I remember the morning when I opened my planner, and nothing written applied to where I lived nor what I should do next. I was a displaced missionary and my days did not have the typical demands. For a while, the unexpected vacation was delightful, but before long I felt lost in nothingness.
Universally, we experienced rearranged schedules in 2020. In a way, women received the brunt of the chaos. Without warning, we became homeschooling moms who prepared huge amounts of food, day after week after month. As a bonus all the coffee shops were closed, and other rejuvenating pleasures disappeared.
Homemakers are a flexible bunch that learn to roll with the surprises. We erase, reschedule and juggle duties on a regular basis. It is not unusual to start the day with “Plan A,” and shift to “Plan B” to deal with interruptions.
But what about limbo? That uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution? The time when you cannot plan for next week or next month? My brain tends to run in circles, and it is hard to focus. It seems impossible to plan anything when schedules are demolished. Meanwhile, my planner silently reminds me of predictable days gone by.
A planner primarily helps to organize days and duties. But a planner is equally helpful when days and duties cannot be organized. It may help you stay motivated and replace the emptiness with purpose. Your planner entries become a peculiar mix of “to do,” “maybe” and “did.” Small, attainable goals will help you be productive. There is not a quick fix to abnormal times, but here are a few tools to get you going.
Schedule an out. Limbo can be mentally overwhelming and sometimes clouds of depression hover. Schedule something refreshing. Write “Thirty-minute break,” (or longer). I needed this when I was homeschooling, and other adult family members were in and out of the house. After thirty minutes of quietness, my brain was clearer. Maintaining sanity is important. Find time to do what refreshes you.
Keep track of the days. Scribble daily notes on the now unscheduled planner slots. Record the weather, news tidbits, current events, with whom you talked, etc. Tracking your days will give you a historical record of what happened during unusual times. It is amusing to read old planner notes during limbo. Did I really need to write “wash my hair?”
Swap disappointment for creativity. It is hard to erase anticipated events, but you can use the tasks list to write creative replacements. One friend wrote me, “It was sad our Canadian relatives couldn’t come to the family reunion, but we made the best of it. Every day we wrote an email and sent pictures to those missing, including some quotes and funny quips.”
Write down what must be done. During disruptive times, laundry and food preparation can be a comforting routine or a bothersome obstacle. If I write those duties in my planner, it helps clear the brain fog in those areas. Plus, I am doing something that is routine. I fill my planner with little things that can so easily be forgotten. Buy stamps. Ask when meeting starts. Pay Mary $20.00. Do not forget to schedule fun. Go for family hikes or buy a new flavor of ice cream.
Try something new. It is good to have something to aim for. In the middle of shutdown, I learned how to make artisan bread. One of my friends learned how to design a photo book online. It is easy to let days slip by and all we do is wish for normal life. Limbo can bring unexpected gifts of time and pleasure. Text photos or inspiration to friends, get physical exercise, trade audio books with others, read the Little House Series to your children or have an indoor or outdoor picnic.
Remember you are not a superwoman. Abnormal living can affect our energy levels. Somedays you will be physically and mentally weary. Typically, we arrange duties in a way that makes sense for our household. Abnormality replaces sense with disorder. Give yourself time to work through new issues. Take note of what is causing the most brain drain and find ways to minimize the pressure. Sometimes a talk with a friend gives encouragement, a new perspective, and fresh ideas.
If we mindfully plan our day, we benefit ourselves and our family. We can productively use our time for what is most important regardless of our circumstances.
I was first introduced to the Homemaker’s Friend Daily Planner in 2018, and I have been a big fan of it ever since. In fact, this is the planner I use to keep my homemaking, homeschooling, mothering, appointments, and business tasks straight. Yes, even for a very busy person, this planner covers everything I need, without giving me a bunch of stuff I don’t need.
This is a sponsored post that I am very excited to share with you, because I use this planner just about every single day.
I like the smart and thoughtful design that went into creating this planner. I can tell that it was made by a mom like me, for moms like you and me. Sue Hooley brought this project to life based on what she needed as a busy wife, mother of six, and missionary. You’ll notice right away how practical it is.
Each year Sue has a theme for the planner, and the theme for 2021 is so perfect during these uncertain times. It’s “Flowing with change” and you’ll find encouraging quotes and Bible verses throughout the planner to remind you of this goal.
In the welcome message at the beginning of the planner Sue shares this quote that really resonated with me. “Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind.” Yes, indeed, we have all been learning that lesson in 2020!
I know that a lot of people like to bedazzle their planners with stickers, markers, washi tape, and so forth. I’m sure if that’s something that you enjoy, you can use this planner in that way. But for me, I am not a bedazzler and enjoy the clean, thoughtful layout and peaceful quotes and colors throughout.
This planner has everything I need, both as a homemaker, a homeschool parent, and a business owner. Here are some of the highlights:
It looks pretty without being overwhelming
The spiral binding allows it to lay flat
The size can easily fit in my purse, tote bag, or back pack
There are just enough sections to be useful, without getting carried away. You can check out my video below for a full show and tell tour.
