A Look Inside My Planner

Why would someone on maternity leave need a planner?  Does she need to keep track of play dates and when the kids’ library books are due?  No, it’s for me.

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It’s where I record memorable moments with our kids.  I set personal goals.   My planner has become a journal of sorts that continues to evolve.

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I have my own little maker space where I list things I want to try (sewing projects, writing, online courses, web design…)


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I list blog post ideas.  I don’t always write them, but it gets me thinking.


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HODE is the Humans of Danforth East series that I write.


I use a library pocket to tuck away projects I come up with and ideas that pop into my head.  I know myself, I’ll want to do it all and now. This helps rein me in a bit.  I can look at that recipe card of ideas when I’m planning my goals for next week.


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I’m learning to focus on ONE thing a day. I write it on a sticky note.  If I don’t feel up to it or something else comes up, it’s a quick swap and move around to another day.


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And at the end of the month, I spend time reflecting.  I love this piece.  It was something I learned from Elise Joy’s Get to Work Book video.  Her prompts make me pause for a moment and actually realize what I’ve accomplished.  Thank you, Elise.  I’m quite hard on myself and this process leaves me feeling surprised and proud.


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Despite all that I do, there is always more that I should or could be doing. It’s that Perfectionist Pippi side of me.  I just don’t realize the impact it’s having on me until I actually have to slow down.

Every summer I go home to spend time with my parents at the lake.  It’s 3 weeks of limited wi-fi, friends and family, and no plans at all.  I was sick for the first four days this past summer.  Migraines, stomach pain, dizziness.  My body was saying f you.

I was blogging, volunteering for a local community group, teaching an online course, coming up with one sewing project after the other, taking classes…  I was enjoying myself and I was stretching myself.  I was getting up in the night with feedings for Charlie, staying up late to work on things, and up early in the mornings to spend the day with our three little ones under the age of three.  I was burning out.

I went up to the cabin with 21 podcasts downloaded so I could listen to one each day and sketchnote in my notebook.  It was a routine I had started at home and I would continue at the lake.  I listened to one.

I had an afternoon nap in the gazebo. I listened to the water with Charlie snuggled against me.  I went swimming.  I sat on the deck and visited with a high school friend.  I played in the sand pile with my kids.  It felt both incredible and weird not to be attached to my phone.  I so needed this.


And yet within a week of being back in Toronto, I was back to my old crap.  I knew it was time for a talk with my friend and mentor.  She was watching what I was doing to myself every day just by seeing my Instagram posts.  She told me what I needed to hear.

Lainie, one thing a day.  ONE thing.

My to-do lists were getting ridiculous.  I was feeling resentful because I couldn’t do what I wanted to during the day.  We have three kids.  I don’t get to do whatever I want.  I felt guilty for the resentment.  I needed to reign myself in.  And why write one thing on a sticky note, when you can create a DIY planner out of a bullet journal and use fun stickers and beautiful images?! Right?

The kids are always sleeping when I put together my page for the week.  I like to do it either during bedtime or naps.  I sit somewhere comfortable, the couch or on our living room rug.  I spread out my stash of crafty stuff.  My pencil, scissors, glue, Flow magazines, stickers…and my bullet journal.  I cut out images I love and find quotes that I need to keep in mind and personally work on.  I’m usually surrounded by scraps of paper and have a tea or hot chocolate within reach.  It’s my Lainie Time.

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I look forward to seeing what my planner will look like in a year.  It’s capturing the evolution of me, which sounds really cornball but it’s true.

I’ve realized that I can still have that goal setting, driven side of me.  I just need to use it for good – for my own well being and that of others.  I need to let go a little and be okay with the only thing I accomplish in a day being a walk, exploring dirt paths along a river bank, and playing in water.  I want to make the most of the time I have with our kids when they are little.


It’s funny what a simple paper notebook can do for the soul.


3 Replies to “A Look Inside My Planner”

  1. I love your journal and how you are using it. It is great to have somewhere to capture all the ideas, especially those that are not yet ready for a “do now” list.

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