Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Simplify Life Week: Day Three

Simplify Life ~ Plan

I am a hopeless planner. I am always planning something. I think ahead and work ahead and this is one of the things that seems to simplify my life. I mean, really, if you want to add instant stress and complication in your life - keep doing things at the last minute repeatedly!

I plan using a calendar: I have a daily calendar that keeps my to-do lists in it. I do not always accomplish everything listed there - but it is written down and I will get to it when I can. I also have a calendar on the wall where I write appointments, birthdays, etc... When I go to write out my daily to-do list, I can easily incorporate these things into my daily list.

Not only do I intentionally plan using a calendar, I intentionally do not OVER plan (at least not our time away from home)! We do not need to be running hither and yon participating in every opportunity that presents itself. I don't want to live that way and I don't want my children to grow up in a life like that.

I plan using an idea journal: One of the areas I love to plan is in things I'd like to do creatively. Birthday parties around here are not thrown together the night before - I work on them for weeks or sometimes months in advance. For me, this is part of the fun and takes a lot of the stress out of it. It allows me to do a lot of extra things I wouldn't be able to do if I thought of the whole thing 48 hours before the big event!

I'm always planning ahead for the next Christmas and what gifts I'd like to make. A spot like Organized Christmas is a great tool in planning out a lot of larger tasks into smaller portions over a longer period of time.

I'm reminded of setting aside money all year to do your Christmas shopping so it is not a burden on your budget! Same is true for your time! If you are stashing ideas away part of the year and then actually doing some part of the year, when the season arrives - you will be well prepared and so thankful that you can contribute your ideas to the celebration.

One more thought -
Proverbs 14:22, "Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness."

I'd like to generate more love and faithfulness in my life and in my home. Wouldn't you? When we spend our time planning and carrying out those things which are good - this is what the Bible says we will find. I love that.

One of the most fun ways to plan is just to dream. What would you like to accomplish? How can you make that happen? How can you fit your specific gifts and abilities into this to share them to their full potential? What inspires you?

How about you? Do you plan ahead or work ahead? How does this help simplify your life? Or does planning ahead not work for you? How do you simplify without planning?


More than Survival said...

Great post, Monica. Thank you for sharing your heart and challenging us to grow and learn!

Anonymous said...

Yay for planning! I'm absolutely a planner and couldn't function without my Daytimer and wall calendar. I love the verse in your post that says those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness. I also liked the idea about planning for Christmas compared to setting aside money for Christmas shopping. :) Love you, Mom

Wendi said...

I am a planner also. The wipeoff calendar on the frig is a lifesaver for us. I also keep a couple of spiral notebooks. One is for ideas and the other is for my to do list. Although I need to get a little better with the follow through!

Edi said...

My planning mostly consists of a small desk top calendar that I can slip inside my purse if need be. I also have an ongoing "To Do" list - but it tends to get forgotten.

I also like to plan and think far advance on things like birthdays and Christmas - my dh was laughing b/c I even have a backup plan for my daughter's birthday this year.

On the other hand - I am a great procrastinator and some stuff I will leave to the last minute...especially if I know about it too far in advance.

I've enjoyed your posts on simplicity...your post on Monday inspired me to get rid of some stuff.

Katy said...

I am a TOTAL planner! I write down chores and things I want to accomplish and special dates and appts....all in my planner! I love lists and being prepared. The only bad thing about that is that I tend to not deal with sudden changes or things that come up unexpectedly. :)

Catherine said...

This is an area where I am constantly trying to improve - thanks for your thoughts. I love the "ideas journal" concept. When I was travelling internationally and could not afford to buy or carry much with me, I kept an ideas notebook to write down all the inspiring things I saw. After all, ideas are always free, and this book is fun to come back to. Pen and paper are the keys to many great successes, creative and otherwise!

Lynn said...

I am a total planning freak! I hate doing stuff at the last minute. So I plan Christmas & birthdays all year round.
I have received some unkind comments recently about my need to plan ahead - funnily enough they were criticisms from people who leave everything to the last minute and are very stressed (& financially pressed) come Christmas.

Barbie @ Mamaology said...

I'm a BIG planner too. I love to plan and use a very similar system to yours.

Mary Ann said...

I'm a planner, though I do much better with short-term planning than long-term. I usually do a daily to-do list, but your idea of a notebook would be helpful so I could write things down for the days they will be coming up.

I'm enjoying this series!

Unknown said...

I am such a's almost a running joke around here that the world might cease to exist if I lost my! They may laugh, but it so helps me keep the stress level down. For instance, I already have my Christmas card list ready and most of my cards are made (I handmake my cards) and it's only AUGUST!! I think planning ahead insures that people get the best of me and from me...instead of the thrown together leftovers...know what I mean?

Unknown said...

Oh yeah...I have three calendars. My Dayplanner-with me always
Wall Calendar-updated for everyone
Birthday Calendar-only birthdays on it

*carrie* said...

Enjoyed reading this post, Monica. I feel very haphazard this week just getting back from a trip and also preparing for another out of town guest! I have lists all over the place right now! =)

Elise said...

I like to plan way ahead for the fun stuff like birthday parties. Like, for Lilly, I know that one year I want to have a Sweet Shoppe party for her, so buying things that fit that theme when I see them or writing down the ideas in a notebook are helpful. I know one year that I want a barnyard party for Fisher and I plan to get red and white gingham plates and napkins when my Kroger discounts them.
Other day to day stuff I stink at planning. This Home School bit has me so stressed because I'm not a natural planner for stuff like that. Oh, and we need to start in a few weeks and I still don't know what exactly I am doing.
(Quaking in my boots here)