The Weekly Planning area is what I use the most. Each week has a two-page spread. I like that there’s a space for general tasks that don’t necessarily need to be specified by day. I also appreciate that there is space for about ten items in the daily To Do area. This helps stop me from creating a completely unrealistic (and disappointing) list of far too many things to accomplish in a day and keeps me focused on a realistic amount of most important things.
There’s also space to notate what’s on the menu for the day. Save yourself the brain space and have that planned out in advance. Each day you’ll know what your plan is, if anything need to be thawing or in the crock pot, or moved from freezer to fridge in preparation for later in the week.
Each purchase of the Homemaker’s Friend Daily Planner includes a FREE Bonus downloadable menu planner for the year, so you can literally map out your meal plan for the coming year and be free from the 4 o’clock “Oh no! What’s for dinner?”
Other categories include:
Great for reminding yourself of tasks for later in the year when you aren’t exactly sure what week or day you’ll be doing them on. This works for seasonal jobs, homeschool planning, things like tax season, birthday or Christmas shopping, or plans for a business
Yearly Calendar provides a good spot for keeping track of all the birthdays, anniversaries, and other noteworthy events.
Tasks List This area provides plenty of pages for you to use however you see fit, and the spiral binding allows you to neatly remove pages once you’re done with them.
Projects and Events
These pages are great for when you want to make a plan for a holiday meal, birthday party, garden planning, or other upcoming events. I like to keep track of menus we used for big meals like Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I can easily refer back to it to know what portions worked for what size groups. Huge time saver for me!
This section is great for phone numbers, keeping track of all the clothing and shoe sizes in the family, and other bits and pieces of info you’ll sometimes need in a hurry.
Shopping Lists I love this section! Each page has three vertical columns that are perforated. You can easily keep a running list of what you need to get at the store, and neatly rip off that column when it’s time to go on your errands. This is especially helpful to me for times when I’m accumulating a list for an unusual errand, such as Lowe’s or Home Depot, since it gives me a spot to accumulate the list of items I’ll need to get when I finally go there.
Handy pocket in the back for bills, letters to be sent, birthday cards that you’re having the family sign, etc.
They have an annual subscription! When you enroll in their subscription program you’ll get a discount on the regular price, and know that you’ll have your new planner in hand in the fall of each year so you won’t miss a beat on staying organized. To set this up you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can order your planner from Homemaker’s Depot and you’ll get a FREE coordinating menu planner as well!
P.S. I gave away one of these planners to a lovely lady named Melanie. She told me that she had struggled to ever make using a planner successful for her, but she was willing to try. I got a great testimonial from her that she said I could share with you, so here it is:
“I am really enjoying my planner. At first, I didn’t like how small the calendar book was but now that I have been using it, I like it just the way it is. I also like how everything important stays in the little book. For example, the last time I was in town, I had planned to do a big shopping trip so I brought my list…that was still in the book. But then we didn’t have time to do our big shopping. I only had time to grab a few needed items. In the past, somehow, I don’t know how but I would have lost my list by the time I got home. Then I would have needed to start all over but as it was, my list was/is safely in my book still. So I have just been adding as we think of new things that we need. Another example, for my kids birthday we always take the school day off. It is our special holiday. 😉😊 They also get to pick the meals for the day. Normally, I have to ask them several times because I lose the meal list. Not this year, it was safely in my book at all times.😉😊. It makes me feel organized!!😊😊”
Sarah Mackenzie is so passionate about the power of reading to your children that she started Read Loud Revival, as well as her book The Read-Aloud Family. In this book Sarah encourages parents to read to their kids, both as an investment in family connection, and a way to help them prepare for success later in life. Whether your kids are young, or can easily read on their own, you’ll find this book full of information and encouragement to help you along the way!
Teaching from Rest is Sarah’s message to mothers about how they can embark on the sometimes daunting task of home education in a way that is restful, while also excellent.
Giveaway is over. Winner is Bliss.
One winner will be chosen on May 23, 2019 to win a copy of both The Read-Aloud Family AND Teaching from Rest! US Addresses only.
Anybody who has followed me for awhile probably knows that I’m a superfan of Julie Bogart and Brave Writer. Well, she has done yet another wonderful thing with her new book, (affiliate link) The Brave Learner. Although I’m coming down the end of the homeschooling road, I got the audio version on pre-order and enjoyed every single bit of it.
Why? In short, because it heartened me to know that there is a book like this, giving good, solid, wise, relatable, compassionate, and realistic advice to a new generation of parents.
Yes, it’s for homeschooling parents, but any parent will benefit from Julie’s warm, caring, and sage approach to life, love, and learning within a family. For your sake, for your children’s sake: Read it. Please.
I am very happy to say that Julie has agreed to send one lucky winner a copy of (referral link) The Brave Learner!
One winner will be chosen on May 23, 2019. US Addresses only
Welcome to the Enrichment Lifestyle Blog! I'm so glad you're here. :) I'm Erica Johns, and I love to encourage homeschool moms and help them enjoy more of the beauty of the arts in everyday life.
About me: I started my homeschooling journey in 1997 and graduated the last of my six children in 2021. Amidst all the hard work, crazy days, uncertainty, and lost pencils, what I think we really gained was the gift of a lifetime: TIME TOGETHER. So awesome! Click my pic to learn more.