Plan your way: Just let turkey be turkey

So in the last few years, eating more organics and fewer meats has been the trend (stay with me I’m going somewhere). But if I’m honest it just irritates the HELL out of me – are we really going to pretend that turkey-bacon is as good as bacon? It’s just not bacon! Why are we trying to make beans into burgers when beans are phenomenal on their own? As I continue trying new recipes I’ve realized how wonderful vegan or vegetarian meals are – if they just highlight the foods the way they are rather than pretending like they’re something else (read: meat).  Can’t we just let turkey be turkey? Can’t we just let everyone plan the way they want to plan?

In past posts I’ve talked about the StrengthsFinder, an assessment that identifies your “top 5” strengths.  We use this tool to teach leadership from a strengths-based lens – we ask our students what their gifts are, how they use them, and how they can lead in their own way.  In order to step in to moments of leadership, we must embrace who we are – not who Sally is or who anyone else tells us we should be.

We don't see the world as it is, we see it as we are.

There’s that trite saying- you should be a first rate you, not a second rate someone else. Of course! Embrace yourself!

It’s hard to believe that we have the answers we need within ourselves when there’s so much other imagery.  There’s a line between inspiration which pushes us to be better and experiment, and just pressure to buy more or do things because other people do it.  I’ve bought many a tool or goodie and then realized it’s not what I needed or wanted to use.  So instead of making others’ preferences my own, I wanted to leverage my own quirks and preferences to create a good system for me. Here are a few of my lessons in planning after many years of failed experiments and barely-used planners.

I am drawn to pretty things. The more visually appealing things are the more that I will use them. So I do spend some money on colorful files or some functional stickers to provide bold punches of color – and good news, I use them!

I need everything in one place.  My school notebooks always converged into one, despite my best efforts to dedicate one per FoxyDori and Coffeesubject. Separation is still key for categorizing, so I adopted a traveler’s notebook system that provides the best of BOTH worlds. I also don’t formally separate home from work.  Being a multitasker, ideas, errands, tasks occur to me all the time and I can’t be switching between notebooks just to put it in the right place.  Our work and personal lives being separate seems like a false choice – they do not have to be separated for us to have a harmonious life. I just let the two blend.  It probably also helps that I love my job and don’t hate seeing those tasks mingle together.

Out of sight, out of mind. If I don’t see it, it doesn’t exist.  Filing cabinets are dark abysses where things disappear and hardly emerge – so they are an archive.  Multiple projects are in play at one time, not to mention my classes, so I need everything laid out for me to keep track.  I’ve made this work by hanging things vertically.  At work if I have notes or papers to process, I pin them up on the wall.  At home, I’ll stick letters and bills right on the door or even post it notes to remind me what I need to bring with me for the day.

Sometimes, I have memory like a goldfish. There are things I remember for a long time, like funny conversations or a good quote. But sometimes I am struck by a fleeting thought or task- and as often as I’ve assured myself I’d remember it for later… you know how that goes! So I help Future Jessica by capturing it immediately by sending emails, texts to the right people, or scribbling on a sticky note.

Phone and FoxyDoriMy life is on Google Calendar.  Without this app, my life would be in shambles.  I’ve written a lot about how I use this, but essentially my work is on G-Cal and I share my personal one with my husband, so it becomes much easier to look there than on paper.  Since I’m often planning or setting reminders farther into the future, it just makes sense to use.

…But I love to do lists. When it comes to my to dos, I need them in front of me, to write them out and to cross them off in a tangible way.  Instead of having slips of checkboxes floating everywhere I capture them in one place in my planner that stays open on my desk.

My plan is my intention but it is not in stone.  I am great at planning out projects, breaking into subtasks to accomplish things – but I adapt depending on my mental capacity to tackle harder tasks or when other more urgent fires emerge last minute, so I also need a flexible system. Things falling through doesn’t devastate me or ruin my day, I just adapt. That’s why I love Google Calendar – it instantly updates with a click – and the Bullet Journal system.  Every week I can modify the layout to address what I need that week, that moment, without the limits of other systems.

So there you have it – this came from so much experimenting and it took work for me to even identify what these preferences were in this blog post.  After trying all these methods, goodies, and tips, I was finally able to suss out what really helped ME plan like ME.

Are there other lessons that you’ve learned about how you plan?

What do you think?

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