Saturday, July 22, 2023

Planning ahead

Today I remembered this scarf I wove after I finally got the hang of the Knitter's Loom I bought so I could use up the ends of my yarn supply, rather than let odds and ends waste away in a cupboard:

Pete admired it, so I set it aside for him to use the next winter, thrilled he thought it was good enough to wear out in public with his suit and overcoat. Then I forgot to bring it out again and it's been all these years waiting!

This is the downside of crafting - if you love it for the process as much as the project, you have to find uses for what you made too much of, and storage space for all the supplies you banked for the future. I've ended up mostly knitting socks because they wear out (see previous posts on darning) and you can always do with more of them. 

But the same is true of every other sideline, I've found. I plan ahead, and then circumstances change, and if I'm not careful, it's easy to feel like I failed in some way. 

Well, now I have a solution for that.

I think I mentioned buying myself a Happy Planner as a little impulse present, because the cover had a gorgeous cottage rose on it I knew I'd enjoy looking at all year. Joke's on me because I have ended up using it constantly, and it's never closed. I keep it flipped open on my desk and lying flat, for easy reference and notes, and it could have the meaning of life printed on the cover for all I'd know. 

What I get instead, now that I've figured out how to make it work for me, is moral support.

This is the first half of this past week, set up with stickers and before I started writing in it. Note the welcoming cat, and other small animal friends. I don't have any pets currently but I do love seeing cute animals every time I refer to this book!

I always mark off the top section with a strip of patterned tape, to separate the boring predictable stuff (appointments, commitments, dinner plan) from everything else. Then, if I know I'll be too busy to add much more detail, I throw in extra stickers so I don't feel pressured to fill that space. 

The long column on the left side is the important bit. 

The days of the week at the bottom are where I note what writing project I worked on, if any. Sometimes I fill in the project name, sometimes I just write ZIP or NADA. If I feel like I haven't had writing time for days, I can quickly see whether that's true.

At the top, I write in 'wanted' and then list off whatever I hope to accomplish. At the bottom of that list I write 'got', and leave room for whatever has blindsided me. At the end of the week, I can look back and see what I got through, and why I didn't manage the rest. Usually the blindsider was equally or more important and actually got finished, so I can be all puffed up and proud of myself by the time I get to Sunday even if that's week four of not getting the dried up old paint cans to the dump.

Here's the other half of the week... it's pretty sticker-intensive, because I messed up with my original sticker plan and had to rip things off and cover up the tears with new stickers (I didn't say this process was pretty.)

On weekends I usually have a few tasks I cannot let slip, so I stick a box onto Saturday where I know to look for them and tick them off as I finish. Beside that, I throw in some coordinating sticker that fills the space. I wasn't thrilled with the "You are the creator of your own happiness" slogan, but put up with it because it had the matchy flowers for this week's border. Then this morning I woke up feeling like arrrgg, there's so much I wanna do, it's overwhelming. When I went to check my Saturday to-do list I glanced at that sticker and it finally fit. As long as I enjoy how I choose to spend my free time, who cares if there isn't quite enough of it?
I ended up filling that long blue sticker on the left with non-decor things I was prioritizing for the tiny home installation (electrician, cross-bracing specs for the foundation) and the little flowered box with a note on drapery options I don't want to forget. Because you know I know how to have a good time.
Again: the only important thing on this side is the box in the bottom right corner, with the little dog cheering me on. It's where I note down what I accomplished that week. I might never look back at the other parts of these pages, but revisiting this section of the planner a week or six later reminds me I'm moving forward and achieving some goals. 
Just not the knitting ones, ahem.
Here is next week. I picked an orange theme because we have another heatwave rolling in, and it's more of a blank because I didn't mess up the pages so badly this time. I'll throw in more stickers as needed, if I feel like it. It surprises me how helpful it can be when a day goes sideways, to regroup with a book of stickers and kind of reshape my sense of how a day is going.
First half:

Second half:

The whole thing:
Normally the paper in this book is clean and crisp but with all the humidity lately, it's definitely been easier to rumple. You can really see the shadows on the left page, where I'd made all those mistakes on the other side. Another good use for stickers I guess!

True Confessions: I don't expect to buy another Happy Planner for next year. I don't like how you can't easily reuse the covers or dividers, especially given how much plastic is involved. I like the functionality and page size and paper quality though, so I may set up an undated journal with leftover page inserts.
What I will do in some format is continue the process of noting goals, acknowledging surprise developments, and celebrating achievements. That's been a real winner for me, and I wanted to offer it to you today in case it's of use in your life, too.
And now, to put a reminder into the October section of my planner: bring out the stripey scarf for Pete.

Hope you have a great weekend! Look forward to seeing you here again next Saturday.

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