Working Mom Life: The "New Normal"​ Was Kicking My Butt, Here's What I Did About It

My Wall Calendar & Paper Planner Are Back In My Life After A 5 Year Break Up

Recently I said hello again to some old friends. They go by different names these days. Filo Fax or Franklin Covey, among others, were their names back in the day. Then there were the wall calendars from the local bank or insurance agency. These days with nothing is going as planned, the “new normal” was kicking my butt and I was missing my old friends.

I love to plan. Time management and good habits are something I have really had to work at and using a planner was not always my strength. In my career, I coach others and there is no better way to learn a subject than by putting it in to practice yourself. Participating in and subsequently delivering training on time management, my habits improved. My ability to plan improved. Devoting time to what was most important to me and my values first improved. It was never perfect but the intention and attention to making the most of my days were there. Eventually, my planners and wall calendars were not working for me and I switched over to digital calendar and planning methods.

Then came work from home …. And virtual school. The whole pandemic ball of wax really.

If you are like me when plans started being canceled left and right this past spring, I cast my much-honed way of planning aside. The switch flipped in March/April and that’s when things really started going off the rails. What day is it? What time is it? Without the structure of a regular workday and school day, sports and a social calendar time got fuzzy. Good habits got broken and bad habits formed. It was fun for a while. It reminded me of the time in my childhood when school was canceled for 2 weeks because of a blizzard. And then it wasn’t fun anymore and I just started feeling blah.

It was time to get back on track. But how? My search for a solution led me down a number of rabbit holes. There are so many options for keeping track of schedules, habits, self-care, meal planning, and budgets … you could fill your phone with apps. And I did.  As I tried app after app (One Calendar, Calendar, Noom, Calm, Digit) … the list goes on and it became dizzying having so many places to check and check-in. There had to be a simpler solution.

I had my “A-Ha!” moment a few weeks ago: I needed to go back to my old friends the paper planner and the wall calendar.

Choosing these items could be another rabbit hole, there are so many to choose from. I kept it simple thought and went back to my favorite planner, Passion Planner. It’s the one I used most successfully, and they happen to make a version that follows the academic calendar. For the wall calendar, I stepped up my game a little and bought a quarterly one in a nice frame. Those ones from banks and insurance companies are hard to come by these days!

It's early days with my old friends back in the mix so the habit of planning on a paper planner and wall calendar is still being formed. So far so good and I do still use some digital methods, just not the huge number of apps I tried out.

The nice side benefit of a paper planner is the creative and artistic things you can do with a few colorful pens and sticky notes. This is a time that probably should be chronicled and I have also been noting some current events in my planner. It will be interesting to look back on the 2020 - 2021 years. As a mom, I have 2 ways I look at time, the calendar year and the school year. Heading into this school year my trusty paper and pen feel like they provide some solid footing in this crazy, pandemic ridden world. Thanks old friends.

How are you making the most of your time during this "new normal"? I'd love to hear from you!

© 2023 by Train of Thoughts. Proudly created with