Tag Archives: day planner

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

There are so many things that make this the most wonderful time of the year. Let me count the ways:

  • I love the lights. The lights that twinkle on the tree and the garland hung in the house. The lights that line the roof and illuminate walkways. The lights that brighten entire neighborhoods, decorate malls and make the city offices seem just a little friendlier to visit. I love the lights. But, I’ll also admit, I’m a traditionalist. No weird pink or blue lights for me, thank you.
  • I love the music. But, not until after Thanksgiving, thank you! When our local easy-rock radio station started the holiday music early this year, I sat in my car, fingers in my ears and shouted, “La, la, la, la, la! I’m not listening!” Mature, I know. I’ve been playing it since Santa safely arrived at the end of the Thanksgiving Day parade and will turn it off again after January 1.
  •  I love the smell of a fresh tree. And, since I have a fake tree, I love that I can get that smell from a candle. Yes, I said it–a fake tree. The kind that I can put up the day after Thanksgiving and not worry the spontaneous combustion of dried brittle needles. So, every year I shop for the “perfectly scented” pine candle. Like a truffle-sniffing hog, I move from candle to candle. Some are too “perfumey” and some are just nasty. I am a bit particular about my candles. I found one last year, and realized yesterday it has been thoroughly burned.  Fingers crossed that my little hobby store is carrying the same candle this year. If so, I’ll buy 3.
  • I love the baking and candy making. I make candy and cookies and love the smells that fill my kitchen and waft through the house. I love the help of my “cookies tasters” and the memories of many years of shared baking. I love the taste of homemade fudge, warm Italian sesame cookies, and the sweet salty treat of honey’d almonds. And, I love that I have 11 other months of the year to un-do the damage of my overindulgence. 🙂
  • I love the joyful spirits that fill my day. It could be the person I met at the mall, or the post office, or in church. It could be the stranger on the street. There is a joyfulness that seems to permeate the air at this time of year. It matters not if someone celebrates the same I do, or not at all. The world just seems more joyful. Usually. Unless you got behind Scrooge on Black Friday, or any other shopping day. Which is why I love Amazon. I love the joyful, helpful spirits at Amazon. A lot.
  • I love the cards and letters. I love hearing from friends from far away and those close by but lost in the crazy busyness of the year. Most of them, anyway.

There are so many things I love about this time of year. But, aside from the extra time with my family, the thing I love the very most is…

  • I love getting my new day planner refill! And, the new family calendar that hangs on the fridge, but my new planner most of all! As I think I have mentioned before, I am faithful to the Franklin-Covey day planner system and have been since long before Stephen Covey joined the group. But, I’m thrilled for the “Seven Habits” principles he’s added to the planners. Franklin-Covey does offer time-management software, but I prefer the good old fashioned paper planner. The “compact” size is too small and “monarch” is too big. Like the baby bear’s bed, the “classic” size is just right. Just in case it wasn’t already glaringly obvious, my kids will tell you, (with fear in their eyes,) that I’m a bit obsessive about my planner.  I am particular about my binder (red leather, old, but I love it and it gets a good leather conditioning at the start of every year. See the picture above. I have the same style in black, as a back up.) I only use pencil–preferably a mechanical pencil–same rule for the family calendar. I hate confusing cross-outs on my calendars.  My family knows “the rules” very well, and the girls remind my husband if they see a pen in his hand near the calendar. I neatly store the past years in zip-lock bags for reference. It takes up less space than the storage binders Franklin-Covey sells and keeps them safe from potential animal “friends” and water damage in the garage. And, yes, I have actually referred back to them.  Clearly, I give a great deal of thought to my time-management system, and yesterday, I devoted a great deal of time to their website. Though I was pretty sure I would stick with the same refill, (7 Habits, since you asked,) I looked at all the new planner styles and their clearance section. Then, I perused the bags and household organization tools they offer. I even looked at their new binders. I know, crazy, right! After all, it is the most wonderful time of the year, made a little more wonderful by the crisp new planner refill that I will use to keep track of my days and to prioritize time with the ones I love most.

What do you love most about this “most wonderful time of the year”?

©2011 Mary Lanzavecchia/TransitioningMom

At the beach, doing nothing.

If you’ve read any of my posts, you know I’m a list-making-goal-setter. I start every day with a cup of coffee, my day planner, and a mechanical pencil. I carefully break down my daily “to do’s” into three categories: personal, the girls, and household. Rare is the day that I don’t have more list than I do day, which is why the → (“task forward” symbol) often appears in my book as well. I admit, I have a love/hate relationship with this little arrow. Some days, it brings relief, and some days, pressure.

Yes, I recognize mine is not a “normal” day planner relationship. But, we work well together. Well, most days. Like any relationship, an occasional break does us good. Even if it causes me mild panic. Yesterday was one of those days.

The effects of the previous week had clearly taken a toll. Aside from the usual weekly household chore load, there were business calls, appointments, final “special time” with L, and preparations for my daughter’s return. Friday was spent  grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning (upstairs, downstairs, and the cottage) and preparing “Welcome Home” posters.  C arrived home late Friday night. By the time her weather-delayed plane touched down, every muscle in my body ached, leaving me dragging through the weekend. Not surprisingly, the soaring temperatures and restless sleep did little to energize me. Nonetheless, my planner was still directing me in the chores that needed to be finished, visitors received, and calls made. By Sunday night, I felt a bit like “road kill” which lead me to take a melatonin sleep aid (that I had purchased to help my daughter recover from jet-lag.)

Though, I had awoken yesterday with more energy than I had in days, it lasted under 2 hours.  I had enjoyed my coffee, and the page in my planner was still blank. My week was certainly not starting out “as planned.” Regardless of how deep I dug, I couldn’t find the energy to make a second espresso let alone plan my day with any direction.

Then I remembered something I had learned at a Tom Hopkins motivational/sales training seminar years ago; “I must do the most productive thing possible at every given moment.” It is one of the many motivational quotes that hangs in my office. No, I’m not a masochist. I remember what he said after he introduced that dictum to his audience; “Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is sit on the beach.” It was freeing for an obsessive planner like me, this concept of actively “doing nothing” to recharge my batteries. It became the “silver bullet” in my arsenal against “burn out.”

I don’t use it often, but when I need it–really need it in the “Did anyone get the plate of the truck that hit me?” kind of way, I remember to take a figurative “beach day.” Yesterday was one of those days. Aside from preparing breakfast for my girls, I did the most productive thing I could for the rest of the day–I sat. I read. I drank ice water. I watched old shows on Netflix with the girls. I stretched my legs. I sat some more and then, I declared a “free day” for all remaining snacks and meals. (It was an expression my mom used when I was growing up which means “Fend for yourself.” Given my fridge is currently as stocked as a deli counter, they had plenty of options beyond the chocolate cake both opted for repeatedly. 🙂 )

At the end of the day yesterday, I brought my planner over to the couch where I had sat all day. I looked at the blank page, not even so much as a phone message was scribbled down. I took in a very deep breath and did the most productive thing I could do. With one finger, I flipped it closed. I was still at the beach doing nothing…and no one takes a planner to the beach–except maybe me, of course.