Thyme & Time Again

I used to feel like time was getting away from me until I started scheduling self-care into my days—yoga, meditation, long walks, reading, etc.—and honoring those commitments like I would with any other appointment.

I’ve always enjoyed pens, pencils, and paper. So it’s no surprise that I use a physical planner (as opposed to the one on my iPhone), and color code it with highlighters and Washi tape. This way, I can see what’s what in a glance.

I happen to love my Passion Planner. It’s an appointment calendar, goal-setting guide, journal, sketchbook, gratitude log, and has personal and work ta-dah lists all in one notebook.

[bctt tweet=”How do you keep track of your life?” username=”@TuesWithLaurie”]

How do you keep track of your life?


86 thoughts on “Thyme & Time Again

  1. Using a physical planner is my go-to as well, my last hold-out against becoming totally digital.

    My planner is a simpler version of yours, and I use color only if I have two events on the same day, or if I want to highlight something very special. My color palette is blue, black, red, and green, what my French pen offers. No tape for this gal, though I see the value in your snapshot.

    No wonder you get so much done, Laurie!

  2. I would be lost without my ‘engagement calendar’….it’s a weekly planner. It lies flat on my desk at home, shows a week at a time with plenty of space of write. It also shows current and next month on the sidebar. I can write my notes and turn the page to keep doctor appointment cards in the proper week. Makes me look super-efficient!

  3. Your planner looks immaculate. It truly does feel like time is slipping away when we don’t do the things that ground us. I love to read, exercise and change my surroundings frequently to stay mindful

  4. I have a calendar at my desk and a family calendar downstairs by the phone, so must keep the two in sync for anything requiring the one car my husband and I share. I also maintain a ToDo List saved to the cloud so I can access it from any of my computers. I like the idea of color coding appointments versus writing-related projects, versus small ToDo reminders and may have to adopt that tool. I might need to go to a comprehensive planner if I decide to go forward with a couple of big projects I’m considering. We’ll see…

  5. One of the glories of retirement is being able to lose the calendars and time restraints that used to hedge in my life. I have time to make time, to plan, change plans, execute plans at my discretion without disrupting the lives of others. I keep a wall calendar for important dates and appointments because this is still a going concern here, I don’t want to miss a tune-up from my Doctor! In other words, I could say that I have unstructured time now, finally, that I can devote to whichever project I am burning up to dive into at the time. Right now it’s the stock tank water garden with fish and solar fountains splashing, my grandchildren think I am magic!

  6. You are super organized. I keep upcoming events or appointments on a wall calendar, and write almost daily to-do lists on various notebook papers, which I then throw away when done. Oh and eek: upon the advice of a friend at the wellness center, I started a “retirement journal” on my computer which I was keeping up quite well, but now I just realized I’ve been AWOL for two weeks–and you’ll see why I was preoccupied in a few upcoming blog/column posts. 🙂 Thanks for getting me back to it!

    • Melodie — I’m so glad this post reminded you of the retirement journal that needs entries.

      I’m looking forward to your up-and-coming posts where you’ll reveal what’s kept you preoccupied 🙂

  7. I just use my smart phone for appointments and reminders. When I have big projects like a book tour, I get a giant post-it pad so that I can lay out the whole thing. I also bought a vinyl year-at-a-glance calendar with year with markers. I also keep a to-do list in my journal when I have lots of things to remember or need to break down large tasks into smaller ones.

  8. I write the few appointments I have on my wall calendar and in my phone calendar. Monthly reminders, like heart worm for Shasta, go in the phone. For things that need to be done, I attached a whiteboard to the front of my fridge.

  9. I’ve been relying more and more on my Google Calendar online with a paper backup on my office door. As a third layer of “security” I inherited from my dad the practice of sticking post-it notes or small pieces of note paper to conspicuous places like my computer screen or the phone to triple remind me of an event, task, or appointment. Even then, I still forget things on occasion. 😦


  10. I love my Passion Planner too! I need white space and blank pages, and reminders to focus on the positive things that happen in my life. I need to schedule more self-care into my life too. Thanks for the reminder!

