Only For Today

Happy New Year! I know it’s a common thing to say, but wow did 2017 go by fast! We had a busy year, new assignment, new house, new baby, new friends and so many memories. While 2017 seemed to be a year of newness for our family, I’m hoping 2018 is more of a year of settling. We are settling into Ben’s job, being a family of 6, homeschooling 3 kids, and finding our favorite spots around Del Rio.

A big part of New Years time is always the topic of resolutions and goal setting. For the past year I’ve been trying hard to stay on top of my planner. Using a paper planner has been a game changer for me as many of you know. It has changed the way I clean, the way we are organized and lowered my stress level (most days at least). It has made me realize just how much I was trying keep track of in my brain and how unrealistic my expectations were. It has also made me more accountable, both to myself and my own goals and to my family. I have found so much freedom within the structure of organization.

I’ve noticed how the planner has helped me break down tasks so they aren’t so overwhelming. This is especially true when it comes to cleaning. By creating a routine of cleaning different areas of our home each day I can happily look around a relatively clean home. I am also less stressed about the areas that are less than clean because I know that I will be working on them in the near future. It’s written down, so I know I won’t forget. And it’s written down so that I can cross if off when it’s accomplished. The work isn’t as intimidating since it is broken up into smaller, realistic pieces.

A few months ago I introduced you to The Daily Decalogue of Pope John XXIII when I offered my Advent Lectio Divina Journal. I mentioned how I hoped to look at each of the points in the Decalogue and decided to kick off the new year with another excellent point.

Only for today, I will make a plan for myself: I may not follow it to the letter, but I will make it. And I will be on guard against two evils: hastiness and indecision.

Friends, I don’t think there could be a better New Years resolution for me. My planner has opened my eyes to how much time I truly have and is slowly helping me to use that time well. Before a daily plan for myself, I floundered. Things got done of course, but hastiness and indecision ruled. Now, most days at least have a plan, an order, a structure. I don’t always get everything done, but I have a clearer vision of what actually needs doing.

A recent addition to my planning is a simple sheet of paper which I laminated so I can use dry erase markers on it. It says “Only for Today” at the top and is inspired by the Decalogue point above. It has space for 3 kinds of tasks: “must do”, “want to do” and “like to do”. I only allowed myself space for 2 “must do-s”. 3 for “want to do” and 5 “like to do.”

It was so hard to limit myself to only 2 “must do-s” but as I was building the worksheet I kept the words of Pope John XXIII in the forefront. In order to guard against hastiness and indecision I had to be methodical and decisive. Those “must do-s” really need to be concrete and achievable. They must happen today. The “want to do-s” are things that I want to happen soon, meaning if they don’t get done in 2-3 days they get bumped up to a “must-do.” The “like to do-s” are the most broad and are usually where I put bigger goals that may need to be chunked into smaller pieces. I also will put a craft goal here as a motivator to get those “must do-s” done. Remember, priorities.

I love this simple exercise. It is training me to prioritize my time and helps me hone in on the essentials of the day. It’s so awesome to see how a small change can yield some pretty incredible fruit.

If this kind of small change sounds like one you would like to try, here is the FREE pdf printable!

I hope you each have joy and peace awaiting you in this new year. Happy 2018!

Embracing a Plan

In my last post I alluded to a new system I’ve been working with that has been helping my organization and general well being. It’s not super complicated and didn’t cost a bunch of money. A simple planner has completely (maybe not completely completely, but a whole lot) changed the way I am operating.

This decision to embrace a planner was not random. Upon reflection I can see God guiding me toward one for a while. I’ve actually tried to use planners before with limited success. I would forget to bring them with me or leave them in my purse for days. I wouldn’t have a pen or some other excuse. This time is different.

The first step toward the new planner-me was re-discovering the Fly Lady and her methods for keeping your house clean. This new method inspired my whole series of Advent posts. I’ve been tweaking the Fly Lady’s ideas to fit my needs and family’s needs fairly successfully since November. I am a whole new cleaner.

The second step was reading a blog post (I wish I remember whose so I could give credit! Thank you whoever you are) that was about a blogger’s Christmas gift, a new planner. At first I thought, well whatever floats your boat. She had some pictures of the planner and I admit it was very pretty. I decided to click on the link to check it out more since this blogger was so passionate about how wonderful this planner was and how she utilized it in a number of ways – daily tasks, appointments, homeschooling, blogging, cleaning, meal planning – basically all the things I have been trying to keep straight in my head. (I’ll give you a hint – my head isn’t big enough)

Oh how I wanted this planner! It looked beautiful and seemed to be the answer to so many problems. I was so eager as I went through the website, choosing all the extras I thought I would want. Then I saw the prices. Yikes! Beautiful as it was, I knew I had failed with planners before. Until I knew this was something I could stick with, I couldn’t justify spending so much just because it looked nice.

However, my overly positive reaction to using a planner was surprising to me, so I decided to try it out on more of a DIY scale. $10 planner from Target, some washi tape and colorful pens was a much better route. I took some time and invested in “beautifying” my simple planner with the tape and pens. I also made some inserts to hold post-its and a meal planning pad of paper – thank you Pintrest.

Embracing a Plan by Kate Taliaferro at DailyGraces.net
My planner with Pintrest additions. I love having these tabs handy!
Embracing a Plan by Kate Taliaferro at DailyGraces.net
I love the owl tape! And now I will remember when Daylight Savings is thanks to some scraps of the blue-green tape.

I’ve been using this planner since mid-January. It’s only been a month but it has made a huge difference in my life pre and post-Eliza. Here are just some of the ways:

  • I am keeping a cleaning schedule – and actually accomplishing all the cleaning tasks I set out for the day (and if I don’t I am rolling the task over to the next day). Thanks to the Fly Lady these tasks are realistic, evenly distributed through the house and I try not to put more than 4 a day so I don’t get overwhelmed
  • I am meal planning in advance, which means I have much more complete grocery lists, which means less trips to the grocery store
  • I am remembering to write thank-you notes because I have a post-it for that
  • I am remembering all the things we need to accomplish in these last few weeks before we move because I have a post-it for that too
  • I will *hopefully* get most of the birthday cards out on time this year because I took the time to write down 2 weeks before each person’s birthday a reminder to buy a card and a few days before their birthday to mail it
  • Using the planner has also introduced me to bullet journalling which I’m also giving a go. It’s only been a little over two weeks with that though so the jury is still out. So far though I’m loving it

I never, ever thought that a simple planner could hold so much grace for my family. I am more calm, collected and less stressed. Plus, our home is cleaner than it has ever been. I look around (most of the time) with joy at how much more smoothly our family is operating because I am operating more smoothly. So much of our family dynamic is influenced by how well Ben and I are coping with whatever our current life situation is. As we continue in our transitions – moving again plus a new baby while Ben is in training – having one place for me to put basically everything has been game changing.

I wish I had done this sooner. I wish I had dedicated more time in my previous attempts at planners so that it wouldn’t have taken me this long to see how much I needed one. But I am so thankful that I finally got the message and am able to receive all the graces God has waiting for me in its pages.

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com