Friday, June 02, 2017

Peaceful Perspective Planner (For the non-planning type)

I start to feel panic rising when considering the idea of planners.  I don't like reading blog posts about them either!  However, I know that having a calendar of some sort (even if I'm mostly writing what we DID rather than what is coming next) it does help me feel calm about what we are doing being enough.  I have tried so many planners though and none have been the right fit for my personality.

This is the front of the planner after I added some color!  You could color or doodle in this planner or just use it as it is.  Or you can get ideas from this and make your own pages!  I love visual journals and the idea of bullet journals and I've looked into the "happy planner" and other things, but I wanted something that was a bit more manageable and not expensive and something that would SAVE me time rather than give me more to do.
These pages are the "weekly" pages and I went ahead and printed out 5 of them even though I will probably only keep one at a time in my planner.  Too many pages can be stressful to me so having just a few pages to look at is much better.
For more pictures and a video about how to put it all together (and the link to the free printable of course!) click the "read more" below.
To do lists also stress me out.  Basically I write them and then do nothing that I actually wrote down.  The idea of the stick figure and thought bubbles (or balloons) is that it doesn't feel like a dry to do list that needs to happen today.  I can flip back to this page and add more (like a brain dump) and as I do things I can color in the shapes.  It feels more like a to-do list for a week or month without the same time pressure that a dry list does for me.  
Most of these pages are showing how you can add some more color and such onto the basic pages.  *Click on this link to print out the basic pages* I printed them double sided and folded each page in half to build this planner.  The idea is that it's super easy to pull out or add specific pages, and it has the freedom to it like a bullet planner, but it doesn't take long to set up!  For instance, it took me about 4 hours to draw the (really basic) pages for this!  Which is a really long time if you have to do that often.  As it is, I can print out the specific pages that I use a lot and need more of!  I'd suggest printing all the pages in the link (double sided) and just see which ones you use and like and then you can modify how you print them to fit your own style and needs.
You wouldn't have to print these double sided, but I thought that since I was at it I might as well use all the parts to the pages!
Under each week I have a space to write a "focus of the week"... you could use this to write a Bible verse reference that you want to memorize that week, or a special outing that you want to fit in, or even an inspirational quote.  The idea is to get some perspective.  The dishes and laundry and minutia of living and homeschooling makes it hard for me to have a slightly longer perspective.  I need to see what we just recently did as well as what we can do soon in the future.  THAT way, when we happen to have a read aloud time for FOUR hours (which has happened!) and don't get to math that day I can keep track of it and not feel terrible for not doing math that day (because we had done extra the day before or could easily do more tomorrow!)  Hello, perspective AND peace.  :)
My husband wondered at my desire to fill in the numbers to the calendar.  There are a few reasons for this.  One, if I have pre-made calendar pages and then don't use an entire month I will feel guilty that I wasted that (which has totally happened with planners I've bought and tried to use.) Also, I'm more likely NOT to use it if it's already all filled in.

There's something about the act of writing in all the numbers and considering the month and appointments and such that I need to physically do to engage my brain and memory.  I needed a balance between how much to create myself and how much can already be done.  I don't need to write down all the lines for the month, which just takes time, but doesn't help.  Writing the numbers though DO help me.

Here's a quick flip through to show how it looks all set up without anything added.

Now, I know you can find calendar pages like this and you totally can steal my idea and print different calendar pages!  I wanted to hand draw them though because computer generated calendars also stress me out.  There is something about the lines being too perfect that gets me nervous.  I need just a little mess on the page to feel like it's okay to be real and my imperfect self!
Sticky notes are the best!  The one above is the beginning of my grocery list, but you can use sticky notes anywhere for anything! For some to-do items or something else you don't want to forget that can be moved from page to page as needed so it's always near by.
Above is the page of the week.  I partly use this to plan ahead and I've partly used this to jot down what we just did that day.  Weirdly, by the end of the day I can't totally remember everything we did and writing some of it down has helped me realize that we in fact ARE doing a lot.  Especially if I write the times things take.  I was surprised to realize how long it took me to do dishes and prepare a meal and the baking for the next few days.  No guilt. Value what you are doing now.  Be who you are where you are.
Having a page of reflections can be great!  It can be used for small tweaks, or ideas to change or add to the day or school time.  The one above was mostly just a narrative describing all we'd done on Tuesday.  Which was really helpful because the next day we didn't do quite as much and knowing the ridiculous amount we did the day before let me forgive myself for needing to have a lighter day.  ;)
This page can be used for anything.  I decided to use it for a 6 week plan.  So the picture before the one above shows the front and a general idea of what I want the girls to be doing in school for the next 6 weeks.  I will make small adjustments as we go, but NO BIG CHANGES till the 6 weeks are up.  I am too likely to add in another subject or book or routine when we just need to focus for a while on what we have and finish those things first.  The back of this page (the left side below) is some celebration ideas for when the six weeks are up!  Yes, we are going to work hard and then celebrate!  We don't usually take the summer off, so putting a regular break time in with reflection is really important to our process.

