I know I can’t be the only one who gets sweaty armpits and heart palpitations when people start asking them to commit to things. I’m not talking about relationships or even bank loans, but things like working a snack bar at your kids sporting event or making a dentist appointment or, God help me, trying to coordinate dates for a vacation with multiple people~there’s always something to plan for, and it can leave one mumbling to themselves with crazy eyes and furrowed brow.
Or maybe that’s just me.
Maybe it’s because planning seems so adult-ish that I have resisted it for so long.
To me, planning means committing and apparently, I seem to have slight commitment issues.
I know that in some ways, saying that sounds ridiculous because I’m a woman who has committed to some really big things over the years…. ideas, people, situations. And I stuck to them through all kinds of thick and thin. As a single mom, I just bought a friggen house on my own for goodness sake.
But, planning stuff, and then putting it on a calendar is a newish concept for me, and it’s definitely taking some getting used to.
For some reason, agreeing to be at a certain place at a certain time a month from now is really stressful, and at times, it physically causes me to wear a deer in headlights look with the addition of flared nostrils. I know I look like a madwoman, and I feel like one too, but I can't help it.
I think the subconscious logic is something like this~ saying yes to one thing will likely mean saying no to something else because you are no longer free at that time. And for me, the idea of the loss of freedom is more than a little scary.
It’s mildly terrifying when you think about the fact that there’s always one more thing being asked of you, and these everyday things can easily fill up the days of your calendar and eventually…. your life.
I've met parents who work outside of the home a full day and then spend all of every evening driving to kid activities and grabbing drive through food 5 nights a week. They have no time at home as a family to play with all of the things they worked to buy, let alone to develop any interests they have of their own. All of their waking hours are dictated by outside sources. I can't help but wonder what happened to their dreams and interests? And it makes me sad.
No wonder teenagers think adults are boring.
Of course I want to help other people and be involved in my community, but not like that...I want to be the captain of my ship.
If you don't consciously plan your time, what happens to the things you actually want to do with it?
Whether big dreams to travel the world or write a book, or little things you want, like to go to yoga, or color and play board games with your kids, or have tea with your friends... when the days get filled, they slip by and those things you wanted...they never happen.
Somewhat ironically, it seems the best hope of making the things I want to happen actually happen lies in the very thing I’ve been avoiding...planning.
, I ventured into the world of planning inspired by Jennifer Lee, a smart and creative lady who has the habit of covering entire walls with calendars and sticky notes. For the last couple of years, I’ve printed out colorful monthly calendars from Leonie Dawson and spread them out on a wall so you can see all 12 months at once.
It’s a big chunk of wall space, and kind of looks like a rainbow colored command central, but it’s really helpful to be able to visually see the grand scheme of things for the whole year in one gander, no page turning necessary.
Aside from the rainbow joy of this, the method of having the whole shebang visual at once has helped me figure out all sorts of things.
I can see when it makes sense to get away or to stay home. I love travel and adventures, but I also need to balance it with time with my pets and working on my home and my garden, not to mention my relationships and my mind.
When I’m feeling overwhelmed with the work of life, and/or being a whiner and forgetting how good things actually are, I can also see all the fun things I’ve done lately, and that helps me shut my piehole a little sooner, which my family probably appreciates.
Also, a HUGE bonus is the ability to backtrack easily. Say you have a big goal that’s going to take some work to get to~ maybe you want to finish a book or painting, to teach a new class or climb a mountain or to be able to order dinner in Spanish on your vacation to Mexico...whatever.
It’s great if that goal goes on the calendar with a date~ but it probably isn’t going to just get done by that time unless you backtrack and do all the little steps that need to happen ahead of time.
Seeing the whole year in one shot makes it easier to go backwards and figure out what you need to begin when, and to keep you on track (or help you catch up or readjust when you fall behind.)
Unfortunately, I’ve missed all kinds of things I wanted to do in life because I didn’t count back and start when I needed to. Just in the last couple of years, I wanted to lead a young writer’s workshop for National Novel Writing Month, enter a painting in a juried show, submit an essay to a national contest~ and I blew it on all of them because I didn’t start when I needed to.
I know I’m not alone in that.
So, I'm learning~ even though I’m more of a timey wimey kind of gal who is rather challenged when it comes to it punctuality and scheduling, planning really is what makes stuff happen.
It’s the only way I can show up for all the miscellaneous things that are a part of parenting and life, AND not lose out on the things my heart and soul really wants.
There were a few months last year, in the midst of moving and temporary tiny cottage life, when I had no wall space to have my command central, and I missed it indeed.
This year, in addition to more backtracking, I also added a new piece to my planning regime with an actual paper planner (also from Leonnie) I’m only a few weeks into the new year, but I’m liking the weekly view spread and the spaces for to-do lists and scheming of all kinds. Plus rainbow colors. Those help.
I added tabs for the months, and am working on a ribbon page marker to make it even easier to see where I’m at. It’s early in the year, but so far, so good. I’ve been carrying it with me a lot and getting compliments and questions galore when I pull it out.
I figure if I have to get adult-ish and plan, I might as well make it colorful and fun.
This year, I'm planning for family camping trips and adventures before my oldest takes her next flight from the nest, art nights with my Lady Friends and journeys with my partner... I have writing and creative goals, and lots of stuff to make and do... I have skills to learn and things I want to share... Gardens and fruit trees to plant, walls and canvasses to paint, a bathroom to remodel...a great big world to see... So much to do, and only so much time.
It's a good thing I'm learning to plan.
I'd love to hear how you've made planning work for you. Please share in the comments below!
Who is Zesty Mom?
I'm an Artist, Writer, Funschooling Facilitator, Empowered Living Advocate, Wanna-be Organic Gardening Foodie, Travel Loving Life Explorer, Former Goat Herding Chicken Lady, and Full Time Mamacita Extraordinaire to a Couple of Cage Free Kids.
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