Welcome to Power Picks, a monthly series on the things that help us navigate our lives, step into our personal power, or simply get us through our day-to-day. Our hope is that by sharing what makes us feel great, we can help you feel great, too.
I like to masquerade as an organized person. You know: ironed shirt, brushed hair, insurance card tucked away somewhere safe—it all contributes to the impression that I am not, for all intents and purposes, an agent of chaos in my own life. Because, well, I am. I regularly get lost on my way home from work. I lose anything and everything that isn't attached to my person. Without my beloved Smythson planner—where I remind myself, diligently, to iron my shirts, to put my insurance card in a safe place, even to make sure my hair isn't a birds' nest for meetings—I would be lost.
Three years ago, my mom—who, too, is on a forever mission to make sure I can get from A to B without issue—gifted me a Smythson planner. I'd tried planners and agendas before, from Google Calendars to to-do lists as long as my arm, but nothing clicked (which is to say, I still wasn't sure where my insurance card was). But the Smythson Soho Agenda—it hit different. Maybe it was the gold-edged paper, or the soft blue pages that were oh-so-satisfying to write on. Maybe it was the slip pocket, or the Soho's size: small enough to take everywhere, big enough to write everything into. Maybe it was its royal warrant. Whatever it was, I was hooked.
Here's the thing about the right planner: Used correctly, it becomes an extension of yourself. I take mine everywhere and write down everything in it: tasks, appointments, reminders big and small. When I leave it behind and someone tells me something I'd like to remember, I email notes to myself to write in it later. I've been known to flee meetings so I can grab my Soho; I've also been known to completely forget things—dinners! drinks! entire human beings!—if I don't check it constantly.
I get it, spending $300 on a planner feels excessive. After all, you can pick one up on Amazon for $10. But hear me out: Like all worthy investments, this is one that makes your life better. My brain feels less cluttered when I have my Smythson handy; I sleep better knowing that I have everything I need to remember written down. Yes, you can do that with any planner, but when you want to take a planner everywhere with you—when you feel a dim sense of peace every time you look at its gilded pages and pebbled leather, or scratch a line from your to-do list—it changes things. I've been working on a few big things this year—writing my first novel, Everyone Who Can Forgive Me Is Dead; planning my first (and let's hope, last) wedding; gearing up for an international move—and while I'd like to be able to say it's the love of my friends and family that has gotten me through, that's only partly true. Mostly, it's my Smythson.
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Jenny is the Digital Director at Marie Claire. Originally from London, she moved to New York in 2012 to attend the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and never left. Prior to Marie Claire, she spent five years at Bustle building out its news and politics coverage. She loves, in order: her dog, goldfish crackers, and arguing about why umbrellas are fundamentally useless. Her first novel, EVERYONE WHO CAN FORGIVE ME IS DEAD, will be published by Minotaur Books on February 6, 2024.
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