Finding My Purpose in Sacred, Ordinary Days

If you’ve ever read this blog before, you know how important organization and planning is to me. Meal planning, scheduling, calendaring, whatever you want to call all the things- I love them. Organization and time management tools are my love language. Anything to help me feel like a better wife, more intentional mother, and saner human.

The past few years have been a journey for me, as I’ve lost a son, had another son, and moved across the globe to Rwanda. It’s been like pouring miracle grow on all of my flaws and it’s fast-tracked my quest to figure myself out and learn about my personality. Through this crazy season, spiritual disciplines and liturgy have become an integral part of my daily life, and very well may have saved my faith.

Along the way, I came across the Sacred Ordinary Days planner. Now, I’ve been a devoted Simplified Planner user for years (and still highly recommend the SP to everyone), but the SOD planner seemed to meet me where I am right now: still needing the organization and intentionality of a daily planner, but wanting to infuse that with my spiritual life. I haven’t been disappointed.

A mutual friend connected me with Jenn, the creator of the Sacred Ordinary Days planner, and she kindly sent some goodies my way! I’ve been using them for a few weeks now, and I’m excited to share my thoughts with you, because I think these planners will be a really great tool for so many of you.

First of all: these planners are BEAUTIFUL. They are hard-bound and the colors and designs are just gorgeous. I particularly love the inside covers- on the front, a visual representation of the liturgical year, and on the back, a finger prayer labyrinth. I need to take advantage of that one more! Maybe I’ll start using it for morning meditation…

The planner is set up so that each day, Monday-Saturday, is it’s own page. At the top of each page are readings from the daily lectionary, which reflect back on the readings from the past Sunday and look forward to the readings for the coming Sunday. As our priest preaches from the same lectionary, this is a perfect way to keep in tune with what I’m hearing on Sunday mornings. I love this!

Each day has an open-format list and schedule portion, and then a section at the top where you identify your three main priorities for the day. I’m used to having an already-laid-out schedule portion and a to-do list with boxes to check, so this threw me at first. How do I use this? Where do I write what’s for dinner?

I think the beauty of this planner is that it can function however you need it to function. I started using the list section for my to do list, and crossing things off as they were finished. The gap at the bottom is now where I write our dinner plans. It works for me- it may look different for your needs!

The top of the page- where you identify your priorities for the day- might be my favorite part. At first, I was hesitant- how do I pick three? Or prioritize one over the other? But I started thinking about my PowerSheets, and how they help me create my “most successful day/week/month” and create lists of things I want to accomplish to feel healthy and productive- and I started applying the same principle to my priorities list. I ask myself each morning, “If I only accomplish three things today, what should they be for me to end the day feeling healthy and successful?”

Sometimes those things are concrete- writing this blog, for instance. Other times, they are more abstract- celebrating a friend’s birthday well, making my husband feel loved, being intentional with my time with my daughter. Each priority has a “cue” and a “reward” section, too- I love rewards- so this has been fun to get the hang of.

Your “cue” is when you know to start on that priority- so, that might be 10am, or that might be “when I receive this email from this person”. It’s what you need it to be. We don’t always have a set start time for each task, so this lets us have fluidity while also understanding how our day needs to go.

Your “reward” is whatever you need it to be, too- sometimes, it’s an intrinsic reward that comes from finishing a task, like a clean home after you wash the dishes. Other times, you may want to set an actual reward for yourself- watching one episode of The Office after you clean the kitchen, for example. I’m highly motivated by gifts and rewards, so this works well for me.

At the end of each week, there is a Sabbath spread- which is designed to be Sundays, but the layout leaves it up to you when you practice the Sabbath (Saturdays often work best for us, because church is a circus). The Sabbath spread leads you through the Ignatian practice of Examen- looking at your life from 7 different angles and identifying how you’re doing (and how you can improve) in each of those areas. I have found this to be an immensely helpful spiritual practice, as have many others for hundreds of years 🙂

Now, a few notes about this planner: it’s big and a little heavy. Not crazy, but like a small coffee table book. If you’re someone who likes to carry your planner around with you, this may not be the best choice- though, it’s so beautiful you may not mind 🙂 I like to keep my planner at home in my “command zone” of my living room- and because it lives there and doesn’t travel with me throughout the day, this works perfectly. An idea, though: the SOD Liturgical Year Weekly Planner is a smaller, more streamlined version and would be a perfect companion to keep with you, to write appointments and reminders in throughout the day. You could then copy everything into your larger planner at the beginning of the day (or night before) when you identify your priorities.

Which leads me to the next point: This is a planner best used with a daily quiet and planning time. It certainly doesn’t have to be, but for me, it feels like it wants to be sat down with a cup of tea and reflected over at the beginning of each day. When I get a chance to use it in this way, it’s beautiful- but, honestly, that’s just not how it always happens. Motherhood doesn’t always afford me a quiet 15, 10, even 5 minutes in the morning to do my daily readings and identify my priorities for the day. But I LOVE that I have the option if I want it- and I try to do it the best I can.

On the whole- this is a tool that I am THRILLED to use, and highly recommend if you are wanting more of your spiritual practices infused in  your planning. The Sacred Ordinary Days Planner is incredibly intentional, beautiful, and will be a treasure for your soul!

PS- The new Liturgical Year Planners (starting with this coming Advent) are now available for preorder, and they are gorgeous! RUN and grab yours! 

Note: I was sent planners to review at no cost to me, but all opinions are enthusiastically my own! I was under no obligation to share, but do so because I LOVE this product!

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