Best Laid Plans

BLP Ep #90: When Life Gets Messy: How to Dig Yourself Out

April 18, 2022

First, a Planner Peace submission!

This one comes from a self-described doctor mom listener named Lynn:

I’ve been in the same planner system for ALL (lol) of Q1 2022. That is a record for me!

Here’s my line up:

1- MakseLife for goals : for me, the coaching pages at the beginning are worth buying the entire planner. They make a monthly/weekly booklet that works well if Makse is not your main planner

2- Standard size Midori TN Monthly/Weekly: I love this set up for an overview of the month and week. (I use a printable foldout of the year for “at a glance” future plans for the year. my iphone calendar doesn’t work well for me as an overview, i need a visual layout for that) My Makse goals for the month and week are summarized in my Midori – so they’re always at my fingertips. And that helps me for weekly and daily planning on the go. I used the Hobonichi Weeks in a similar fashion for years and love it,  but I needed the space that Midori Standard TN offers. It is the perfect size for both desk and on the go. 

3- Daily/Bujo: Dotted blank notebook for brain dumps, daily tasks, and notes, kept in my Midori TN. I use about 1 page per day, with note collections throughout, bullet journal style.  I process these pages every week or so. I log, track, and manage to do’s and notes according to the Bullet Journal System. I also use David Allen’s techniques mainly with daily pages acting as an “in box”.

4- Hobonichi Cousin. I use this for reflection daily (or at least 3 times a week). It’s also great for memory planning notes, since i’m getting into making mini scrapbooks. what has been especially helpful for me, is that i use it to REFLECT on my goal progress (as laid out in the Makse life system)

My Planner Peace game changer was sticking to a goal system that worked for me (Makse!). I’m not an affiliate or anything like that. Just really love the system, and Sierra’s approach as a therapist and coach. 

Like another listener said, I love how the Makse goal system gives me a way to continually pay attention to multiple facets of my life. It helps relieve my mental overload, and helps me be more intentional and holistic with my planning. When I look at my To Do’s, I know I’m not just tasking -I’m chipping away at the steps it takes to achieve my goals. 

from physician-mom Lynn!

Love this! And keep the Planner Peace submissions coming.

Digging Yourself Out: How to Start When Everything Seems Chaotic

This section was inspired by thinking about how some people might feel overwhelmed at the thought of getting organized. Sometimes there are so many inputs and loose ends contributing to a vague stress of not even knowing what is on your plate — I know because I have been there at times!

If this is your situation, here is a framework/list method that will give you a place to start.

  1. First, breathe.  Remember a time you have climbed out of chaos before.  You can do this!  Anything REALLY REALLY REALLY important will probably float to your surface.
  1. Make a list of WHERE the inputs are.  Not what the inputs are – not yet!  But where.  Examples:

Work email

Papers on desk

Papers in dining room

Papers in kids backpacks

Regular email

On random post-its


It may be long, but at least it will be finite!

  1. Make a list from your mind of the MOST PRESSING MOST URGENT BOTHERSOME THNGS.  Anything that if it doesn’t get done TODAY or THIS WEEK that will cause utter devastation (honestly – most things won’t)
  1. Now you are ready to go to calendar damage control! Before you even decide when to attack, look to see where you might have some admin and catchup space (or where you might carve some out).  Can you block out a chunk each day (30 minutes in the AM?) to dive into your list? Decide on when you have some free space to attack your pressing items and projects.  Write those time frames down so you have something concrete to work with.
  1. Now you have the necessary ingredients to really get started!  You have your most pressing tasks AND a list of inboxes to excavate (so the vague pressure of having an unknown pile to contend with is taken care of), and you have the time to do it identified.  See what you can do to get slots for each of these into your calendar.  While you’re at it, do a mini audit of the next week or so just to ensure everything fits and no disastrous calendar item you missed (this will give you “unknown event in the future” peace).
  1. If you come to the conclusion that you simply do not have time to fit in the above, it likely means you need to seek out some help!  This may come in the form of childcare, a day off, an extension, a coworker, etc.  Sometimes throwing money at the problem will help you (packers).  Do not assume you can dig yourself out of every hole by yourself — it’s okay!  I am sure you will help others when they need it!  Also, remember that you can always compromise in other arenas.  Get takeout (even healthy takeout if you wish).  Wear jeans and a t-shirt daily and put your hair in a bun.  Build in extra rest days from workouts.  Do what you need to do short of limiting sleep (b/c that will backfire).
  1. If things pop up as you are excavating that are totally non pressing, put them in a “DEAL WITH IT AFTER THE STORM” list.  This isn’t necessarily a someday /maybe big deal list, but just a bunch of random things that are not super urgent and a time can be found for them later (or not, maybe they will end up in Someday/Maybe).
  1. Finally — if despite enacting your plan there are pain points in your day that occur regularly and make you feel out of control (an unwieldy morning drop-off routine for example), make a list of these too for later exploration & focus.  You can’t attack everything at once but it’s nice to know what you might focus on in the future (and sometimes awareness of pain points itself can help a bit).

This isn’t going to solve your mess.  But it is a place to start!  And you could probably get through the list above in one long morning session.  

Happy Monday! We spent the weekend decluttering which . . . is more fun than it sounds. Moving is the BEST motivator for this. T-2 days for packers, 3 days for movers, and 1 day for call. Ahhh! I did clear the decks over the weekend but as things get chaotic in this next 1-2 weeks I am pretty sure I will need to keep the above list handy.

1 Comment

  • Reply Torey D. April 24, 2022 at 1:10 pm

    Here’s a fun planner idea!

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