Let’s think about everything I’ve given up since the start of the pandemic:
Makeup. Blow drying my hair. Dine-in restaurants. Hugs. Bras.
With almost everything canceled, it would seem like a no-brainer to add my 2020 planner to that list as well, right?
I’ve continued to use my planner almost every single day since things shut down back in March. Even when everything we had planned for the spring and summer got canceled. Even when I lost my job. Even when it felt like there was nothing going on, I still pulled out my planner and multi-colored pens and organized whatever I could.
I’m somewhat of a planner snob. I have very strong opinions about what styles work for me, and which ones don’t. I’ve used the same brand for going on four years now, and I’ll rave about it to anyone who asks (don’t ask, you don’t want to get yourself trapped in that conversation). In “the before times” you could glance at a day and see work deadlines, to-do lists, dance schedules, bill due date reminders, and everything else related to the operations of my home and work life.
So how did I fill in those blanks when everything got canceled?
I felt a sense of calm in continuing to use my planner whenever I could. It helped me feel normal in “unprecedented times” (man, I’m sick of that phrase). So I started with the easy things: Menu planning. Grocery lists. Laundry schedules. No matter how mundane, getting it in the book helped settle me a little bit.
After I lost my job, I added in some day structure to keep me from feeling like I was just floating in space. 9 – 11 a.m.: Browse job boards. 11-12: Follow up on emails.
And slowly, as things have been allowed to open back up, I found myself adding new items to our schedule: Swim lessons. Gym time. Socially-distanced birthday lunch for a friend. This felt huge!
Glancing back over the last six months of posts, it’s easy to question why I kept filling it out. But it was one piece of normalcy I could anchor myself to, while everything around me changed by the minute.
I’ve seen memes starting to circulate on Facebook: “Not buying a 2021 planner until I can see a trailer for next year.” But for me, even if next year looks exactly like this one (which, please God, no) I’ll still be placing my planner order, and filling it out every single day, no matter how mundane my entries may seem.