Planning a Cottage Year, Part One

Cottage Plans

Will you take a short walk with me down my cottage planning path of yesteryear? Ok, so it was just last year, but yesteryear is such a remarkable word I thought I would use it. I’m also soon to turn half a hundred and I’m feeling all timey-wimey sentimental-wental.

I’d like to smooth the way for you in 2016, if I can. You see, I stepped on a few calendar thorns and ran into some jagged rocky planning places and well, some paths are just easier to walk on when cleared before we get there. Maybe my experiences can help you enjoy your walk?

What I Tried in Oh-15

I tried a new system last year called the Bullet Journal. It was awesome because it was free (I already had a notebook) and it was colorful (I used my fine tip permanent markers for jazz).

Before January was over, however, I realllllly needed a monthly calendar with traditional square boxes. So I bought one. It was simple, it was cute, it was pink, and it was worth every penny.

March 2015

By March, my square boxes were saving the day because I was getting myself confused with the bullet system.

Simplified Bullets

I thought I had simplified it enough to work with my brain and circumstances, but still too complex for my neuronic pathways to handle. Neuronic *should* be a spell-checker-accepted word, by the way. Winking smile

So, I made it even simpler. The bullet planner, I mean, not the word neuronic.

Escalating Trouble in Planning Land

By mid-April, however, I knew there was permanent escalating trouble in planning land. I felt compelled to continue using my continuously adapted version of the bullet system since I had already invested time and color in the planning process.

But by mid-July I gave up completely and went to the old-fashioned List on a Notebook Page Method. It worked as expected, but it wasn’t what I needed. I still found myself scattered and overwhelmed and plain ol’ frustrated. If I showed you my lists, you’d understand my pain.

[Keep in mind I have had a batch of circumstances raining curveballs beyond my control that added to the confusion. It’s not you, Bullet Journal, it’s me.]

By September, I did this:

Switch Planner System

That’s When I Returned to S.H.E.

I pulled out my old S.H.E. (Side-tracked Home Executives) index card system and used it to get my cottage – if not the rest of me – in order during the late summer/early fall.

Index Card System


It was working GREAT!  So what did I do?! I made it complicated it, of course!

Simple Made Complicated

As the end of November approached I knew I realllly didn’t want to go through this again in 2016.


Experimentation with organizational systems is great.

Unless you really want to get – and stay – organized.

I had time to be flexible, but time was running out.

Looking Back to Look Forward

As 2016 ticked nearer, I looked back on my previous successful planning years – I mean, I homeschooled for 20 years with complications, so I knew I had something working for me – and discovered a few patterns.

Sometimes we have to look back to look forward.

I’ll share my discoveries next time around as my word count has reached my point-of-comfortability. Don’t you agree?  Smile

Life Tip

Before I go though, let me leave you with this life tip:

Wingin’ it is great for birds with a general sense of their destination, like south for the winter.

Bullets are great for hunters who want to take down birds.

We must decide for ourselves each year: Are we flying or hunting?

Or do we have an entirely different flight plan in mind?

It’s Your Turn

  • Did you use a planning system that worked for you last year?
  • Or did it leave some holes in your flight plan?
  • What’s your planning plan for 2016 look like?
  • Do you love – or hate – to switch planning systems mid-flight?


*My apologies for the lack of Bullet Journal planner pics. [Insert reasons, blah, blah, reasons.  🙂 ]


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  1. I’ve just resigned myself to using what works for me and not experimenting with cool new ideas any more. I waste too much time that way. So now I have Cozi for the family calendar, post-it notes for lists and todos, and a huge ugly desk calendar pinned to the wall for writing calendar.

    • Yes, Lea Ann, do what works best! We can cute-ify and jazz-ify so much that we lose our purpose. Better to plan on ugly paper and accomplish our goals than to come to the end of our lives and say, “But, gee, I had a pretty planner!” Jazz-ifying is only useful if it motivates us towards our goals, not distracts us from them. (Stay tuned for a quick way to jazzify AND keep goals in focus.)

  2. Maggie Hogsn says:

    #thestruggleleisreal #planneraddict #plannerfailure #blahblahblah
    Love you! Waiting for part 2!

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