I thought that something was wrong with me because I enjoyed switching planners and systems seemingly every few months. 

What I realized, is that I use it as a strategic coping method and never took the time to give myself the benefit of the doubt.

I was texting with some friends the other week and I noticed that we are usually rotating between three main phases of life. Both predictable and unexpected, mixed with good and bad.

Some of my friends were struggling and some had a handle on what was going on.

Let’s talk about it.

First, here are the three main life seasons/phases that I noticed.

1. The Lazy River If someone catches you at the right moment you may even confidently say that you have got this thing called “life” under control.
2 – Status quo It’s fine. Dinner is being made, the kids are showing up to their activities on time and you even manage a date night, it’s just fine.
3 – Overload It’s all just too much. The “too much” can be good or bad! But whatever it is, it is simply too much to manage and you feel like you are one step from the edge.

Okay…. so now what?

The most important thing to realize is that whatever phase you are in, whatever you are going through, you do not treat it all the same.

There will be times when you can take on a new project or volunteer and then there will be times that you will be solely focused on yourself and your family.

The same goes for your planning system. There are times when you can sit down and plan in depth. There will be other times when you need to be able to record only what absolutely needs to happen and you need to have access to it wherever you are.

For me, that looks like switching between a weekly paper view, a paper daily view, and only using my Google Calendar. My goal is to always use all three, but that simply can not happen in every phase of life. So I use what works for me that particular day.

Floating on a Lazy River?

Get the project list out and start tackling them. Do you need to deep clean? Now is the time! Take time to stock up on pantry staples, batch cook freezer meals, and budget out for the next few months. 

In Status quo?

Start keeping a list of everything you do during the day. Made a Dr. appointment? Write it down. Paid a bill? Write it down. Grocery shopped? Yup! Write it down. You are going to evaluate what you can cut from your list of responsibilities to get you can spend more time on that lazy river.


You do what you need to do and everything else can wait. Yes, that means ignoring all the Spring Cleaning posts and checklists. There is no deep cleaning happening at your house!

Do you see yourself in one of these phases more than another?

The first step to planning a life that you love is to recognize what phases you are in and how you manage them.

Top 3 things to note:

  • How often do you rotate in and out of these stages and does anything specific trigger it? Busy times at work, sports season, health issues?
  • What do you do well? Adjust laundry schedule, pick easy-to-cook meals?
  • What things do you struggle with? Do you say yes to more in an already busy time, not ask for help?

Keep a note open on your phone or carry a small notebook to write down what you observe this week. 

You are not trying to change anything! Just take note of your life. Good, bad, and ugly. 

I would love to share what you notice in the comments below. Everyone’s experience is always such a help to others as well!