This past week I was without a planner – I was waiting for my new one in the mail.
My life fell apart. I forgot errands, forgot supplies for activities, I might have even forgotten deodorant a couple of days and I’m gonna blame that on my planner.
Then I was chatting with my neighbour about staying organized and how important it is to just take a minute and plan out your day. And then it hit me that I have been a hot mess because I haven’t been planning out my days each morning,
Now that I have my new bullet journal I’m ready to get back to it. Since it has been a while since I talked about Bullet Journalling, I thought I would share with you the approaches that have worked for me in planning out my day as a mom and WHY it has been a game-changer for me in motherhood.
HOW TO PLAN YOUR DAY
A disclaimer on planning your day
Planning your day isn’t about making a rigid routine and filling in all the spare moments. It also isn’t about beautiful bullet journal pages. It is about just taking a moment for yourself and setting out some form of direction.
As you read this, please keep in mind the season of life you are in. As moms, we can read all these tips and tricks on ‘doing more’ and ‘getting things done’ and it can feel like we need to ramp up and keep pace. Don’t go rushing in the race just yet.
The truth is there is no keeping pace with others. There is setting a pace for yourself that is in line with what you want your life to look like and what brings peace to you, your family and your home.
Sure, maybe you DO need a kick in the butt to get up and get out of the house and DO the things you want to do ‘one day’. I know I do! But maybe you have small kids and babies and you need to take this all in for where you are at today. What I am trying to say is, make sure to honour the season you are in and don’t feel pressured to keep up this unrealistic pace of doing all the things every day.
STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TO PLAN YOUR DAY:
1. BRAINDUMP THE OVERWHELM
I started bullet journalling a couple years ago and it has been a real big turning point for me in getting my ish together
Before I started planning out my week/day I felt really overwhelmed. I had papers everywhere with notes, email reminders in my phone, scribbles on the fridge calendar. I felt like there was so much in my brain that I had this low level of panic I was operating on each day.
What helped me with this overwhelm was a brain dump.
A brain dump is writing down everything in your brain. I have found it helpful to do giant brain dumps with lots of categories (home projects, things I want to do, errands I need to run, etc.) and then I also do a weekly brain dump. I often split my paper into about three columns depending on what is happening (eg: to do, blogging, day job) and write out everything that was in my head that needed to be done for that area of life.
Just this process alone gives you a lot of mental clarity because it removes the clutter and burden from your brain and gives it a home on paper.
I learned about the brain dump from a Ted Talk by David Allen (which has since been removed, but here is his website). In the talk, he encourages you to do this brain dump and then pick THREE items you will focus on. Man, it is freeing to look at the list and remind yourself you don’t have to do it all. Just choose what are the top priorities depending on urgency and your personal values. (And if you are the overachieving type, stick with three like the rest of us and see if life feels simpler and freer when you do this. )
2. SET A WEEKLY FOCUS
If you reflect on the vision you have for your year (maybe you did the Life on Purpose workbook or the year on purpose workbook), or did a monthly check-in (oh, what? there is a workbook for that too!) then you can ask yourself how you want to work towards it this week.
Each week I write out three focuses I want to have in my day to day. As I have shared before here, I write out ‘family’ ‘work’ and ‘me’. Then I put in a focus I want to have for each one. This week I wrote out:
Family: Valentines traditions – this is inline with our vision for adding in meaningful traditions to our family
Work: AGM – this is just something I need to make sure I have helped prepare for before I take a few days away
Me: Stretching – my body has been pretty sore lately and I know I feel better when I stretch. This is a simple way to take care of my health, which is something I am working on this year
I don’t do this every week, but when I do I notice a big difference. I can quickly glance at this list throughout the day and remember, oh yeah I should make the kids a valentine’s card, or get supplies for cupcakes or whatever.
HOT TIP! One way to make this part easier is to spend some time building a master list. If you look at the vision, goals, habits and projects you have for this year then think of mindsets or habits or tasks you can add into your week to help you with this.
3. DO A MORNING REVIEW
This is me sitting with my planner in the morning and looking over the day. I don’t call it the morning review, it is more like ‘standing at the counter, looking at my planner, while making another peanut butter toast and heating up the coffee’. Morning Review sounds better, and like I’m wearing pants and a bra while I do it.
So the Morning Review! is vital. It doesn’t have to take long and it helps you set the vision you have for the day.
It is a time to ask yourself questions like: What is your timetable like today? Where do people have to be and when and what do they need with them? Where do you fit in things like errands, or preparations for coming events? What is something you want to do with the kids today? What about the things you say you want to do like home projects or exercise or reading?
Before my kids started school and I had three small kids at home, this was my lifeline. I would plan out an outing we would do in the morn, lunch ideas, a craft or project for the afternoon and a dinner plan. This wasn’t Pinterest-perfect and it didn’t happen every single day but when it did I felt like I wasn’t just reacting to my day and scrambling to have fun with my kids. I felt more engaged and relaxed.
So, give things that are important to you a place in your day so you don’t end up spending an hour on the couch scrolling Facebook when you could have been reading the next book in the Outlander series or finally decluttering your empty jar collection in your kitchen cupboards (or keep them for like ever!)
Those are the three steps I use to plan out my day.
But I also want to bring your attention to WHY IT IS IMPORTANT – one word, one thing we are all looking for in our daily life:
BEING IN CONTROL
I can remember how it felt before I decided I want to ‘live life on purpose‘.
I felt constantly overwhelmed with this sense that there were all these things to do and I was in a constant state of failure because my house was a mess, rooms were full of clutter, I didn’t know what I would be doing tomorrow, and there was always a high likelihood that we would be having toast and eggs for dinner….again. I mean I did have toddlers so I probably needed a big dose of grace more than anything, but I found that there were small things I could do that would let me gain control without being controlling.
Let’s get serious for a minute. We all want to feel in control, but HOW we gain control is what makes the big difference.
When I don’t have a plan I feel flustered and anxious. I try to start things like projects and then get frustrated the kids need me when I should have just been sitting with them playing lego and asking about their day. I’m forgetting dance bags, I am missing out on the cupcake sale in town, I have no clue what we are doing for dinner, the house is a mess. Then I feel lazy and unproductive. I’m in a constant state of trying to gain control on my day. I become controlling (let’s say that again in a slow and menacing voice….’controllllllling’) nobody likes how I get when I am controlling. I don’t like how I get!
However, when I plan my day I am in control. ‘In control’ is relaxed, ready and a lot more fun.
Instead of feeling restless, I have a focus.
Instead of feeling anxious, I have plan.
I feel relaxed because I know there will be space for things in the scheme of the day or the week. (Sure, not ALL the things, but the most important things).
And oddly enough, my kids, especially my oldest, love to know the plan. When I can list off what we will do today, they give their two cents, and maybe if I’m feeling ‘As Fun As Dad’ I will say yes to slushies, and hot gluing popsicle sticks into swords, and going for walks. They are part of it, it is their plan too.
So, when I nag you all about planning your day, writing things down and setting a vision for your year, month, week and day it is because I want to empower you to BE IN CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE! Rather than constantly grasping for control.
I nag because I care (says every mom ever).
For more LIVE LIFE ON PURPOSE, go here.
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