My friends, I started writing about Wellness on Wednesdays, as I noticed so many creative souls struggle with balance, as do I. Join me on my journey to wellness as I follow the yellow brick road, marching to the beat of my own drum, stumbling along the way.
I reached a milestone this year, and something has happened. People are asking me what I think and I realized I have something to say. Truth is, glimmers of whispers have been brewing, like quiet storms in the back of my mind- for some time. And that’s part of what I want to share with you today.
I haven’t always been a planner. In fact, as an Introverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiver (INFP on the Myer-s Briggs Type Indicator), I often eschewed organization, preferring spontaneity and the freedom I perceived. But in college, grad school, and then being a working mom, I began to see the benefits of planning. I developed my own way of planning- that is Plan, to Have Fun. Research and mapping activities sure helped get things done! When we go on a family trip, I know exactly what we need and when we hope to do things. There’s a lot of planning in advance, as well as some down time and flexibility. So, I’ve come to recognize planning as an important step. Otherwise, you are wandering a theme park not getting on any rides like the Heck family on the tv show The Middle. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
It was only a couple of years ago that I finally discovered the magic of using a personal planner. I have to say, finding the right one that works for you is everything. I had used a Bloom planner, then the Shining Year (before it was discontinued) and now I use the Erin Condren Life Planner (vertical). Michael’s Recollections line is very similar, and Happy Planner is another planners’ favorite. There is also Passion Planner. All of these planners can be used quite creatively, you’ll see.
The magic is in writing it down.
I started using the spaces in a vertical planner for timed activities, but then I had these long lists that didn’t fit at the bottom. So I learned to use the boxes for checklists and inspiring quotes. I use the lines for weekly focus, daily water tracking, goals and interests. The thing about writing it down is that it makes it more concrete. Our lives are so digital these days, we’ve literally lost touch. But once we dare to write things down, we can see that more things are possible. It’s visual. It’s real. Even long term goals and dreams become less intimidating once we break them down into steps. Successful athletes are known for practicing visualization to better their sports performance. Commedienne Ellen DeGeneres visualized her first Tonight Show monologue to the detail of crossing the stage to shake Johnny Carson’s hand. Envisioning success helps achieve success.
The trick is to find the words that motivate or inspire you. Which word means more to you: Motivation or Inspiration? I am an inspiration girl working in a “motivation” world. When I start to hear too many buzzwords, jargon, and “productivity-ness”, part of me shuts down and I actually get de-motivated. You know the sounds that the teachers make in Peanuts? Wah wah, wah wah, wah.
The kinds of words that means so much more to me (personally) are words like personal growth, inspiration, creativity.
Writers and speakers know the importance of the adage Know Your Audience. Well, my friends, YOU are your audience. Plan accordingly. Use the right words for you: motivational or inspirational. And use your tools. Maybe all you need is black pen and the occasional highlighter.
Or MAYBE you are like me and you like COLOR! and STICKERS! and WASHI TAPE!
I cannot tell you the joy I have found in discovering the creative planning community. I buy hand-drawn embellishment stickers and kits via Etsy. And I decorate, that is, pre-plan my week. My young daughter is doing this with me now, too. We are looking forward to using our planners. We fill them in and make check marks with pride. If I had forgotten to list something that we did, I will go back and add it. Then, my planner becomes a memory keeper, as well, which I reference when I complete my separate Gratitude Journal. I also write down funny/significant things my family and friends say. #quoteofthemonth
My life has changed since I started planning creatively. Sure there are things I haven’t quite got control of, yet. But I keep listing my tasks and dreams. Since I started planning creatively, I have written and self- published a book, earned a promotion at work, saved money by reducing bills and trading books/cds, made investments, and attended webinar trainings for work and personal growth. I’ve achieved a kind of work-life balance as I’ve learned to prioritize some things over others, at certain times, and then maybe getting back to them or just letting them go! If you haven’t watched 19 episodes of that show on the DVR, then maybe you are not really watching that show, are you? Time to let it go. Overall, I am much happier, and way less anxious.
Finally, I wanted to share the importance of remembering what’s in your wheelhouse. I keep a lot of what some people may call clutter, but I know these ideas and things will have usefulness. You never know when something you did long ago or kept will become needed. This has happened to me so many times, personally. I had saved a vinyl tablecloth, which I used again as a picnic blanket. My sister’s wedding singer cancelled last minute, thank God I studied church music and could literally just step up and SING the whole Mass including Schubert’s Ave Maria (with no rehearsal). (I’m still waiting for that opportunity where someone says, Denise, I will pay you a thousand dollars to sing a Karen Carpenter song! Alas, that has not happened yet.)
Having access to your own personal toolkit invites serendipitous synchronicity, which is when you are uniquely qualified and prepared for something, like when I got to sing for my sister’s wedding. Or when I used my experience training volunteer choirs to sing diphthongs to help teach my young child to correctly say the letter Y.
Or writing this post.
How do you plan? Are you organized? Do you like inspirational or motivational words? Let us know below.