My “word for the year” for 2015 has been “invested,” connected, focused, and present in the moment God has me in. It’s been a wonderful journey, and I’m seeing progress in several areas of my life for the first time in a long time.
I have always done much better when I have a planner. I’ve attempted a few different planning systems: apps and devices, command centers, etc. But the most effective for me is the sit down and write it out kind. Last summer, I purchased an “On-the-Go” planner from Well-Planned Day. I loved the planner and discovered a lot about what does and doesn’t work for me. The vertical format combined both to-do checklists and a separate appointment section for each day. It was fantastic except for one thing—I didn’t have nearly enough room for everything I needed to keep track of.
So for my birthday, I splurged and bought a custom Plum Paper Planner on etsy. I love it. I finally have room for everything: appointments and to-dos, routines and habits, prayer requests and ideas, and daily gratitude.
My first goal for the new year was to establish a morning and evening routine. I knew I couldn’t try adding exercise or anything else to my life unless I had a routine to anchor it too. I have around five tasks for the morning and five tasks for the evening with a set time to wake up and go to bed. This is a guide for me. It’s not a schedule where I’m doing my Bible study from this to this time, but rather an order of things to do. I’m not in bed on the dot by 11 p.m. every night, but at least I’m there more or less by that time.
And my goal was to create habits, I check off each task each morning and evening as accountability. And because I’m a list-checker. It motivates me.
Each month I plan a single goal with action steps, accountability measures, and rewards. For instance, one month the goal was to set a regular wake up time and to be consistent with that throughout the entire month (establishing a habit).
Finally, I’ve added that exercise goal, anchored into my morning routine. Not a set time that I exercise, but a particular order of the day: after Bible study and before breakfast. Sometimes that is 8 a.m. and sometimes it’s 9:45 a.m. It’s definitely not rooted as a habit or lifestyle yet. But it’s in the making.
How has all this helped me to be more focused, present, and connected?
- When I write a task or event in my planner, I don’t have to hold it in my head and dwell on it. My planner helps me focus on one day at a time, one need at a time. It helps me to remember to pray for the job interviews and surgery dates of people in my church family.
- My routine helps me to be centered on the priorities for my day; my mind and heart are settled before the chaos of the day unfolds. And my evening routine helps me to be better prepared for the following day.
- Single goals help me to be more focused each week and month and less stressed out by defeat. I’m buoyed by the progress, however little or imperfect it may be.
- Exercise gives me strength and energy to be connected with my active kiddos and my daily tasks.
It’s imperfect progress for sure. But I’m grateful for it, and grateful for the grace to take those small steps forward.
What imperfect progress are you working toward this year? Any prayer needs you’d like me to add to my planner? Leave me a comment below or feel free to email me through the link on the sidebar.