of funds, loss of data, and loss of communication, I still stayed positive.

If a simple little pocket planner can do that for me, someone who relies on her computer to create a living, then what might happen if you adopted this hack and gave it a try yourself?

What if your ability to coast through treacherous situations suddenly became easier? What if your outlook changed when faced with uncertainty? What if you felt more confident while weathering the highs and lows of your own life?

I think it’s worth a shot to give it a go, don’t you?!

Originally published at

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