2022 has started off on a challenging note for me in terms of pandemic childcare issues. As I pulled up to drop off my daughter the first day of school, we learned the school had to unexpectedly close for the day due to a staff shortage. She got to go back the next day, but the one after that my son’s daycare class closed for COVID exposure, and he is home for two weeks, not-so-nicely overlapping with the start of my semester. All of this, and we’re still a couple weeks out from the Omicron surge in my state.
Despite these challenges, I am enjoying one of my favorite parts of the New Year, setting up my new planners! While my basic system remains the same as last year, I’ve changed several of my tools, so I thought I’d give an update on that.
Big Picture Planning
To get an overview of the seasonal rhythms of the various areas of my life, I’m continuing to use my favorite circular calendar. This happens to be the way I see the year in my head anyway, so it’s nice to be able to plot out the year at a glance using it. I actually print out several of these, one for each area of my life and one that combines the major events from each into one.
I’m also using the Cultivate What Matters Powersheets again. I used this in 2021, and I think it’s gotten even better in 2022, incorporating more reflective prompts but more flexibility in breaking down goals, a combination that seems to work really well for me.
Finally, I’ve been enjoying the Organize 365 planningdays, which occur on quarterly/trimester schedules, and have associated planners for that quarter (work) or trimester (home). I don’t use these planners much on a monthly or weekly basis, but I liked having separate planners for each area for quarterly/semester level planning so I went ahead and bought a spiral bound Inkwell Press planner to use for my dance school (this one I do use at weekly level for lesson plans).
At the beginning of the year, I set up project boards in Notion, and copy in my project limits for each area of my life. I then flesh out what the actual cards are each semester, and just display the months of that semester on the board. I mirror the project board for each area in the Sunday Basket/Workbox products from Organize 365 and then as information comes in for each project, I put it in either the Notion Board (if it’s digital) or the box (if it’s physical). For me, physical and digital aren’t separate systems, just different mediums. I generally prefer to do my initial project planning on paper (hence all the planners above!) and then implement it digitally, so I’ll usually make notes or a draft on paper, and then transfer those to Notion to actually do the project.
Of course, there is a zero percent that my semester plan will turn out exactly as I imagine at the beginning, so I adjust on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis depending on what has actually happened. At the monthly level, I use the Powersheets for reflection and planning, and Notion to actually implement the projects, as well as repeating monthly tasks. At the weekly level, I use google calendar (matching my ideal and actual weeks), and mapping the projects I need to do on the time designated for that area of my life. At the daily level, I use a paper planner. For years, I’ve used the Inkwell Press Daily pages, but every time I went to reorder them for 2022, they were unavailable! So, I decided to try a new planner with a similar daily layout, the Amplify Planner. This planner is quarterly, and also has monthly and weekly pages. So far, I’ve been using the monthly pages to theme my weeks, the weekly pages for lists of tasks in the different areas of my life, and the dailies to make a daily plan, track what actually happened, and record habits and memories from the day.
Because my planners also serve a memory-keeping function for me, I keep them. Since this is a lot of books to keep, it’s possible that I’ll just rip out the pages I actually use and store them with a disc-bound system, but we’ll see! I don’t often look back on them, but it is fun sometimes to see what my days in particular were like in years past.