My planner is one of the few type ‘A’ things that I ascribe to. So many people these days use their phones to organize their life but I find it far too tempting to hop from the calendar app to Instagram and down a blackhole of photo’s, stories, and food porn. So I stick with my old-school pen-to-paper Planner.
In Albania so many things are done sporadicly and often in a huge three day stress-filled countdown having, coffee-consuming, survivor-style way and I have learned that I am not into that sort of lifestyle. Yes, everything seems to get accomplished but I don’t love the surprise of the success. I like boring. At least in the professional aspects of my life. I hope to never again wait till the last minute to throw together a lesson.
This is where my planner comes in. I get asked all kinds of requests on a semi-daily basis and I like to be able to pull out my planner and see if I can commit to what’s being asked of me. Sometimes I have no choice, like if I have a training to attend, but I try to prioritize my work with students and the local Municipality which I’ve been working with more and more (some on that later).
Peace in the Corps
My planner is the one place where the chaos of Peace Corps can be gathered, arranged, and placed pleasingly into lists and onto dates. It’s a beautiful array of activities, goals, and chores. Since it IS Albania the days and lists are often more aspirational than they are hard and fast rules; however, I always come away with a sense of peace after sitting down to organize my upcoming week.
Since many of these ‘To do’s’ on the paper often manage to slide through the weeks (my plumber has been a no show for a week now), I have realized that I need to add a few things that I am in total control over. For example, I have decided to take part in a workout challenge that I have been faithfully completing. I have also fallen in love with Duolingo’s goal reward chests…I am a toddler, I know. I am visibly excited when I get to choose which treasure chest, and my day can be ruined when that dang bird congratulates me on the 1!!!!! Gem I just won. That’s BS Duo. How am I gonna get that Idioms extra practice if you insist on playing these games?
The Search For a Planner in Albania
ANYWAY, as I accrue more and more work (which is great and also a little daunting), my planner has become more and more vital. It is a bit crazy having so many associations, committees, and clubs to work with…but I definitely like it more than not having anything to do. I’m still learning how much time (and coffee) I need for each task, but practice makes perfect.
I am a bit of a freak when it comes to the planners layout. If it doesn’t have a weekly ‘to do,’ ‘to call/email,’ ‘goal,’ and ‘notes’ section you can expect me to drop that piece of cellulose garbage and continue my search for a ‘suitable’ planner. Target used to partner with Sugar Paper Co. and those planners were PERFECT in every way! they even had a monthly goal/planning page after the calendar view! These humans have figured life out. Truly, if I had the money to buy their legit planners I would. This year however, I was 4,500 miles away from the closest Target, and thus, my options limited (my humans back home expressed trepidation at the task of selecting an appropriate book…why? am I picky?).
And then, out of nowhere, my wonderful fellow Volunteer offered to pick one out for me when she headed back to the states! She even put up with a FaceTime chat where I was able to inspect the planners via her patient, and saintly hands. I settled on a ‘BlueSky’ (in case you’re on the edge of your seats about this) Planner which is acceptable. It lacks the detailed, thoughtful layout of my past planners..Target, if you’re listening I IMPLORE you to reconsider your relationship with Sugar Paper…..They’re beautiful and perfect (and let’s be honest, we all wanted to buy every part of their collection).
I’m not entirely certain what I’ll do for next years planner but I’ll meet that hurtle when I get to it.
The Volunteer Reporting Form is one of the most disliked and reviled documents you may ever hope to fill out…and it’s due the same day as taxes…coincidence? My planner is my secret weapon against this unwieldy beast. I may have forgotten what day I did that event, or when to that training, but you can bet your bottom dollar my planner remembers. Often, the few coded words I have thrown on the pages will send me right back to those lessons and I am able to confidently fill out that looming document that is the VRF.
So here’s to the unsung hero that is the Planner, and let’s drink to it because I’ll need a little pick-me-up for this VRF.