The right side of this page COULD be used for anything really, but I designed it to be used for Loop Scheduling.  There are many blog posts and such about how to create a looping type list, but *this one* at "amongst lovely things" is a good place to start.  You could just have a list of things (that don't need to be done every day, but at least once a week) and move a paper clip down the list and then back up as you move through it.
For this page I have it in an actual loop pattern around the page (follow the arrow in the spiral at the middle) and you could put house work things or other weekly chores.  OR you could have school subjects that you want to get to in a week, but you also want to allow for following rabbit trails and taking as long (or short) per subject as you need.

Another page (above) for a brain dump or to-do list.  Add more thought bubbles as you need to.  You can use the rainbow for journaling lines or to color.  Also, add an expression (if you want) to the stick figure!
Random journaling or coloring pages above.
The page above is an idea I had for creating a routine for my kids.  Remember back in the day when something came on tv at a certain time and that was it?  For instance, I remember Star Trek coming on at 4:00 and the 15 minutes leading up to 4:00 was full of rushing around and cleaning up the living room!  Such a great incentive!  At other times there would be a radio program on at a certain time that was a great incentive and point in the day.  As homeschoolers we don't need to schedule times to do everything (and if you try you might go nuts!) but having some times scheduled and planned for like a meal time or a babies nap or even scheduling a show that is on netflix, and could be watched any time, can be a great way to create a routine and points to look forward to during the day.
I quickly filled this out so you could see the general idea of how it could be used.

ALSO, this can be a great incentive to kids to learn how to read analog and digital clocks!  If they know that school happens until a certain time and then they get to play minecraft for an hour, hello - Motivation!
Another example of a loop schedule set up (you wouldn't need to use all the boxes) or you could use it as another brain dump page or journal page.
Above are some filler pages that could be used or not as people wish, and below is another design for a loop schedule.  The different styles could be used for different topics depending on what you need.  Or choose your favorite and go with that.  The one below can be easily added to as well for more things in the looping.
My plan for this is to start using it and just see what pages work.  Sometimes I'll write what we did in a day so I can start to see a pattern (so that I can tweak it where it needs!) and sometimes I can plan ahead.
The idea I had with these smaller "time routine" type pages are so that you could either keep track of the different routines of specific days, or for different children, OR you could even write these out for a kid and they could use it like a book mark (or you could use it like a book mark) - The larger one could even be hung on a wall rather than being in the planner.
My main goal with this planner is to make a habit of looking back a bit and looking forward a bit.  I've discovered that for my personality I really need to have a way to see some perspective and the bigger picture (but not TOO big or that would stress me out!)  Ug, so complicated!  ;)

Obviously, you can use any art supplies or just black pens for this, but some of my favorites are above.  The two sided pencils are fun because it takes up less space and I put a hair band around them to keep them easily portable.  The multi pen is SO fun to use!  Or of course you can get a set of tiny gel pens and that's easily portable as well.

Hope this planner is helpful for other people (and not just me!)

If you want to read some posts and watch some videos that led up to this post and helped inspire this planner you can click on the links below!

Planners still make me nervous, but I am learning to sit with the complexity.  It's okay to write something down and then have to change it!  The point is that I am trying.  We can never reach perfection (the perfect routine? No.) But we can travel well on the journey, and figure out what kinds of tools can help us.

*Short video about valuing motherhood*

*Three minute morning plan*

*Planning is just guessing blog post*

*Four Reasons to Slow Down*

*Short FUNNY Video for moms - you are normal*

*Choosing the right to do list for your mbti personality type* 

*How to prioritize Video- important over urgent*

*Morning Routine for each MBTI personality type*

*How to put people first- A better type of check list video*

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