Signature Planner Guide


1. Getting started
2. Self-reflection 
3. Introspection
4. Core Values
5. Mindset Reframing
6. Goal creation
7. Habits
8. Ideal day
9. Important
10. Yearly Planning
11. Monthly overview
12. Calendar spread
13. Weekly spread

*This page is under construction; videos coming soon! 

The Hemlock & Oak Signature Planner emphasizes your personal values by regularly reviewing them with you. This way, you can pursue goals, stay organized, and keep on top of events while focusing on what matters most to you. In a society where work is often the centerpiece of our identity, it's easy to lose sight of our values. That's why this planner has integrated your values into the design. You will be able to pursue your goals but still take care of your well-being. 

What are values?
Personal values are the behaviours and traits that are important to us. When we connect with our values, our stress decreases because we become less work-centric as a result.

Getting Started

This planner is Made in Canada, and the binding is tighter for durability and longevity. With time, book binding can come apart, and we wanted this planner to last everyday use without compromise. This means it may be difficult to open your book at first. To break in the binding, gently bend it backwards and massage near the spine. In time, the glue will loosen. You can use a large paper clip or binder clip to keep your pages down while you write.

The front covers are made of a vegan leather made in the USA. Do not use harsh cleaners, alcohols, or abrasives. You may take off the upper coating of the material if you do. Use a microfiber cloth and a small amount of warm water to clean the cover. 

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Self-reflection (p. 6-7)

These questions help you reflect and look back on your life so you can discover your values later. The following examples are merely prompts and not an exhaustive list.

1. "What moments made you feel content?"
Find memories in your life where you felt content. If you're stuck, think of small things that bring you happiness. This can include:

  • enjoying your morning coffee before anyone else is up  
  • going on a trip with friends  
  • seeing someone you love that you don't get to see often 
  • a particular experience, book, movie, game, etc.

2. "What moments in your life made you feel proud?"
Think of moments that you are proud of, even if you didn't feel that way in the moment. Find something that you can acknowledge in the present. Give yourself credit where credit is due! 

  • getting a job  
  • doing your best in a difficult time  
  • taking a risk that paid off  
  • sticking with something  

3. "What moments in your life have you felt fulfilled or satisfied?"
This is different from contentment. You are looking for moments that left you with a sense of wholeness or completion. Avoid limiting yourself to achievements. Examples might be:

  • moments of peace or rest  
  • spending time with loved ones  
  • being home or somewhere that you're connected to  
  • progressing towards a goal  

4. "What moments in your life were filled with positive progress or change?"
Life is full of changes. We grow and change for the better, even in difficult situations. Find moments such as: 

  • moving out from somewhere
  • creating boundaries for yourself
  • letting go of something or someone toxic  
  • a realization that changed your life
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Introspection (p. 8-9)

1. "Close your eyes. What does your ideal life look like to you?"
Don't limit yourself with this question, and pay attention to the things that come up in your mind first. Any answers will still give you insight into your values later on. The little things matter: try to focus on the sounds, smells, and tastes that bring you happiness as well. This will give you further insight into which moments you appreciate.

2. "What character traits does your ideal self have?"
It's easiest to imagine a conversation that you would want to hear about yourself. Some examples of conversations might be:

"[She/he] is always there for me, I can count on them for anything" (you value friendship, trustworthiness)
"[She/he] creates amazing art." (you value creativity)
"[She/he] is kind to the planet and tries to make a difference." (you value justice and goodness)

Tip: Before highlighting your values, review the previous exercises. Then, take your time going through the list and highlight values that resonate with you. If you want to explore more, you can access them here.

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Core values (p. 10)

1. "Write 10 to 15 of your most important core values." 
It's best to do this in pencil because their ranking might change. It might be difficult to decide which value is more important to you than the other. This can change with time as well, so think of this page as something you come back to review!

2. "Create a sentence that embodies your most important values."
This can be a difficult one, so again, it's good to do this in pencil. This does not need to be lengthy. It should summarize your most important values. Think of it as your personal mantra!

Some examples might be:

"I will advocate for justice and goodness through my volunteer work and career path. However, fitness, wellbeing, and friendship are the cornerstones of my personal values. I will honour my body and health on a daily basis and nourish my relationships with kindness, compassion, and openness."

