I never used to be much of a planner. I either had a j.o.b. or I was a stay at home mom, and my brain was capable of holding whatever was required within it without needing elaborate planning systems. These days, however, I *need* to plan or my life gets away from me, and no one likes a runaway life.

I’m not into pretty planning. I get the appeal, and you won’t believe how much money I spent on planning supplies when pretty planning was trending, but it just didn’t work for me. I don’t have the time to add that to my already full roster of things to do, so I do planning in a fairly utilitarian way with *maybe* a touch of washi tape, and some color coding.

I love making lists of the things I have to do and then crossing things off as I complete them. I get an almost perverse sense of satisfaction from doing this, and nothing gives me a rush quite like a completely crossed off to do list.

Of course, I rarely have a completely crossed off to do list because I tend to pack a lot on my lists. I don’t stress about incompletes – i just move them to the next days lists, and I have a good sense of priorities, so I tend to tackle the most important things first in any given day.

I love lists so much I make multiples. Every Sunday evening, I sit down and make a ‘week list’ of everything i want to accomplish over the course of the week.  I transfer that list into my ‘weekly planner’, which is a page I glue into my Sweet Trash Journal. Then, day by day, I make the ‘day list’ from the master ‘week list’, tweaking and adjusting as the week progresses. If I get even a few things on the list done, I get a happy. It’s worth celebrating. If I run out of time to do something on the list, oh well. I just move it to the next days list.

Some items get moved often. Dishes, for example, or laundry, because ain’t nobody got time for that. Self-care goes *first*. Journal. Eat. Spiritual work. I admit to occasionally skipping those in favour of diving straight into work, but when I do that, I end up feeling like crap, so I try to avoid it. Serving from an empty well is a bad idea, and my work requires a nice, juicy FULL well to serve from, so yes. Journal. Eat. Spiritual work. That soak in the tub where I do my best thinking. Those plans with friends (or lovers) that feed my soul. That gorgeous meal I plan to cook tonight. All priorities. Then, the work stuff, which feeds my face & pays my rent & gives my life a sense of meaning.

When things are really crazy, I use a weekly planner page from a Moleskine extra large planner glued into my Sweet Trash Journal to record important time-sensitive items, PLUS I use a Moleskine Large weekly planner and a Moleskine Large Daily planner as well. Yes, that’s three planners. It works, though, and it keeps me fairly well on track.

Here! I have a video for you! Here’s how Effy Plans!

View on Vimeo

Not everyone is going to need quite so extensive a planning system, but I tend to have a LOT of what I like to call ‘ducks to wrangle’ as in ‘ducks in a row’. My ducks tend to wander all over the place if I don’t wrangle them, so this is how I do it.


P.S. The video above is available as a larger workshop in which I present my Sweet Trash Journal practice. That’s available for free, here.

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