If you know me, you know I love to keep things organized best I can. The Monk Manual has become one of my favorite organizational tools. It has greatly reduced my stress and anxiety. This book is not just a planner, but a helper in trying to get us to live a balanced life between being and doing.
Below is my experience of why and how I started using the Monk Manual, and a little overview of why and how you could start using it too.
Why I Started Using the Monk Manual
I had the pleasure of being gifted my Monk Manual by our founder Lisa, which she gave to all of the team for us to do together. I didn’t realize that it was suggested for people to start using the Monk Manual with others, and realized it makes it easier to get in the habit of something new when you’re doing it with someone else to hold each other accountable.
I was so excited to start using this tool just because of my love for organization and planning. I had no idea what was in store, and was very confused at first when flipping through the pages of a monthly, weekly and daily planner. Even though I had no idea what this was all about, I started it with complete optimism and openness to the process.
How I Started Using the Monk Manual
We started this journey together nine months ago with the 30-day challenge on the Monk Manual website. Through this challenge, we not only learned how to use the Monk Manual as a tool, but better understood the need for balance in our lives. While parts of this book look like a normal planner, other parts of it can look abnormal and kind of daunting. This tool calls for a lot of self-reflection and honesty, two things that were hard for me to do when starting this journey.
I started a Monk Manual group chat with my team and put myself as the ringleader, pasting the video link each day during our 30-day challenge. I took that on myself knowing it would better hold me accountable in keeping track and watching the helpful videos. At first, I used this as a planner, I was not getting deep into it and was doing the surface level requirements. I had never used an hourly schedule in my life, and did not use it for the first month. It wasn’t until one of the last videos about using the hourly schedule and how to best use it was when I fell in love with this feature the most.
Why to Start Using the Monk Manual
I didn’t know that having a balance between being and doing would be the key in leading a meaningful life. I realized I am a person who was always caught up in the doing, and lacked the being. I feel I was conditioned by this world to be in a constant state of doing and that when I stopped for a moment or didn’t think into the future I was being lazy and unproductive. But that is simply not true, as we can only truly be in the present. As in everything in life, we need a balance of being able to be present and enjoy the moment while also being organized and not losing our self in the moment.
How to Start Using the Monk Manual
Reading about the Monk Manual and how to use it seems very simple, but actually putting it into practice is hard. This tool challenges us to keep track of our monthly, weekly and daily progress.
You start off each month making your priority list of five items, your habit and your theme for the month. You pick one change you want to make in the next month that will make the biggest impact in your life and write one question you’d like to answer this month. When the month is over, you reflect on your biggest accomplishments, relationships you’re grateful for, and the greatest insight gained that month.
Each week also starts with setting your top three priorities to accomplish that week. You can work off of a to do list as well. You also input ways you’d want to personally grow, grow in your relationships, and mark down things you are looking forward to. Once the week is over you reflect on your biggest accomplishments, habit insights, the meaningful moments you had, ways God is teaching you, and one way you can improve the following week.
You prepare your day by setting your top three priorities for the day, mark down your to do list, and put in your habit and theme for the day. You also write down what you’re grateful for, something you’re looking forward to, and ways you can give. There is also an hourly schedule to input your day as you please. At the end of the day you can reflect on your highlights of the day, when you were at your best, when you felt unrest, and one way you can improve the next day.
Looking at all of this may seem like a very rigid and demanding tool. Reflecting on the ways of the monks, who lived each day with a balance of being and doing, this tool emulates that while also practically incorporating it in our busy daily lives.
Thanks to the 30-day challenge the Monk Manual provided, I was able to better use my Monk Manual. By doing this with other people I was not only able to have someone to hold me accountable, but was able to see the different ways my teammates used this tool to their benefit. We were able to learn from each other and show each other the ways this tool can benefit are many different lives.
Let me know how this tool helps you if you choose to use it! I am only scratching the surface of what this tool is about, look on the website here for more info. These are also simply my insights about using the Monk Manual, and how it worked best for me. Adopt your own rhythm for using it, as we are all different and have different needs. I cannot wait to hear from you!