Since I started grad school back in October of 2018, balancing my work life, writing life, and personal commitments became a huge challenge. To all the moms out there doing this on a regular basis – sometimes on your own – I truly admire you. Truly.
At the beginning of 2019, I knew that I had to do something to reorganize my life in a way that I didn’t forget any of the obligations I had agreed to or any of the commitments that arose on a need-basis. When I was in undergrad, I never really needed a planner to organize my schedule as it was pretty uniform from week-to-week. As an adult, to call anything uniform would be a joke. I decided to go find a planner that would work for me.
Blessedly, I located one at TJ Maxx. My pretty little planner has a monthly calendar, and then weekly templates, that make writing in everything I have to get done easily. [I should put in that I’ve seen the amazing-ness that is bullet journaling – I don’t have the art skills or the patience to set up my own calendar.] The planner I have has a list on the left hand side and then sections labelled “Top priorities this week,” “doodle it out,” “small victories this week,” and “coming up next week” down the right side. That way, I can store anything in these slots that I need to work on.
I’m kind of living for the “Doodle it out” section because it’s a cute way to keep track of important life moments or the books I’m reading. It also gives me a creative outlet without being too much pressure.
I also love the “Small victories this week” because it reminds me to be grateful for whatever I accomplished that week or what blessings I’ve received. It helps me keep things in perspective – things are not always as bad as they seem.
At the back of the planner are several full spreads that include titles like: “notes & things,” “make a list,” “oh yeah, that,” “before I forget,” “Thoughts,” “Get it done,” and “Remember.” I use these for lengthy to-do lists that encompass a month, or even just a day. I also write down any ideas for stories that arise or things like grocery lists that I need to remember to pick up.
The final 50 or so pages are just a “Notes” section with lined pages. As a writer, I love this part because then, if I am out and about, and inspiration hits, I can jot down everything at the moment – and I don’t have to carry both my planner and a writing notebook with me in my purse (makes for lighter baggage.)
Already, I’ve noticed that I get so much more done in a timely manner, and I can keep track of habits I’m trying to create. I mark down with colored pens when I’ve spent time writing, when I exercise, how often I’m reading, how many days a week I spend on homework, etc.
This whole planner thing that I thought I’d left behind me in high school, has really come through to save me these past two months. So much so that I’ve started to add things to track and work on in my planner because it’s helped me through some rougher/busier times. It also is a way to hold myself accountable/honest about whether or not I’m spending enough time writing – or if I think I am, but I’m not really.