Planning and Scheduling – An Intro

If there is one thing I’ve learned in my few years of being an adult, it’s that I function better if I have a plan and a schedule. Now, this may not work for everyone, but let me explain.

My weeks during the school year have a set schedule. Work Monday through Friday, plasma twice a week, dance on Wednesday, Stitch ‘n Bitch with the girls on Thursday. Everything else is fluid. Well, actually, plasma and S&B are fluid as well. But when I’m looking at my schedule to see where I can fit in a therapy appointment, I know what days not to mess with. NOTHING happens on Wednesdays. At least this year. Next year, we’ll see. Even if I’m not at the studio watching my son, that night is locked in solid. Unless it is Christmas or Spring Break. Weekends in the spring – don’t plan for anything until the competition schedule comes out.

Once I have my set schedule, I can manage other things around it. Mom wants to garden on Saturday and needs my help. No problem. Laundry can be done on Sunday. Therapy needs to change to Fridays – not an issue. Grocery shopping can be done after.

I’m fluid as long as I have a plan. Which is why I get upset when I ask for information about something, say Nationals practice for my son and nothing comes out until recital weekend. Um…..I need to plan and shift things around.

Same thing with my day job. I am pretty much fluid all day, but I like to take my breaks at a certain time to break up the day and I like to eat lunch early. That’s just the way I am. Okay, we have a meeting during my lunch break – that’s fine as long as I know about it before I go to lunch. Last minute meetings are so stressful, because I usually have to take my anxiety medication an hour before the meeting to make sure it kicks in and I’m relaxed.

So how do I keep my schedule straight day in and day out so that I can find those little bits of time to squeeze in a quick meeting? Right now, it’s two-fold. My son and I share a Google calendar. We both put any appointments on the calendar so the other knows where we are. Also so that Josh can plan a homework schedule for himself. And he hates last minute meetings/dance practices as much as I do.

I also have my planner that I designed and built myself. I say “built” because I Frankensteined a planner binder to make it work for me. I took a 6 ring binder, took out the rings and elastic’d in a set of Happy Planner discs. This way I can “snap” in pages or remove pages without opening rings. And the rings were too small. I designed my daily pages to keep track what’s important to me.

But planners don’t work unless you use them faithfully and review them. I review each day the night before, and plan accordingly. I make sure my breakfast and lunch are pre-made for the next work day. If I have dance, I make sure I have a knitting or crocheting project in my purse. Same if I have an appointments. Sundays, I sit down with my planner and look over the next week. Reviewing for the next day is a habit I had to learn. Planning around events is another habit I had to learn, and one I’m still learning. It isn’t easy – I’m a procrastinator by nature.

For a lot of people, the calendar on their phone is enough to keep them organized. Me, not so much. I need to write things down or I forget them. And I need a dedicated space to write them down or else my world is full of post-it notes. Hence – a planner that goes with me everywhere. And I mean, everywhere. There are very few places I don’t take it.

If a calendar on your phone works for you – great! Use it. Review it. Plan your days/weeks/months with it. Spend quality time with it and learn all the ins and outs to make it work the best for you. Watch YouTube videos.

Years ago, young professionals were glued to their Blackberries and Palm Pilots. “If I lose this, I wouldn’t know what to do next.” Nowadays, it’s iPhones and smart phones. Yes, I’d probably lose my mind a little if I lost my phone. I love it. It has all my phone numbers. I could use it better but my main planning tool is my tactile planner.

Whatever you want to use for your calendar/scheduler/personal digital assistant – use it faithfully. Learn to use it to the best of your ability. I’m going to be spending a lot of time talking about how to use your chosen planner efficiently. It may not feel like it in the beginning, but practice makes efficient. I won’t claim it makes perfect, because I forget every once in a blue moon to write something down. That, and I’m far from perfect.

Homework assignment (yes, you get one) – choose a planner system. Smart phone, bullet journal, pre-made planner, whatever. You don’t have to stick with it forever. You may find something else works better down the road. Heck, technology is always changing.  If you’d like me to create a custom daily planner just for you (because I can), go to the upper right corner of this page and click on Shop. That will take you to my Etsy page where you can shop for all sorts of planner pages. Use coupon code ROY2018 to receive 25% off your order.

Comment below with what you’re using as your planner.

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