  11. For years – DECADES – I’ve ordered a Mary Engelbreit desk calendar by September for the next year. 2019’s calendar is called “Life is a balancing act” (each year Engelbreit chooses a different theme). Each week includes a quote and a cute Engelbreit painting on one side, and seven boxes for each day of the week on the other side of the planner. I adore it because I can list my day’s activities on each day’s box as well as list birthdays/anniversaries/ etc. so I don’t miss them. The quote for this week is “Life is a game, play it; life is a challenge, meet it; life is an opportunity, capture it.” I hope to NEVER go digital for my planner. I need to see my plans up front and on my kitchen counter as soon as I start the day. 🙂 Yours is very organized. The organizer in me bows to the organizer in you. xo

  12. Laurie, like you and many others I know, I prefer the physical and tangible planner over a digital planner on my phone or computer. I don’t use the one you share here, but I do purchase a yearly planner with plenty of white space for notes and to do’s. It lays out flat on my desk and that’s something I treasure–being able to look at the entire week in a glance. Thanks for this post.

  13. Hi Laurie,

    My laptop contains all the non-spontaneous things.
    Anything I need to do in the future goes into outlook’s calendar, and is then forgotten, until I look at it the evening before.

    That way, while very busy, there is a great deal of novelty in the gaps.

    6am – off to a meeting in Christchurch.

  14. It’s a little challenging. I work with 2 orgs with online calendars and will soon be adding my own online coaching practice calendar.
    So, although it could combine it all on a google calendar, I choose a paper calendar.
    This year I am trying the Panda Calendar (designed by a veteran). It has a monthly calendar with room for monthly goals; weekly planning pages with spaces for prior wk big wins, how I’ll improve, planning coming week, projects, and top goals.The daily pages has designed spaces for gratitudes, excited about, affirmations, today’s priorities, projects tasks and schedule.
    There are open pages in the back.
    I do my passion and major project planning separately, store in a binder, and integrate into the panda planner!
    I have been using paper planners since the early Franklin Planner days!

    • Audrey — The Panda Planner you use sounds ideal! And I love that you work on your passion and major project planning in a separate binder.

      I remember the Franklin Covey classes I took back in the day at Hewitt Associates. That system worked well for me for many, many years.

  15. Like you Laurie I use a print planner – a daily – one page for each day. And each night before going to bed I enter what I hope to do the next day. With a ruler I draw a line right down the middle of the page (or as close to the middle as I can get it) – and on the left I put “Biz” which is for my writing, editing, writing teaching and book promo. The left is headed with “Other” although I would like to change the title. My problem is I hope to do too much, so do make changes sometimes the next morning. I’m working on trying to keep it realistic. However, all the snafus etc.with health issues unexpectedly acting up and other unwelcome interruptions, well… So I try to prioritize. And I am making changes on the “:Other: side for self-care. My garden is my inspiration. I try to spend time first thing in the the morning outside – first breakfast at the patio table, then a little gardening, then sometimes I go for a walk if the weather will get hot and humid later. I’ve even started sitting outside under a tree on weekends to read part of a book and last Saturday I went to a meditation class. Although it wasn’t my type of meditation, it still was good. Now if I could just get to bed earlier and get more sleep!!! Anybody have any suggestions for that one?

  16. Timely topic for me, Laurie. I loved my Franklin Covey planner back when I worked full time. Loved (and learned) how all my notes were in one place. Even had there tri-color pen. But I find it impossible to find them online for replacement parts. Very sad. I’ve been using a Levenger planner for my blog (ironic, I realize). But everything else is on my phone. I share a grocery list app and a calendar app with my husband and love that. And I’m forever adding ideas to the Notes app that came with my iPhone. But if one of your readers knows if Franklin Covey is still in business, it would truly make my week.

  17. I used to use a paper planner when I worked for the church – so many meetings so little time! The same for when doing counseling work. My partner still uses a paper calendar and he does use colored pens – even though retired – sort of. Since my fall and all the nerve damage and new growth I have to keep mega records to heal my body. 2.5 hours of exercise a day – aerobic or movement or stretching. The Blood Pressure 3 times and day and EKG 2 x a day and blood sugars and then Ketosis and at least 4 more things. I start everyday with 90 minutes of meditation and poetry. I color code and use the computer and my iPhone at least 10 times a day! My new monitors also Bluetooth records and numbers to my cell phone and that has cut at least 30 minutes our of my life and that gives me more time to read, which I average 4 hours everyday. The nice thing about the Bluetooth record keeping now my medical team does not think or suggest that I am lying or cheating. I also take pictures of what I am eating for those who are old school. I have come a long way BABY! Now if we all could put our heads together and understand why my body has stopped burning fat – I would be very, very happy.

