Making use of your planner when you’re feeling blue


Filofax and Pencil Case
Filofax Heritage A5 and KYOND Pencil Case

Have you ever noticed that when you’re feeling blue, you’re probably a bit more scattered than normal? I know I have definitely experienced this… As of late, I have been going through a bit of a rough spot, and despite having my trusty Filofax and my joint iCal account with Travis, I have literally been all over the place! Normally, I write everything down, but the past week or two, I have been so scattered that I could would probably lose my head if it weren’t attached to my body… I haven’t been writing things down, I haven’t been planning or tracking anything, I haven’t been following my proper routines, and I haven’t been thoroughly updating the joint iCal calendar.

Why is it important to use your planner, even when you’re feeling blue? I feel like using your planner regularly, even when you don’t want to, will not only help to build routine, but will also help with feeling accomplished. The simple act of checking off a task, even something as simple as “pay for parking,” helps me to feel like I have indeed done something I am supposed to, and helps to push me towards those other tasks. Being able to see my week laid out for me is calming, and really does help to make me feel less scattered. Feeling less scattered, and feeling like I am indeed accomplishing something, helps to improve my mood, even if it cannot magically fix how I am feeling.

Before the Ink
My mostly blank week on two pages

Today I decided that enough is enough, and that I need to get back into my proper planning routine, in hopes that it will also help me with getting back into my other routines. I decided to start off by seeing what I had actually put down for the week. As you can see, I had not written down much, but that’s okay! Having a mostly blank slate with a couple of tasks/goals for the week gave me a lot of freedom to and space to work with.

I am currently using the Filofax week to view 2018 / week on two pages inserts. I have experimented with a lot of inserts from Filofax USA (usually purchased off Amazon or eBay) and Peanuts Planner Co. (which I absolutely love), but lately I have been feeling like the week on two pages has been working for me. I like being able to see my week at a glance, and I feel like these pages have a good amount of space. If I am in need of extra space for tasks/to dos, I will one of these Filofax A5 To Do sheets, and put it in the middle between the week on two pages. That way, I can make a list of tasks for the week, and break down each task into smaller “to do” items in the space provided.

After the ink
Week on two pages after the ink.

I had to wrack my brain for a bit to remember a bit of what my week looked like and was going to look like for the remainder of the week. I realized that I had spent a fair bit of time wandering around downtown and the Washington Square mall in Tigard, so I decided not to note those things for the first half of my week. I could not for the life of me find my black pen, so this week, everything is in color. Pardon the occasional smear marks and speckles, I am left handed, and I drag my hand through everything.

Once I had my daily tasks and appointments written down, I checked off things that I had already completed, like paying for my parking. From there, I made a list of what tasks I needed to accomplish for my two online classes. Honestly, I haven’t written down every single task that needs to be accomplished for my UNST course, but I know what the micro tasks are from the bigger, vague tasks. For example, where it says UNST blog posts, I know that I need to go back through the modules and post my blog posts and responses for the weeks I’ve missed. After my course assignments, I noted the tasks that were of higher importance for my work in the WPA. I also circled a task to remind myself to update OrgSync for the Psychology Club, and potentially the Neuroscience Club, at my college, as I am an officer in both of these clubs.

A friend text me to remind me that our friend’s band was playing tonight, so I purchased a ticket for the show, and wrote down when the show would be tonight and where, so that I’d be reminded when I got home from the coffee shop I set up camp in. I also realized that I knew the Shamrock Run was on Sunday, and that packet pickup was on Friday/Saturday, but I had no clue about when the race began, or any other important information, and again, I didn’t put any of this into iCal, so there was no information on there either. I scratched out the important information in these photos, but I did manage to track down the information from the race page, including what times/where I needed to pick up my race day packet on Friday/Saturday, what time the 5K started (earlier than the 8K or some of the other races!), where the 5K’s starting point was, and the ending point… I also noted that the starting point was near one of the bridges, so that I could remember that if I was near that specific bridge, that I’d be in the right area, since I’ll be walking to the race from my apartment.

Progress on weekly tasks
Progress notes on my weekly tasks.

At the end of last week, or the start of this week, I wrote down a couple of tasks/goals. 1: Work on Instagram Stories, 2: Editorial Calendar, 3: Catch up on WPA work, 4: Finish PHE and UNST (my two online classes.) I decided to make some midweek notes on where I was at on these tasks/goals. They’re not particularly interesting, but it’s still nice to see where I am at. It does help me to feel like I am accomplishing these tasks.

My monthly habit tracker.

Finally, it was time to update my habit tracker, which I hadn’t updated since early in the month. I realized that I had completely screwed up my dates on the original habit tracker, and I had a few new things to add, so I started fresh with a new habit tracker, and did my best to update it from memory. This daily/monthly habit tracker insert is from Peanuts Planner Co. and I absolutely LOVE it. I think that for next month, I might also try to make use of the various boxes to the left of my habits. I might use them for tracking my daily moods. Unfortunately, I did screw up a little on some of my trackable items, but overall, it was nice to have a better idea of where I was at on my habits and things I want to track for the month.

Most of these items are pretty standard. If I did the task, I filled in the box, and if I didn’t complete the task for the day, I left the box empty. Orange X’s are where the item was not previously being tracked. NA items are where I cannot recall/have no data for. Some of the items have a half filled in box. If there’s a half filled in box, I did some/almost all of the required item, but maybe left out some part of it. In the case of a few of the days for “close all 3 rings,” I would have completed all 3 activity rings on my Apple Watch if I had remembered to put my watch back on, or other such tasks. Same for two of the days with “10,000+ steps,” if I had remembered my iPhone and/or my Apple Watch at some points, I would have hit 10,000 steps or more to log.

At the bottom, I track a couple of things, like whether or not I have a migraine, my pain scale for my wrist, and my level of anxiety. I am terrible at rating things on a 1-10 scale, but I try to do so regardless, so that I can try to put it into perspective. You might notice that I wrote 15 for my anxiety level one day. That is not an accident. I was going to write 10, or maybe 11 (because we like to turn it up to 11 like Spinal Tap), but I felt like this was one of the worst days for anxiety that I’d had in a very long time. On top of that, I could not find my anxiety medication (because I am scattered and I set the bottle down somewhere and forgot where I put it), so I couldn’t easily calm my anxiety, and instead, I just had to spend the day riding through it. Because of these factors, I chose to put 15. I knew that it was going to be a rough day, but that it would eventually pass.

Some of my habits can’t be marked/left blank yet because it isn’t the end of the day, but at the end of the day, or possibly tomorrow morning, I will sit back down with my Filofax and mark off what I did do/did not do. I’m going to try my best to keep up with this through the remainder of the month. I tend to fall behind on my habit tracker, which is kind of funny, because I suck at making a habit of tracking my habits. 🙂

Now that I have my Filofax updated, I feel a bit of relief. Seeing what I have done and what I still need to do makes everything feel far more manageable, as opposed to having all of these different tasks floating around in my head and periodically running away from me. I finally feel like I have been accomplishing something this week, and I feel more motivated to continue to work my way through these remaining tasks to get on track and to not let a depressive state get me so down. Having my planner organized will not fix everything, but it does help my mental state a bit, as well as decrease my anxiety, and that is what matters to me.

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