Planners and Schedules

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I was never the type who planned everything. I was not the type of person who had her life all planned out with targets of when to get married, have kids, and be famous all over the world. I was more of the go-with-the-flow type even if I was not excited about where life was bringing me from time to time. That is why, every time I get asked what my plan was for the next five or ten years, I take so long to reply.

While I am proud of my flexibility and resiliency, I have to admit that making plans is a good thing because it helps one reach his or her goals. I will need to be better at planning if I want to reach high in life, so to practice, I started with getting a weekly planner and  Starbucks planner.

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What’s the deal with the Starbucks planner, you may ask. Well, every Christmas season in the Philippines, Starbucks and other big coffee shop brands promote their brands by giving you stickers to collect and eventually exchange for planners. Starbucks is the most notorious and might actually been the one that started the planner craze among coffee shop brands in the Philippines.

I never joined in on the bandwagon in the past. I always gave my stickers away to someone I knew was collecting. Other times, I will allow other people to treat me to Starbucks just so they can speed up their sticker collection process. When I felt generous, I would treat friends to coffee and let them have the stickers. It was only last year that I decided to collect for myself.

This year, I had to purchase eighteen drinks in total. When I celebrated my first year anniversary with my current employer, I got six tickets from treating my teammates. For the twelve others, I randomly treated other people for no reason. I admit, I sometimes made people feel that they were helping me get the planner by letting me treat them (because there was no way I will ask them to buy a drink for themselves and give me the sticker knowing they are also collecting). I think I spent almost PHP 3,500 or around USD 80 for that freaking planner.

img_0534You see, getting the planner was already a goal in itself. Despite how trivial the goal appears, it was a practice for me on working towards a goal I have made for myself not because it aligns with anybody else’s goals, but simply because I just wanted it.

The next challenge for me is to make sure I use the planner. Often, my planners in the past (bought and not obtained from promotions) ended up like diaries or journals instead of a true planner. Almost all were not used anymore after March. I am desperately trying not to be the same this year.

img_0476For work, I also got myself a weekly planner for my different activities throughout the day. It helped me tremendously during the last quarter of the year when we were so busy. However, I have to admit that there were multiple times that I adjusted my to-do list because I was again, trying to be flexible. I need to learn how to be better at prioritization and workload balancing.

I am also thinking of doubling this weekly planner as a mood tracker. I am still unsure whether to get emoji stickers or to just draw. I think the stickers will look more attractive.

My goal this year is to be a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA). It’s been years since I last studied for an exam, so I am really struggling with reviving my study habits (whatever little I had as a student). Not only do I have to study, I also have to improve my budgeting skills so I can pay for review materials and the exam itself. I already started with motivating myself by changing my phone’s wallpaper to a reminder of my goal.

Here’s to the hope that becoming CISA will be a goal achieved instead of merely being a wish.

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The Song That Tells Your Life

“I think there is a song out there to describe just about any situation.” -Criss Jami, Killosophy

If someone told me a year ago that there was a song that described exactly how I was feeling and also said exactly what I needed to hear, I would have been so grateful.

Just a few weeks ago, my colleague recommended a song when I asked him (out of the blue) what nice songs could I include in my Spotify playlist. After listening to it, I was taken back to the days I could have related so deeply to the song. Regardless, I could still relate to it while realizing how far I have already gone from the feelings that would have made me cry while listening. That song is Take it One Day at a Time by Jennifer Chung. And, it described exactly how I was feeling a year ago–without a purpose.

I was alive but I didn’t feel like I was living in the moment. It was like I was watching life take place and play in front of me like a movie. I felt like an audience to the movie of my life and I did not have the slightest bit of enthusiasm to be the actor instead.

I was at my lowest point at that time. I was recovering from months of daily migraine, I was dissatisfied at work and I was questioning everything that I had to go through. I bloody wanted a day off from the whole world!

But, the song could have also told me what I needed that time. That I should not ignore what I was feeling but also that I could heal from it.

I think it happens even to the best of us. We will feel so down and lethargic. We would feel we’re not appreciated and the world will gladly keep going even without us. But if we could be kinder to ourselves and do what we must to get rid of these that weigh us down, we can be alright. Even more that alright.

Anyway, here’s the music video of that beautiful song:

Lyrics

I know it hurts.

Don’t wanna get out of bed.

Much rather lay there instead.

Instead, you face what you fear –

The thought that no one is near.

It hurts.

You’re living but don’t feel alive.

No motivation or drive,

As you search for answers to why,

Oh, why.

Why me?

Won’t somebody please,

Take my burdens away.

I can’t do this today.

You’ve got to hold on.

Hold onto what you believe in.

Weather through every season.

Take it one day at a time.

You’ve got to hold on.

Don’t put aside what you’re feeling.

There is a process of healing.

You will be more than alright.

Take it one day at a time.

So overwhelming.

Everyone’s counting on you.

Unaware you need help too.

But you don’t say a word,

Too much work to be done.

No fun.

Go through the motions eyes closed.

‘Cause you’re always doing the most.

But the more that you do,

The more you seem to lose.

Why me?

Won’t somebody please,

Take my burdens away.

I can’t do this today.

You’ve got to hold on.

Hold onto what you believe in.

Weather through every season.

Take it one day at a time.

You’ve got to hold on.

Don’t put aside what you’re feeling.

There is a process of healing.

You will be more than alright.

Take it one day at a –

Time after time,

I have tried hard to fight against all my desires.

I would swallow my pride,

But I know I am called to live free and fulfilled.

No, it will not be easy,

But I will be still.

I will be still.

I will be still and know.

You’ve got to hold on.

Don’t put aside what you’re feeling.

There is a process of healing.

You will be more than alright.

Take it one day at a time.

