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The Art of Planning

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I am in love.

This tiny, simple, minimalistic yet comprehensive planner is making the process of scheduling, planning and looking ahead such a pleasure.

You would think I spent hours assessing my needs and comparing all of the planners in the world before choosing this perfect one, but all I did was see a beautiful display in Target. I was night shopping with my daughter and her friend. (Did you know this is a thing? Its wonderful. Calm, no lines, I am a fan.) Anyway, I flipped through about three versions and quickly chose this Cambridge Edition No. twenty seventeen.

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Last year I wanted a big planner with plenty of space to brainstorm, take notes, journal and reflect.

The Passion Planner was ideal for 2016. But this year, I wanted the physical space where I kept my schedule to be as realistic and manageable as possible. I wanted it to be able to fit into my smaller purse so that I could always have it with me and I wanted to have a concrete experience of how much time I actually have to plan. When I have planners where there is one page available per day the lists I can make and the expectations I can set seem endless.

And believe it or not, I am finite. I run out of room, time, energy and money.

This planner gets me.

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Let’s start with the monthly page.

Before the January tab there is a page laid out for November and December of 2016. Which means, I get to start using this planner NOW. And it’s perfect.

Instead of looking at the holidays as individual days that I get/have to do this or that, I will only be planning in the context of the entire month. THIS is my new secret weapon for enjoying Thanksgiving and Christmas. Maybe this is obvious to other people but I have a terrible habit of planning because we have an available day instead of understanding how each of those individual plans fits into our bigger picture. One of the reasons the holidays are hard for me because I love being with people and I need a lot of downtime. Once Thanksgiving hits it is possible for me to not have a minute to myself until the kids go back to school in January.

Last year, gratitude was my strategy for survival and it was immensely helpful. My focus shifted from focusing on materialism and gluttony to the kindness, generosity and community that was all around me. This Grinch’s heart got bigger and I was able to see and celebrate and enjoy the glad tidings but I didn’t yet understand that the constant stimulation of holiday wears me down to an ugly nub regardless of my perspective.

The first gift of Christmas 🎄 is this calendar giving me one page per month. This is the gift that keeps on giving because this idea has challenged me to change the way I schedule the rest of my year. Here is the idea: I will attempt to schedule/plan on my monthly calendars. I am going to experiment with not filling out my weekly calendar pages until I get to that week. The monthly pages will represent my plan, a look at the big picture, context of commitment as well as the ability I have to choose how to spend my time. (A woman charts her course…)

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Each week I will turn to these fresh, clean, un-scribbled and un-scratched out pages and fill them in with the true happens of the week (…and God directs her path). These pages don’t start for me until the day after Christmas which matches our schedule perfectly.

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For the whole year, we have 2017 on two pages. This is for the big stuff: birthdays, graduations, vacations, business trips and crazy things like my kid’s first day of college. I have never used a page like this before, I am a take it a week at a time girl so this is going to stretch me.

It’s an amazing thing to get to know yourself and come to terms with your reality. My appreciation of systems has often overshadowed my actual ability to fit inside of them. It feels really good to chose a system based on how I think, how I best function and choose my plan knowing how and where I need the most support.

What have you learned about yourself that affects the way you plan?

Do you use a planner?

A calendar?

What drives your day? A schedule? A list? A plan? Whatever comes up?