02 September 2015

Make a new plan, Stan

Back when I lived in Nashville and frequented local indie rock shows, I played an album from this band on repeat for a few months. One of the songs was a catchy little tune that repeated the phrase, “Did Monday morning hit at you like a ton of bricks?” And since then, any time I get overwhelmed, that ditty lodges in my brain. On repeat. Turned up to 11.

So that’s what’s up with me lately! Because yeah. This back-to-school business, it is kicking my tail. Other bloggers are talking about how sending their kids back to school feels like things are back to normal. I, on the other hand, am flipping out over all this newfound responsibility over students and events while also raising a baby. Oh yeah, and my summertime house husband can’t do everything around the house anymore.

In these times, the only thing that helps me feel like I have control over the situation is planning ahead. I need order, and schedules, and labels, and everything planned out for my week ahead. Evernote is great for these things, and I live and die by my Google Calendar. But sometimes I need a visual cue out all the time, so don’t even have to remember to check whether I’ve already given it some thought.

In other words, I have recently expanded our dry erase board collection.

Well, they’re not exactly dry erase boards. They’re basic glass picture frames, which are totally suitable for turning into your own custom dry erase board. I first showed you this one way back in my thesis-writing room, when I had but one item with which to concern myself.

That little one has now become this one in our foyer, onto which I write down important dates. It’s perfectly located not just by our door, but by the master bedroom, so it’s the first thing I see when I leave our bedroom.

But the recent expansion in list-making boards started when I got these markers:

Ultra-fine dry erase markers! I cannot say enough good things about these. They feel like writing with a fine-tip Sharpie, but on dry erase boards. I love them and want to buy eleventy more, for no good reason other than I’m just such a fan.

These fine-tip markers let me upgrade our menu board, which I’ve been using practically every dang week since I wrote about it three and a half years ago .

(Does anyone else appreciate how I complain about my current green kitchen when I'd painted my old Nashville kitchen... green? Just wondered.)

With a tiny new roommate who has different and expanding dietary needs, I wanted a place to write down our meals, his meals, and notes for things I have made or want to make. That calls for an 8x10” frame, baby!

Ok, I do appreciate that looks moderately insane. But as a new mom trying to figure out what to do now that offering boobs just isn’t enough, it’s really nice to assess what food I have and write it down, all at once. That way, I don’t have to wonder what to make Baby P for breakfast or pack him for lunch every day. Instead, I can go on kitchen autopilot when it comes to making meals for the rest of the week – just as I’ve done for years with our own meal plan.

Better yet, this ensures that Baby P won’t eat the same thing over and over just because I am uninspired and brain-dead. He might even eat nutritionally balanced meals! Fancy that!

So now I’ve got boards for important dates and meals, and the only thing left is...? Yes. Dressing myself.

I don’t do What I Wore posts anymore, but that doesn’t mean I don’t try to dress like a competent grownup every day. It doesn’t come totally automatically, though, and because I spend my mornings with Baby P, I can’t try on a dozen outfits until I find one that works. This schedule lets me check my calendar and make sure I know to dress appropriately on days with important meetings or presentations.

Is all this planning ahead a little silly? Maybe. Does it save me time and brainpower throughout my week? Oh heck yes. It’s worth it.

So, dear readers, if you too are struggling with this whole back-to-school business, might I suggest ordering a few markers (they are glorious!) and digging out a spare photo frame? Then this weekend, plan out all those things that take up your time during the day, write them down, and NEVER THINK ABOUT THEM AGAIN. It’s like expanding your brain’s storage space! Which I clearly, desperately need, as my brain is still full of decade-old indie pop songs that play at full volume in my head.


Tina said...

Going to town today on a hunt for some ultra-fine dry erase markers. I'm positive they will not make my life as organized as yours but after years and years of living by the book (my Daytimer, that is) I find that I still need the visuals to motivate me more than to get organized. Besides, I have a large pretty gold frame that just makes me happy everytime I look at it. :-)