  18. I could never use a digital planner, Laurie. It’s too much fun checking things off. I’m a major paper planner. I actually get excited for the new year and the fun I’ll have shopping for a new planner. Yes, I’m a nerd that way. 🙂

  19. I use the calendar on my phone with success but I do like your idea of color coding. Would you mind sharing what the different colors mean? I know you mentioned it at the retreat but I didn’t write it down. Thanks, Laurie

    • Rose — I use:
      soft pink for social media
      soft blue for writing
      green for client time
      yellow for watching my granddaughter
      bright raspberry for appointments (i.e., dentist, haircut, etc.)
      lavender for self-care (yoga, meditation, walking, etc.)

  20. Hi Laurie, I know from your books that you are a minimalist and it’s intriguing that you curate your time in this way with the tape and all. I swoon with deep resistance against both minimalism and the passion planner style. I’ve tried over the decades many styles of keeping track. While I was running a guttering business I had to have my Daytimer brand calendar at the 1-page-for-a-day style. But now that I’ve got a desk job I’ve got a blend that sort of works, and nothing will ever prevent me from forgetting that appointment at 7pm on a weekday. So, now I have a bound notebook for dreams and diary entries that I keep at bedside. I use Google calendar both at work and for personal life and I also have a digital DAKboard. The DAKboard is a DIY calendar tool that allows me to display the entries I post to the Google DAKboard calendar up on a computer monitor mounted near the back door. So I have 3 Google calendars across 2 Google accounts to keep work and family events separate. I still have that Daytimer but have switched to 1-month-spreads plus a hand written backup copy of my phone number contacts. Good for international travel and when you don’t have any access to internet. And Dream Journals!!!!

  21. Oh Laurie, would you believe it, in my last position at a Natl. Lab in the communications dept. I had to keep track of how I spent my time down to 15 minute increments so I could recharge the correct task in our timekeeping system at the end of the week. Since I was quite terrible at doing that because I could switch between (up to) 8 different task numbers per day and ~30 per week, I got in the habit of writing the task I was doing into a daytimer that broke down the day into half hour increments, in real time. It was the only thing that allowed me to turn in my timesheets promptly. Me, an artist! How difficult! I have satisfaction at the end of the days now that I have a different job because at least I don’t have to recharge my time down to every 15 minutes!

  22. Jessica — I can relate. When I was in the corporate world, we too, had to track our time in units of 15 minutes so we could charge our time correctly to whichever client project we were working on. That was NOT pleasant. At all.

  23. I bullet journal…the long version. I make my own daily pages, weekly planner, monthly task and activity tracker, plus pages for books I’ve read or want to read, go-to grocery or recipe lists, bits of inspiration, etc, etc. It’s more work to set it up than a purchased model, but I was never completely satisfied with any of the ready-made versions. I’ve been doing it this way for more than four years now, and it suits me.

  24. I keep a planner as well, though not as extended as yours is. Every evening I write down what I would like to accomplish the following day. I try to keep the list short and to the point which allows me plenty of time left to read, relax, cook, or take a walk. It’s extremely helpful. I don’t like planning every minute of the day. It leaves me feeling restricted in some way.

  25. I have a day-planner, that’s really just a ratty old notebook that I’ve marked out with four days to a page. I also have what I call my ‘night-notes’ clipboard that leans against the side of my bed, for easy in-the-dark access with a little LED light clipped to it, for all those thoughts, writerly and tasks-I-must-do, that occur when one is falling asleep or just waking up and knows that if one does not write them down they will self-destruct in 15 seconds. Such notes are then transferred to the dayplanner or WIP, or wherever they need to be. 🙂

  26. I too am an old-fashioned girl and use a paper planner. I think better seeing the whole week. Plus I don’t trust my phone to not loose something.

    My friends laugh at me but when I’ve written in a date in a second and they’re struggling with their phones they aren’t laughing anymore.I do try not to act smug though.

  27. My life is never on track Laurie 🤭😊 However, how I cope with with events in life that I find a trifle difficult is , I write everything down that I can possibly see could happen before , during and after , and as they unfold , I draw a line through with different coloured felt pens . When the event is over I rip out the page , screw it up and put it in the bin and shout hallelujah 😂

  28. My Sierra Club desk weekly planner with a beautiful photo on each page that I look forward to with each new week. I do EVERYTHING electronically so people are always surprised when I say I have to look at my desk planner when I get home before making a commitment!

  29. Laurie, I have had good luck using several Google Calendars. I schedule things for myself, but also have a few shared calendars where I enter things for other people. As much as I love the fact that I can see it online on my computer and phone…I still like having a paper print out, like you. I color code things with highlighters when I print. 🙂 KC

  30. I’m still partial to a planner as well, but I do hope to change things up now that I have to start planning classroom lessons again. Still though, for initial big-picture stuff, I always find working on paper for brain storms to be quite satisfying.

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