Tuesday, May 19

On Planning During Quarantine ~ @AuthorKristina Knight

I think I've gone on a time or three about my love for planners and notebooks. I have at least 20 empty notebooks just waiting to be used and I salivate over the planner releases every spring/summer/fall from the different planner companies. For the past four years I've used a Happy Planner, but this year I decided to go a different route and I chose the Passion Planner. So far, I'm loving it.

One thing I really like about planners is that you can create them to reflect your personality (I adore floral sticks and motivational quotes), you can add pages to them for tracking different things, and you can write down special memories or events along with mundane day-to-day lists like "clean the oven". This week my mundane lists include several loads of laundry, dusting and sanitizing the house, and cleaning the carpets. We'll see how much of that gets done.

During quarantine/COVID-19, I've used my planner very much as an attitude adjuster and anxiety reducer. Both RadioMan and I have essential jobs (though mine is really part-time because I also write), so we've been working through quarantine. But there was bebe's school-at-home to get through, a cleaning/sanitizing routine to develop...and then there were all of the 'how do we ____' during a pandemic? For the first week or so, I was feeling very anxious about the situation. I was doing things two and three times because there was so much in my head that I couldn't remember what I'd already done. It wasn't a good situation. So I started using my planner as a list-making tool: do these four things today. Do these five things tomorrow. And I'd brain-dump at the end of the day what new things I'd thought of. Getting all the stuff in my head into my planner was really theraputic; it didn't take away the anxiety about the pandemic, in general, but I didn't have all the 'did I remember to ___' stuff increasing that anxiety. Plus, it helped to show bebe how creating a schedule (while boring to an 11 year old) really does help you free up time to do fun stuff (which is important to an 11 year old) in your day.

What I loved about the Happy Planner is that it was disc-bound so I could add pages in wherever I wanted. I don't have that ability with the Passion Planner, but they do have about 20 extra pages in the back which can be used for different things. Here are a few of the pages I've created this year - several of them during this quarantine time - to keep me motivated, to lessen anxiety, and just to have fun.

The books pages - this is a two page spread that I set up to look like book shelves. I have an actual
reader journal where I write my thoughts about different books. This is just a listing of the books I've read (so far) in the year...and as you can see, it's pretty out-dated because I've read at least 15 books so far this year. Note to self: update your extra planner pages, Kristina!

My mood tracker (see the Wellness image above) - this one isn't so much a mood tracker as a 'how I'm feeling' tracker. I tend toward migraines when I don't get enough sleep but weather can also play a part. I wanted a way to track how I was feeling, so I decided to assign highlighter colors and I fill in each day according to how I'm feeling - sick, good, tired...you get the picture. And then I added in a weather tracker - again, assigning highlighter colors for cold, warm, snowy, rainy, cloudy. I've been able to see where a long string of cloudy/cold weather makes me tired (meaning I need to make an effort to get some Vitamin D in) and I've had a couple of days where the barometric pressure changed rapidly and threw me into headache/migraine mode. And with my health tracker (workouts, logging food, bedtimes, reading) I can also see how, when I missed 'bed by 10pm' several days in a row (and was therefore tired) how that affected how I was feeling. Note to self: go to bed on time, Kristina!

And then there are fun things - like my gratitude jar. This is something I started about the third week of COVID/quarantine. I wanted a place where I could write down things, people, etc. that make me happy or grateful. You'll see RadioMan and bebe right up at the time. I don't fill this in every day, but periodically, I'll go through my stickers (I love stickers!) and put a few down in my jar. I think it'll be fun to look back on the jar after I've filled it up this year.

The last page I created, and that I'll create with every planner going
forward, is my Clifton Strengths/High Five page. I took this test after reading Gretchen Rubin's Four Tendancies book in ... I think 2016? But this is the first time I've added them into my planner. It just felt like this was a good thing to add into this planner because the Passion Planner is all about goal setting/planning. This idea I borrowed from another author, Robin Covington, who had an insert printed for her planner, but since I can't add in pages to my Passion Planner, I used stickers. I like how it turned out!

This page, in particular, helps me remember, on days when I'm feeling all floopy (as Phoebe Buffay would say) what it is that I bring to the table. It's a motivational page for me, but it's also a page that makes me think about what it is that I put out in the world. It reminds me that I am a unique person with a lot of skills and strengths...and that I only need to think about how whatever goal I'm working toward fits in to those areas.

Are you a planner?        ~ Kristina


  1. I am NOT a planner, but I love that other people do it--even though it tickles my jealous bone. I use notebooks and love them, but even they are disorganized. Great post, Kristi.

    1. thanks, Liz! Notebooks...Oh, I bought *even more* notebooks last week. I don't think I'll ever use them all but I just can't pass by a cute notebook!

  2. I've long dreamed about being this organized. I admire others for being that way. Somehow, I get it all done without repeating efforts too often. I take a shortcut in sending myself an email from one account to another. But there is an artistry to this level of creative planning! Thanks for sharing.

    1. emailing to-dos is a great idea, Rebecca! Thanks for visiting today!

  3. I love your positive attitude...and action! It reminds us that even in this difficult time we can move forward with lots of good ideas and not let staying in place mean not doing anything while we're there.

  4. Every year I buy a planner and pledge to be good about it. Yeah, I threw this year's away the other day. But, I did save the stickers I bought. Maybe next year. Honestly, my life is pretty set--I work a pretty much set schedule, come home and collapse, and start all over the next day. And I try to write on my days off--which is easier without the distraction of new movie premieres.

  5. I am definitely not this organized, or neat, but I admire you for being this put-together. I tend to write my "things to do" list on scraps of paper that litter my desk. Not pretty.

    I really like your idea of a gratitude jar and "what you bring to the table" list. Sometimes we forget to be thankful, and sometimes we forget to give ourselves some credit. This is a lovely way of doing that.