I got a planner. Again. This time they had free printables on their site so you could test it out – just like the 50 some odd other ones I’ve downloaded and tried.
But now something stuck.
So I took myself to my local print shop, got my Passion Planner (dated, weekly Sunday start) zip file printed off and bound with a cover, and while I waited, went over to Michael’s and bought way too many stickers and washi tape rolls.
I’ve been fairly consistent in using my planner, and my handy coil notebook that was my usual spot of too many to-do lists has become more like a bullet journal, but just the collections and general brain dumps.
Notebook = random crap, stuff for later
Planner = organized week. Plus pretty stickers.
Does it help me get things done? Sometimes, mostly. At the very least, when I keep track of the things I did get done, it helps me to see that my “lazy” days had plenty of things done – just not necessarily the things I intended.
I like this planner because it has weekly wrap ups and places to track the good things that happened. there’s also a monthly review. This has been super. A weekly overview is good for me, and I’ve placed a sticker or washi tape bit to help make some things more visible. Highlighters on meal times naturally divide my day so I can transition to each chunk.
Like over the last week, I knew I had plenty of quilt drop offs from customers, and in my head I thought to myself 4? Maybe 6?
I went through each bag and my notes – with the date of drop off on most of them – and after making a thorough list, I also put a star sticker on each day of that week when I had a drop off. Like a nice starry scatter graph there it was – eight in total. Okay then. No wonder it felt like a lot – it WAS!
I cover up some of the time slots because I don’t have a lot of things that have to be done at certain times, but this planner has space under those for general lists. So I know what I have to do this week in total, but don’t feel like I’m stuck doing any one thing at a specific time or day. Each day has a box at the top for that day’s focus, and since I’ve been a shop owner on my own for over a year now, I have some established routines. Monday is admin day, Friday is newsletter day and usually lots of customers. I can juggle the middle days with quilting or whatever. Thursdays I now label with catch up so I can stop and regroup before the weekend.
Because I’m up early, I’m in bed early, so I tape over the time slots past 7 or 8pm and use them for other things. Right now the weather and how many customers stopped in. Bad weather is usually no customers – which is fine because I can also look up thru the day and see how busy I kept myself.
It’s also really helpful for me to gauge how much I can or cannot do. I remember before Christmas I was talking to a friend in text chat, and sent her my list of things I wanted to do over the two week break I gave myself over Christmas. “Sweetie,” she typed, “this is two MONTHS of work!”
Breaking things down to fit in my planner was eye opening, because the first thing I noticed with one I tried last year was there wasn’t enough room for all I wanted to do. Well, duh, because it was too much.
I also realized I try to plan things as if I’m having a really good energetic day where I accomplish a staggering amount, and not plan it to the bare minimum. Which, to be fair, is still good. So plan for an average day, not the best ever.
It’s also helping for prioritizing. I tend to work on things that are URGENT and need to be done RIGHT NOW so I’m learning ways to make deadlines that involved other people so I can make progress on longer term things. If I make a deadline just for me, I’ll blow right past it. If I’m checking in with someone once a week and have to tell them two weeks in a row there’s no progress on a specific project…. that’s harder.
So Sundays are now planning days, along with rest and relax, there’s now reflection – on the past week, on how I’m progressing, however slowly. As long as there’s a step forward it’s still ahead, right? It was hard to get out of the tech mindset and the constant grind and hustle and GO GO GO with the endless stream of questions and content and things to see and share. I feel like I had to destress from job burnout, like deschooling kids do with they start homeschooling.
Now I stop and ask: does it align with my overall shop goals? Is it really helping? Is this stressful or will it be? I’m learning how to guard my yes.
Anyway. An accurate weekly overview is helping me overall. I can see at a glance what’s working, what’s not and can adjust accordingly, without feeling tied to a schedule.
I’m a work in progress.