Why Everyone Needs a Planning Day (and suggestions of how to spend it)

My friend Brandi does not share my enthusiasm for planning. Last year when I told her that I was having a “planning day” for the new year, she said, “Ugh!! Yuck! I’d hate that!!” in about the same tone as if I told her I’d served lizard for breakfast.

I thought it was a brilliant idea. I heard of it here at Keeper of the Home from Erin at the Humbled Homemaker. She calls hers a “New Year’s Planning Retreat,” which sounds a little more mountain cabin-y and cozy, and less teacher-work-day than my “planning day.” But whatever floats your boat. 🙂

Having tried it, and now, a year later, I still think it’s a brilliant idea. Here’s why:

  • You get to get out of the house, and to cuddle a nice, warm drink. Not a cold drink, not a re-heated drink, but a real, live, first-time around-hot drink. ahhhh… And maybe even a muffin! Or a ciabatta!
  • If you have children, your husband gets to experience what it’s like to be mom for three hours. (He’ll kiss your feet when you’re home, your children will kiss your feet, and all members will have a new appreciation for their individual daily routines.)
  • You can complete a list, a book, heck, even a thought, without being interrupted by nagging household chores or someone’s bowel movements. (Unless they’re yours. Just being real yo.)
  • You can think, and pray, and plan. Which is something everyone needs to do!
 What person wouldn’t benefit from an hour or two to think about the upcoming year, with time to make a few goals or wishes?

We all would! Working women, moms-to-be, full-time businessmen (hint, hint, Dad and Todd!), overwhelmed and nursing new moms, grandmas, pastors, whoever! That verse about not having a vision and failing…it’s right!

Why I Need It

Sometimes I just feel like a gerbil, on a wheel, racing and about to die of a heart attack like my sister’s hamster, Chip. Maybe not quite that bad.

But it’s like life just keeps going, and going, and I’d love a chance to stop and catch my breath. To think about what’s working in my life (that might be brief) and what isn’t. To ask God what he wants for us. To make a schedule and adopt a routine.

I do realize, though, that not all of you get giddy and have heart palpitations when you hear the word “goal-setting.” If you’re not like me, I have taken the liberty of given you the briefest of outlines (because I know you types aren’t excited about outlines, either…freaks! jk.) for what you can do on this planning day:

coffee shop

photo by Carlos Paes

If you’re not a planner…

  • Go somewhere different and pleasant for you. A friend’s warm sun room (I’m thinking an older friend, without kids, ya know?), Panera, a coffee shop, a mountain cabin, whatever!
  • When you sit down, ask God to be with you in your time. Thank Him for one thing about this year. Then tell him something else that disappointed or worries you.
  • Next, spend at least ten minutes thinking about what you’d love to do in the next year. Bonus points if you write them down. When the ten minutes are up, buy yourself a strudel as a treat for being so orderly.
  • Choose one item from the next list that SORT OF interests you, and think about that one, too.

The Thinks You Can Think

Now, if you are a “planning-type,” you have a kindred spirit here! Since I know you will be counting down the days to your planning day (and, dare I say, planning for your planning day) here are some options for your to consider for how you could use this time:

  • Roles and goals. We did this when I was a Young Life leader in college, and I still remember, because it was  so helpful. You list out your various roles in life (for me: household, mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, church member, neighbor, blogger, organizer of finances, etc. etc.) Then you jot down two or three things you’d like to do or change for the next year.
  • Year verse/mission statement. Spend some time locating and meditating on a passage that’s *yours* for the next year. If you’re artsy, make a cute little card to place on the fridge.
  • Write down the names of the people closest to you. Think about each person. How can you serve him? What does she need? How could you pray for that person this year?
  • Create a schedule! (another fun, fun word for us nerds!) Perhaps your life needs a cleaning schedule, or a meal plan, or routine for your kids! You could use this time to “catch up” on things like this you’ve been needing in your life.
  • Spend some time reading a book. Not just any book, but a motivating and helpful one. For me, I’d read this new one by Sally Clarkson and Sarah Mae, or this one about homeschooling, or this one about childbirth. Not that I’m pregnant. Future reference. 🙂
  • Let your mind be blank, and wander a bit, and listen to the Lord. This one is a little scary-sounding. Weird, even. But I know at least in my life stage, I don’t often spend time listening to the Lord. Maybe he has something he’d like to tell you!

3 thoughts on “Why Everyone Needs a Planning Day (and suggestions of how to spend it)

  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of a planning day. My problem is I am obsessed with lists and order but I often do not follow along with my lists and routines I make up. I think I am obsessed with the idea of being so organized LOL. But I am going to be taking a planning day.

  2. Pingback: One more plug for planning day (and how I spent mine) | Smartter Each Day

  3. Pingback: One more plug for planning day (and how I spent mine)

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