How exactly does planning work during a season of life that is so uncertain? As planners, we like to know and schedule everything ahead of time. It gives us a sense of organization, preparedness and dare we say, control. We strive for planner peace to find the “perfect” planner or “just the right” set up that keeps everything in our life organized and in place. However, it is important to remember that our planning should evolve and change with our needs especially as our life changes and flows through different seasons.
During this time of uncertainty, so many of us may be struggling with schedules that have changed and shifted. For some, life has completely slowed down while others may have complete overwhelm with new responsibilities. Either way, continuing to plan is very important way to help you stay motivated, feel productive and relieve stress.
Here are a few helpful tips:
BEAT THE OVERWHELM
As planners, we rely on our systems and tools to stay organized and get things done. Give yourself a little grace right now as we transition into new routines. If you find your schedule is completely full during this time it would be best to continue using your planner everyday to keep track of it all.
◾️Try block scheduling by blocking out times of day that are dedicated to specific tasks or areas of life. If you are juggling more of a work load either from your job (like daily zoom calls and meetings) or home life (like home schooling kids and never-ending laundry) this is a great way to visualize your day and break it down into manageable chunks of time.
◾️Consider supplementing your current planner with some helpful tools like meal planners, lesson planners, notebooks and journals. This may help you organize your thoughts before putting things down in your regular planner.
◾️Don’t over schedule and put pressure on yourself to tackle it all just because you are home right now. Create a bucket list of things you would like to accomplish and tuck it into your planner. Each time you find a spot that you want to fill with something, pull one item from the list and work on it until complete. Trying to tackle everything at once will get too overwhelming so take a few minutes to do a brain dump and get all the thoughts out of your head and on paper.
◾️Leave room for self-care because you can burn out just as easily at home as you can on the go. Taking care of all the things and all the people can be totally draining. Set time aside for yourself and do something that makes you feel relaxed and brings you joy. It’s important to stay positive because it will help with your stress levels and make things better for all.
A SLOW AND STEADY PACE
With so much of life getting canceled, planning may not seem necessary but, the exact opposite is true. Planning gives us purpose and keeps us productive. Now is the time to use your love of planning to embrace new styles and try new things you may not have had time for during the regular grind. Keeping up with a slow but steady pace in your days will help you during a time of unknown.
◾️Get creative and think of your planner as a blank canvas. Your days may not be filled with appointments and errands right now so tap into your inner creative side and try something new on your planner pages. You may enjoy something like water coloring, practicing your hand lettering or making your own stickers, dividers and dashboards. Take advantage of online resources being offered (many are available at discounted prices) to learn something new or download printables to try out.
◾️Set up a new planning style. It is very possible that your current planning system may not be appropriate for quarantine life. Don’t stress out about it or give up on planning all together. Try embracing a new style or system during this time like a bullet journal or gratitude journal. If you are a big picture planner with monthly and weekly views, it may be helpful to switch to a daily planner or notebook to focus on one day at time.
◾️Documenting your days is so important. We are in a very unique time so documenting your days and memory keeping is a great way to process your feelings. It can be as simple as a thought per day (with or without pictures) to an elaborate scrapbook of what your life looks like right now. Staying consistent and focusing on something other than the news will help ease stress and benefit your overall mental wellness.
◾️Connect and support our community. Now that life has slowed down, it is great time to connect and support each other. Finding inspiration from fellow planner friends is a great way to stay motivated. Our community is filled with so many amazing people and inspiration. Take some time to read and share a blog, follow a new planner on IG, support a creator and become a patron, subscribe to a YouTube channel, join a Facebook group or participate in one of the many virtual planner meet ups. This will be a great way to show your support and keep you connected while social distancing.
We got this!