3 Things you need to know to make use of your planner now
If there is one thing lockdown has taught us is that there is not much point in planning ahead and that there are absolutely no rules for how to structure your daily life.
There are people who still get up early because of their job because they want to get work done before the kids wake up and demand all the attention, or because they want to exercise. And there are those who wake up past lunchtime and work as they juggle their family commitments and homeschooling their children.
There is the kind of people who dress up and put makeup on every day, so they can feel a sense of normality. And there are those who wear their PJ’s night and day and can care less about their appearance.
The truth is, there is no right or wrong. There are no rules. Everyone is trying the best they can to survive a new reality that, most of us, are already exhausted to live in on repeat- kind of those horror movies that the main character relives the same day over and over again.
For us, planner addicts, who used to plan every moment of our days, all the events we were looking forward to and decorate our planners with passion and motivation, having the restrictions of not planning ahead or feeling tired of writing the same things, might be a reason to feel demotivated to grab our planners.
You might feel there is no use in writing on your planner anymore. You might even regret spending money on a new planner where you are not writing in it for the first three months of the year.
I want you to know that all your feelings are valid. There is no right or wrong way to feel towards something that used to bring you enjoyment and motivation, and perhaps now, it brings you overwhelm and dread.
Below are three things you can try to make you feel better about falling off your planner addiction and use your new planner regardless of what is going on in the World:
1- Separate yourself- The first thing you can do is destash yourself from your planner. What I mean by this is that I understand how attached we are to our planners- we used to carry them everywhere, jazzing them up with beautiful dashboards and paper clips and all the stickers and washi. We couldn't imagine our routine without opening our planners, ticking all the things we managed to do every day, and then spare hours during the weekend to decorate and plan the following week. We felt so in love with this process, so at peace ( it was part of our self-care routine) and now that we don’t find the motivation to use it, we feel guilty.
And here it’s where lies the problem. Guilt is a deep limiting belief that makes you feel ashamed and not good enough. When you carry those feelings around you, it will pain you every time you look at your planner sitting at the top of your desk. You will feel regret, you will feel sadness. Guilt takes away the joy you once felt. So the way around it is for you to detach yourself emotionally from your planner and start seeing it as it is- a tool for self-growth, a tool to support your mind when you need to remember important dates.
2- Simplify- OK. We know how thorough you were with your planner, writing every exciting thing done when life was exhilarating and busy, and too fast-paced. But trying to mimic that when we have to stay at home and we don’t have anything special to look forward to and there is no difference between a weekday and the weekend, it will only bring you frustration- and with that, the overwhelm and dread feeling because you feel your planner is no longer working for you. So, the trick here is to simplify. Lower your expectations and focus on the things you can control. Look at your week and list 3 things that you want to get done or that are important- our important stuff shifted too these days, so don’t feel embarrassed to write time to binge-watch Netflix or do your laundry or go for a 30-minute walk. If that is your reality, just accept it as it is. You can then fill the blank spaces with stickers or washi tape.
In this blog post, I also give ideas on how to reclaim your planner mojo.
3- Be Creative- I know that creativity flows when we have the motivation and, with all honesty, there are days that we feel so flat we don’t have the mental capacity to deal with anything. I get you. The kind of creativity I am referring to is to look at your planner as a blank canvas. I know you used to have a structure of planning, and you used to be able to list a lot of things and that you used to have lots of sections in your planner, but, again, if you try to stick to what it used to work before, you will feel overwhelmed and frustrated.
So, why not be creative with those sections and create something you never had the chance to do before? For instance, if you don’t have to-dos to list in your weekly or daily layouts, you can record how your day or week was. You can record mementos from your family life, something your child achieved, something YOU achieved. These days putting on a jumper and having a bath are major achievements. Turn it into a journal where you can record these lockdown days and look back at them in years' time. You will be grateful you did it.
You can also use some of your sections to write about new discoveries about yourself. Maybe you are now realising you are more patient than you thought, or that you missed sitting at a coffee shop when before you took that for granted, or that you gain interest in a new subject or hobby. You can add pictures and turn it into a scrapbook, you can add mementos, such as a flower you picked up on one of your walks, you can doodle… The sky's the limit!
There is no right or wrong way of feeling at this moment ( or at any moment, for that matter). The important thing is to look after ourselves and our mental health and try not to put any more pressure on our shoulders. If the house doesn’t get tidy- well, no one is going to visit anytime soon anyway. If clothes don’t get ironed- we live in your jammies so, no biggie here. If you don’t use your planner as you used to or as you think you should do, now it’s the time to create a new trend and set free of the structure and control. Own your creativity and your emotions.
After all, sticking to a plan is so old news! Don't you agree?