Planning a Cottage Year, Part Two

Cottage Plans, Part Two

Now that I have officially turned One Half of One Hundred, I can go on with my life! Right after I share the look-back insights I promised last post, of course.  Smile

Look Back to Look Forward: Pondering Points

Remember I mentioned I homeschooled for 20 years, so I felt like I’d learned at least a little something about planning? Here are a few things I discovered looking back on the years when my planning systems worked well.

I also jotted down steps I am taking to incorporate those insights into this year’s planning reality.

I’m also including questions you can consider as pondering points to mull your own successes – and less than successes (we all have them) – in the planning department.

Work and Play One Day at a Time

  • I do my best work – and play – when I can only see one day at a time. 

Alarm Clock

What does that tell me? I need a page-a-day system, with a hide-not-today-curtain-tab thing (I’ll try to remember to show you a pic later when I put new batteries in my camera).  🙂

How do you work and play best? A day at a time? A week at a glance? A month to mull?

How Valuable are You?

  • When I was homeschooling I could justify spending money on a planner: it’s for the children’s education, for their future. I discovered through trial and error last year that I am worth investing in.


What does that tell me?  Well, (this isn’t easy to say and has taken me a long time to grasp), I have value, too. So why should I feel guilty investing in my future with a store-bought planner?

Do you assess your time, energy, planning as valuable commodities? Do you see *yourself* as valuable?  (Insider tip: You are!)

Do You Need Pretty?

  • I love pretty, but I found out I don’t need pretty. As much as I enjoy jazzing up my personal planner, I really don’t need hearts and flowers and stickers to get my job-s done.


What does that tell me? Simple is simply fine for me this year.

Do you like pretty? Do you need pretty? Do you function better – or less than at your best – with pretty?

Jazz Can Be Distracting

  • Jazzing up a planner can distract me from actually planning and re-jazzing can keep me from getting anything actually done.


What does that tell me? No need to jazz up my planner ahead of time. If I get spontaneously doodle-y with color and stickers, then I’ll add jazz on the fly, but not before.

Does pretty distract you from or motivate you toward reaching your goals?

Time Pressures

  • I love lists but to-do lists don’t create time pressures. And I need time pressures to get things done. Even self-imposed time pressures.

My To Do List

What does that tell me? My planner needs a spot for scheduling blocks of time AND a place for a to-do list.

Do you like to (need to) schedule blocks of time? Or are you disciplined enough to wing it?

A1, A2, B1, C1 …

  • I do better (not necessarily more, but certainly better) when I prioritize, but if I don’t do it ahead of my day, it doesn’t get done.


What does that tell me?  I need a way to reinforce my most important tasks to complete that day.

Can you glance at a list and know what is most important? Or do you get squirrely when a squirrel (um, maybe from Facebook? Winking smile) pings you?

Goals, Lots of Goals

  • I have goals. Lots of goals. Too many goals. And several whims.

Goals and Whims

What does that tell me?  I need a place to write down my goals and jot down objectives (the action steps to reaching goals). And I need to keep them handy, right inside my planner.

Do you write down your goals and keep them near your planner? Or can you remember your goals when distractions beckon?

Piece Together the Pondering

Now that we’ve pondered, we need to piece together what our planners should look like. It will help us thin out the many options available.

(Speaking of many options, do you know who you are voting for?)

Planning Pondering Leads to Planner Purchasing

Piecing together all my pondering, I came back to my a faithful planner from yesteryear – and by that, I really do mean yesteryear this time.  🙂

My Daytimer Page-a-Day pages fit just perfectly in my Franklin Planner binder (purchased before I knew of their connection to the Mormon church, which I try not to support with my finances when there are other options), so all I had to was open the package and begin planning! After sifting through my goals, of course.

Biggest Lesson Learned

The biggest lesson I learned from my Year of Planning Experimentation is that we have to work with the brain God gives us.

Work with the Brain God Gives

Since He gave us our brains, certainly He won’t mind us caring for it on paper. Even if costs Him a few dollars.

All that to say I love my 2016 planner and I have no plans of changing. Ever again. (At least until the next new season beckons experimentation. Winking smile )

It’s Your Turn

Take a bit of time – whatever you need – to ponder your planning habits.

  • What’s worked for you?
  • What hasn’t?
  • Have you tried to bypass the way God created you to squeeze into a planner mold someone else created?
  • How can you turn your ponderings into action steps for planning your next steps?

And now, it’s time for me to put wheels to my wings. Um, feet to my goals. Uh, pen to my paper. Well, you know what I mean, let 2016 begin!

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