How to find serenity in planning


Elyssa Abbott

Writing down a couple of the tasks that you want completed today provides a guideline for the day that lies ahead. Checking off these tasks boosts productivity and will allow for even more productive days in the future. “Even if I just make a to-do list, it makes me feel in control of what I need to have done for school,” said Magnet senior Sophia Green.

Elyssa Abbott, Editor-in-chief

After a stressful year full of uncertainty and an inability to know what will happen next, struggling to find a purpose in 2021 exists as a common occurrence. Planning may not provide a purpose in life, but it can guide productivity throughout the day and help people achieve goals, long-term or short-term. Planning the day, week, or month ahead lays a blueprint, even if it changes, to follow and allows a little certainty after a crazy year, while hoping normalcy may return sooner than later given the vaccination progress.

Similar to the psychology behind making your bed everyday, planning creates a space for productivity to soar. Starting the day with a clean space and sitting down to make a to-do list for the day ahead helps to guide your day in a positive direction, instead of allowing time for procrastination. Writing this list down, especially, helps to remember exactly what needs completion by the end of the day. Devoting time in the morning to focus on what you want your day to look like can act as a meditative practice for those that enjoy productive and busy days. 

“I enjoy using a planner because it helps me stay organized and plan out the days and weeks ahead. Doing this not only helps me to keep track of upcoming events and assignments, but it also helps to relieve stress having everything laid out,” said Magnet senior Sophia Green.

In the realm of mental health, planning exists as a common exercise for therapists to implement with their patients. Outlining goals and a schedule, even if things change, helps those struggling with anxiety or depression to feel as if they hold a purpose in life. Therapists also use planning to show their patients a step-by-step plan for their own therapy and rehabilitation. Within this category of therapy, patients can redesign their lives and work towards where they felt happiest in the past or a brand new start. A common characteristic of people that struggle with anxiety consists of overwhelming feelings about the day ahead. Planning allows for these people to visualize their day and feel comfortable proceeding with a plan in mind.

Finding the perfect tool to plan exists as the key to accomplishing an effective schedule. Wall calendars can suit those that need to remember test dates, events, or holidays, but planning day-to-day can foster a productive lifestyle. Daily planners, such as Passion Planners or the Day Designer provide space for important events and break the days down by time to plan a structured day. Along with motivational quotes and areas to write down goals, these planners can do it all. Google Calendar offers a similar service without all of the glitz and glamour. It uses a calendar with events, reminders, and tasks for to-do lists or even grocery lists, so that you can conveniently look at each day via a cell phone or laptop. This extremely accessible, free app allows for planning anywhere, during meetings, school, or at home.

During quarantine, planning became more creative with the added excess free time. Bullet journaling or planning soared as people personalized their own journals to outline their days and goals. YouTube videos and TikToks began capturing how influencers create their own bullet journals, and they soon became more than a planner. Bullet journaling became an area for thoughts, plans, and a written meditation with affirmations and goals. Bullet journaling appeals to a wide variety of people because nothing constitutes the correct way to plan and it allows for fun colored markers and symbols to schedule. 

No matter the form that you choose to plan, taking the step to seize the day, week, month, or year ahead using a written or digital planner allows for productivity to soar. Even if you use it to write down little steps of the day, such as making lunch, the act of checking a  task off boosts morale and motivates you to accomplish more.