Planners Who Need Planners

I succumbed.

A co-worker introduced me to the Erin Condren Life Planner in July.  Suddenly I remembered my undergrad days when a planner was my lifeblood.  I couldn’t function without it, and if someone had ever taken it or I had misplaced it, my world would come to a screeching halt.  As I read reviews and watched the plethora of YouTube posts (it seemed everyone who had ever purchased one had also either done a blog post or a video with a 20-minute “walkthrough”), I suffered from sticker shock, but also a growing need to have one.  How had I gone so long without a planner? I asked myself over and over again.  I had never quite gotten the hang of the digital organization I so wanted to make work: Evernote, SpringPad, even Notes and Reminders on the iPhone just hadn’t quite cut it.  And I thought about the nights where I can’t sleep because my mind is racing with to-dos and ideas, notes and projects, blog posts and emails I need to write.  When those nights pop up, the only, ONLY way to calm my fevered brain is to get up with a pen and a pad of paper and just write everything down.  Good old pen to paper.

I could get my money managed more effectively, and keep track of expenses, I thought.

I could organize my blogging calendar, I thought.

I could have all of The Boy’s school and Autism Society events in one place, I thought.

I could even put events for work in there so I always know what’s going on and when, I thought.

I could include a daily to-do list, I thought.

I could keep our evenings on track between homework and other household chores, I thought.

In the end, I convinced myself to bite the bullet, and give it a shot.  In the whole scheme of things, if it didn’t work, the cost was not that prohibitive.  I ordered my planner and waited about 4 weeks for it to arrive.

When it came, I wasn’t sure what to do with it, and again, watched videos and read blog posts on the most effective way to use the planner.  Come to find out, most people’s posts were about how pretty they could make the thing with washi tape and stickers, without any real substance on how to use it.  So I turned to the notes section and made a list of all the things I wanted to keep track of, and began to form my own ideas of just how I would keep track of all of the stuff I mentioned above.

It’s been about two weeks, and it is being used, multiple times a day.  Not only do I plan, but I record expenses (usually first on a sticky note, and if I have time later, with the “proper” label that I have devised), and other things that have happened.

ECLP

But the biggest A-Ha of all is that by having everything recorded, I don’t remind myself six times a day about that one thing I want to remember.  I have a go-to spot for important papers.  I know where stuff is.  And all of these things allow me to 1) relax more, and 2) be more creative.  I have time to think about (and jot down) ideas for blog posts, and even outline my dreams and plans for my own nonprofit which I hope to start someday.

So I guess this is my own obligatory Erin Condren Life Planner blog post.  And I’m not trying to sell you on anything – it’s not for everyone.  But I am glad that I have gone back to paper, because it’s actually allowing my mind to unburden itself of all the small stuff so I have more time to think about the big stuff.

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Up All Night

poor babyThe Boy is prone to abusing screen time past bed time.  This is a bad habit that has developed, and after last night, I know I need to do something.

Last night, The Man and I were awoken at a little after 2am by The Boy, pitter pattering about the house, doing whoknowswhat.  I got out of bed, caught him awake and bouncing around his room, and reminded him that after lights out, he was to stay in his room and sleep, unless he needed to use the bathroom.  “Oh yeah,” he said, “I remember.”  In the meantime, The Man had turned on the TV, which he does when he can’t sleep, and which also results in my not being able to sleep…  This isn’t going to work.

I had mentioned to The Boy several times in the past few days that once school started, we would need to re-institute “lights out” at 9:30pm (“lights out” doesn’t include his actual light – that stays on all night.  But I digress….).  I talked to him about school starting at an earlier hour this year, which made him nervous that we would bump back his bedtime.  I assured him that it would remain the same, but we really couldn’t be on the electronics all night long.  That really wasn’t gonna work.

This morning, I brought it up again.

“When school starts, your computer and your iPad are going to have bedtimes, too,” I said.  “But that means my iPad time will be limited again!” he replied, logically.  “Bedtime is for sleeping, and you shouldn’t be using your computer or your iPad past bedtime anyway, so it’s not really limiting your time.  We’re going to have to put them up for the night – their bedtime will be the same as yours.”

“Can they sleep right here?” he asked, indicating his bedside table with a twinkle in his eye.  I know that twinkle… “I think you might try to sneak and use those computers after bedtime,” I replied honestly.  “I won’t!!” he promised, but I know better.  “What happens if I catch you using it after bedtime?” I asked, reasonably.  He took a minute and then said, “Then you can take them and put them up somewhere else.”

Gotta love this.  Negotiating, advocating for himself, and determining his own consequences.

He’s growing up!

Sleep

alarm clock by brucebeh

alarm clock by brucebeh

I love sleeping.  I really love sleeping.  Always have.  I’ve had friendships broken up because the other person did not understand about me and sleep.

(I was in sleep-away grad school, and needed to use someone’s computer for an assignment that was due.  All of the computers in the lab were taken.  He said he had to finish something, and I could use it after.  A few hours later, I got tired of waiting, literally [mind you, I was 6 months preggo] and went to bed.  He knocked on my door at 2 am and woke me up.  We were no longer friends after that…)

I must, must, must get enough sleep, or you can count on my not being someone you want to be around the next day.  And if I go through a couple of nights not getting adequate sleep, I can count on becoming ill very quickly.

So you know what’s coming, right?  Yep.  My big plan about going to bed earlier is the culprit, I think, but I have been having such a hard time falling asleep for the past week.  Some could be due to stress, but something wonky is going on.  And I don’t like it.  Not one bit.

I’ll give it another week or so before I get really panicked (and cranky and agitated), but this is not me, this is not right, and I don’t know how to get it back to the lovely usual.

The Worst

Being a single mom and being ill has to be one of the worst things to experience on the planet.  Feeling like crap?  Well too darn bad because your child needs to you to take of him like usual, and a child with autism doesn’t have a whole lot of empathy for your situation.  As The Boy told me a few years ago, “You can’t always get what you want, Mom.  Just like the Rolling Stones said.”

One of the other worst feelings in the world has got to be the panicky feeling you get when you can’t find daycare for your child.  Or in my case, evening care.  When you’ve exhausted your lineup of babysitters, and you don’t have a choice to miss whatever it is that necessitates a babysitter.

Yeah, I’m feeling both of those right now.  It’s pretty far from my happy place.  But I’m hoping to spend the weekend recuperating from this cold, and coming up with some magic solution to my evening-care problem.

Calgon, take me away!