My Dream House

“Houses are like people – some you like and some you don’t like – and once in a while there is one you love.” -L.M. Montgomery, Emily Climbs (Emily, #2)

I haven’t found the perfect house for me. Currently, we’re renting a condo unit that is very convenient and safe. But, a part of me still wishes for something that is our own. You see, when you’re renting, you’re bound by the rules of the lessor, making the house feel simply just a house and not a home.

When I have time to daydream, I think about my dream house and what I want in it.

A Study/Library

Thanks to Harry Potter, I grew up loving books. They were the best companions during summer breaks and they allowed me to be transported to other places using my imagination.

We had two large bookshelves at our old home but I felt like they were never enough for all the books I wanted to read. Even though these days, e-books are more convenient, there’s something about holding a real book, touching its pages and smelling the combination of ink and paper that still makes it a more enjoyable experience for me than reading from the screen.

I want my library and study to be a place where I can withdraw from the world and just do my thing.

An Entertainment Room

I want a room with a large TV that’s perfect for playing video games, watching movies and doing karaoke.

We didn’t have much video games growing up. We only had the first generation PlayStation that my dad won in a raffle. The games we had were only the games that came along the prize. Still, we’re grateful to have those.

I loved playing Tekken3, Front Mission 3, Grand Theft Auto 2, Syphon Filter and Harry Potter 1. I also played Resident Evil 3 but it used to give me nightmares.

I want the room to be a place where you can blast music or heighten the volume of your movies or games without disturbing the whole house. It’ll be perfect for when you have guests over.

A Large Kitchen

The love for cooking and baking runs in my family. We love feeding people! There’s a certain happiness in preparing food for others that I cannot explain.

If you frequent my blog, you’d know I love baking. I love it more than I love cooking (which I should really improve on). It has always been my dream to have those large ovens that have a stove on top. Oh, the treats I can make with one! I can bake several batches at once!

I will also need lots of room for equipment such as my dream stand mixer. A food processor and power jucier would also be nice to have so I can make tons of stuff from scratch. Also, an ice cream machine would be amazing to have because my Mom loves ice cream so much!

I want a large kitchen because I want a large storage too for my ingredients. That would mean a large pantry and large fridge and freezer that I can organize the way I want. I can already picture tons of storage containers with labels of names and expiration dates!

Lastly, I want quality pots and pans!

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I am not so picky anymore with the rest of the house although I’d like each bedroom to have its own bathroom so there’s less waiting time in the morning because there’ll be no waiting for your turn.

A piano would be nice to have in the living room. A spacious dining area will be awesome so we can invite people over.

But, I don’t like gardens. I hate the smell of wet soil after the rain and I dislike creepy-crawlies and insects that a garden will attract.

For now, all of these are dreams. I shall have to work very hard so I can turn these to reality. What’s more important is that the house does not become simply a house. It has to be a place that its residents can look forward going home to.

In the meantime, I enjoy playing Design Home on my phone. With this game, I get to design houses and imagine that I am designing my own. Through this game, I get a picture of what I want and do not want.

I have discovered that I love space. I hate having too many decorations and whatnots. I like classic or timeless pieces for the furniture.

The game will allow you to design different parts of the house. You get to “earn” from your designs so you can buy more stuff for the next project. You get to win items too if you reach 4 stars from the voting. Truly an enjoyable, relaxing game!

What’s your dream house like?

Please Stay

Don’t just look forward to the day all the pain stops. Look forward to the day it does and you’re able to feel the difference.

If you feel nothing else is worth fighting for, please think again. You are. You are worth fighting for. And the first person who should fight for you is actually you.

You are worth so much more than you can imagine. Please keep holding on.

Hey You…

Some days can be tough. You know. Like those days when you find out you already have ten blunders even before your day has started. Or when your work schedule is 80% meetings, 10% follow-ups, 5% e-mail cleanup and 5% actual time left to do your job. Some days, you have a dozen competing demands for your time that you forget to breathe already.

Don’t quit just yet. You are a strong and dependable person. Trust your strengths and capabilities. You got this!!!

Like they say in KDramas: 1…2…3… Fighting!!!

One day at a time, sweetheart. I know you can shine through the day.

Keep your sunshine shining!

Setbacks and Comebacks

What’s done is done. There are things I cannot control and things that cannot be undone. It’s a lesson I still have to work hard on learning…

Some days are just so smooth; no bumps along the way, no heavy traffic going to work, no cramming to get things done and no heated discussions with stakeholders.

But some days can start wrong right away; you make blunders, you make more blunders, and you still have tons of stuff to do while feeling awful for your blunders! Alternatively, things may not go your way and so you get irritated about everything already that nothing can please you anymore.

I still badly need to learn how to bounce back immediately from setbacks so I can get on with the rest of my day the way I am supposed to. That being said, I should not obsess myself with replaying events in my mind going over how I could have done something better or in a different manner because that would be unproductive.

Gotta think positive even during the toughest days! Mistakes are learnings obtained in a tougher manner but these are the learnings that stick. Setbacks are just like slingshots pulling us back for a mightier comeback. We must not let our sunshine be dimmed by trivial stuff!

Palms and Battles

You cannot control everything. Sometimes, letting go takes more courage than holding on. So when you finally open your hands to set free whatever you’ve been grasping, know it is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of courage that you’re finally allowing yourself to face the unsure, the uncertain and the unforeseeable.

Not every battle is your battle. Not all of your battles are worth fighting for. Be picky with the battles that you will choose to fight and choose only what is worth your while.

It’s Okay

Even the fluffiest cloud can turn gray, feel heavy, and pour as rain. It’s okay to not be okay all the time.

What matters is not giving up on trying to be okay. Get the right help, surround yourself with supportive people, and hold on to the hope that things can get better. Because they can and because you can. I believe you can.