I am planner homeless! I should probably not make light of homelessness. I apologize.

To rephrase: My 2020 planner ended two days ago, having generously tacked on the first three days of 2021 to finish out the week. And I am now without a planner, because every year, I skid into the Christmas season with a million pending projects to ‘just wrap up before the holidays’ and push choosing next year’s planner until after the holidays. And so every year I am planner-less for the first couple of weeks of the year.

I mean, total first-world problems, obviously – I can (and do) just rig up a little calendar on a blank sheet of paper (once I got really fancy and printed out a specifically formatted page from MS Word – thanks Microsoft!) and wait patiently. However… isn’t there an Einstein quote that says something about repeating the same actions and expecting different results being the definition of stupidity or some such? I feel like I’ve definitely seen that on a t-shirt at some point.

So… if I want different results, the way to obtain those would be to have a different strategy, right? So. When I do receive my new planner, here are some things I’m planning to strategically place right in it to remind myself of some processes that always sneak up on me and cause me stress when they could just be dealt with in a timely manner:

  • Buying a planner: probably start this in mid-November. Before the holidays even get started.
  • Buying Christmas presents: similarly… try to push this into November. Or at least have planned what to order/buy before the end of November. This could be greatly helped if I were better about jotting down ideas that come to me while talking to people right away when I get off the phone (or whatever) with them. I do actually do this at least some times, but definitely could be better. Ooh, I could dedicate a planner page to it! Yes! Good plan, self.
  • Filing taxes (in the US): Admittedly, I have very frequently been ready and raring to go with this by February, and have been thwarted by missing 1099 forms and the mental exhaustion of hunting those down. Freelance is fun! Yay! That said, I have at least a glimmer of hope that this might be the year where I will reap the benefits of all my previous years of 1099-hunting. Perhaps they will all come in January (perhaps online, even!) like they’re supposed to, and I can use some gloomy February days to get this over with, rather than wasting precious potentially beautiful spring hours.
  • Buying my flights home: I usually go back to the US twice a year (August-ish and Christmas) and I have this ridiculous way of procrastinating actually booking the tickets by telling myself that I “just need to wait for the date of xyz work-related thing to be published” before I’m sure. Spoiler alert: I don’t have the type of job where pretty much any dates are completely impossible to move. Side note: you want to know something ironic? 2020 was the first year where I had booked my summer trip by the end of January. The one where my boyfriend was supposed to come with me to meet my family, etc. Ha. Thanks, 2020, for knocking me right back off my self-satisfied perch. (We had also booked a little March trip to Jordan that was our Christmas present for each other.) Obviously, both were later cancelled. But… I mean… in a non-catastrophe-flavored year… I feel like it would’ve worked out really nicely to have things planned in advance so well! Sigh. That said… I’m going to maybe not implement this particular ambition yet for 2021.

Anyway, for now, I’m going to watch the snow come down (snow!!) and get to work on my translation projects for the day… while checking them off of the utter mess I’ve made of the last page of my 2020 planner trying to make up for the fact that I don’t have anywhere to put this coming week. Seems on-brand for 2020, though, right? So there’s that.

** Photo: in which I repurpose the password list page as a ten-day emergency planner so I can at least write down when translations are due and when any pressing appointments are (e.g. the dermatologist! Perhaps my flakey eyelid can be cured and no longer be flakey!)

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