"I will pursue freedom and independence creatively and mindfully through creating my own business. However, I will not do this at the expense of my health, wellness, and need for solitude. I will also prioritize my family and friends, create memories with loved ones, and explore nature and the world with them."

"I will express love and integrity in everything I do: in the classroom, towards my family, and towards my friends. I will not compromise on my wellness and mental health, and regularly pursue therapy and journaling. Solitude is important for my wellness, and I will ensure that I have adequate space each day."

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Mindset reframing (p. 11)  

The critical adult mind can keep us from connecting with our values. We tell ourselves that we must do better, and compare ourselves with what others have. Social media has worsened this problem. Our comparisons and self-criticisms often have no grounding in reality and have a negative impact on our mental health.

Try writing down each negative or critical thought that you have experienced.

  • What do you criticize yourself for? 
  • How can you reframe it so that it's neutral, positive, or leaves room for growth? 
My writing is terrible.  I can improve my writing.

I'm not smart enough to do this. I can learn anything and this challenge will teach me a lot.

No one will like this. 
If I like this, others might too. If not, I can fix it.
I'm so unfit and unhealthy. Life has been difficult this year. But I can start making healthier choices right now.

The reality is that our negative self-talk is usually far from the truth, and it hinders us more than helps us. We'd never talk to a dear friend or loved one the way we talk to ourselves. Be your own best advocate and assume the role of a guiding parent.

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Goal Creation (p. 12-15) 

1. Creating your goals in context
These goal creation pages help create goals in context with your values. For a goal to be fulfilling to us, we need to create them in accordance to our values. Here is an example of values that might work with this person's goals: (please note, they could be completely different for you)

Goal: paint landscapes for a living

Values: Creativity, independence, financial stability, challenge, self-improvement 

2. Why do you want this goal?
Think of your deeper motivations behind wanting a certain result. Continuing with our example:

I want to paint landscapes to sell for a living because:

  • Painting has a deep childhood connection for me 
  • Selling work brings me fulfillment. I'm always excited when a piece sells. 
  • Oil painting is meditative and peaceful 
  • Painting landscapes allows me to be in nature, where I feel at peace 

3. Creating Milestones 
Milestones are important because they break your goal into small, realistic steps. Create four milestones that are attainable and specific, and set check-in reminders in your calendar. Continuing our example:

Milestone 1: Create a concept for an outdoor landscape collection

  • Steps: Draft places I can paint, determine palette colours, and write-up a general motivation behind the collection 

Milestone 2: Paint first piece in the collection 

  • Steps: Determine location, save up for extra paints, make sure you have all necessary supplies for outdoor painting 

Milestone 1: Create a concept for an outdoor landscape collection

  • Steps: Determine location, save up for extra paints, make sure you have all necessary supplies for outdoor painting 
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Attainable Habits (p. 16) 

This will be where you can simplify the habits you made from previous goals. If a habit you need is to exercise daily, make it attainable by setting the bar to at least 5 or 10 minutes a day. Giving yourself habits that you can easily fall back on increases the chances of you sticking with them! 

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Ideal day (p. 17) 

This page gives you room to pencil in possible routines and habits that connect with your values. If health is important, find little ways to incorporate it into your day. You can also see how your work-life balance is doing on this page, and set times when work should end.

Important (p. 19) 

Keep track of addresses, passwords, and other important information. These sections can alter with some labels or stickers as you desire.

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Monthly overviews 

These pages are your yearly overviews for 2021 and 2022. Use these pages to write events, keep track of birthdays, and set review dates for milestones.

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Weekly Spreads

Weekly spreads leave room to determine your goals and values for that week. Remember, less is more! Focusing on one specific goal is always easier to handle. Each day has space dedicated to the one thing you need to get done that day.

Your priority list is where you keep track of things that must get done. Lengthen or append if necessary.
At the end of each day, there is a small self-care icon. This keeps you in check with your values that you want to focus on that week.

For example: if your focus is on health, each day could connect with that value. You might write things like: "ate healthy", "exercised for 15 minutes", "slept early", etc.

At the end of the day, it serves as a reminder that there are more important things than work and goals. Some examples might be:

  • meditation or a healthy habit 
  • calling a loved one 
  • fulfilling a certain value (i.e creativity) 
  • putting work away earlier than usual 
  • spending time with friends 
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