As I did last year, time for an update on how I handle my planning for 2022.
Hello! Time for the 2022 installment of “how Jenett plans her life”, a post in three parts.
This part: Tools
Part 2: Yearly and quarterly planning
Part 3: Weekly planning and tracking
A bit of background
To help anyone reading this put this into context, hi! I’m Jenett. I’m a priestess, witch, librarian, and author in my later 40s. I live by myself with my cat in the Boston area.
I have four big areas of my life where I look at planning:
- Work (full time as a librarian). Right now I am on campus 2 days a week, WFH the other three, business hours Monday to Friday.
- Witchy stuff: I am high priestess of a coven (which means both actual coven events and a certain amount of necessary planning are part of my life), have my own personal practice, and have ongoing learning stuff I’m doing here.
- Writing: I write and self-publish romances (mostly 1920s with magic), and I’ve been putting out 4 books a year since December 2018. This obviously gets a lot of my non-work time.
- Embodied life stuff: This includes both necessary household stuff (cooking, errands, cleaning) but also managing multiple chronic illnesses that range from ‘mild and briefly annoying on a regular basis’ to affecting a lot more of my ability to do things when something’s flaring. Right now everything’s pretty well managed and going decently, but they put me at a higher risk of complications in this pandemic we’re having (so I need to be extra careful even with vaccination) and other stuff (like getting a cold) can throw me for weeks or months.
Tools I’m using:
I’m a Mac and iOS user at home, and a Windows user at work (where I currrently am two days a week). So any tool I want to use both places has to be cross-platform without a lot of fuss or be something usable from my phone.
Here’s the working list for 2022 (in the order in which they come into my planning)
1) Various astrology tools
2) One Spreadsheet To Rule Them All (Google Sheets)
3) Paper journal (I’ve been loving the ones from Archer and Olive – the paper is great, the feel of the journal is lovely, and they lie flat. If you read this when I post it, they’ll be doing a big restock at the very end of December with new stuff.)
4) Todoist (where all my tasks live.)
5) Google Calendar (with multiple individual calendars)
6) Obsidian (stores info as text files, Obsidian provides a linking overlay. I use it for a bunch of stuff, but the key here is daily notes. Read that section for more details)
7) Timeneye and Now Then Pro for time tracking options, Routinery (available for both Apple and Android) for multi-step routines where I want to stay on track.
We’re starting with the astrology because it’s actually the first part I do chronologically when looking at the year. Over Thanksgiving weekend, I take information from several sources and put it into Todoist, so that I can look at astrological patterns over longer periods of time, and day to day. I have a filter set up in Todoist that will show me just the astrology stuff, grouped by subproject, so every day I can skim through that and see what’s going on.
I have multiple subprojects under astrology, so I can group stuff together in my daily list (since most of the cycles stuff lasts a long time, and I will skim through it quickly a lot.) These are:
- Magic (magical workings where the timing suggests something particular)
- Days (specific single days where something is happening)
- Transits (personal transits in my chart, based on an astrology reading last summer and some related data)
- Cycles (larger scale planet movements, especially the slower-moving planets.) I don’t put moon signs in there, the moon moves too fast.
I consider this sort of astrology roughly like a weather report: some things are going to be easier or harder for me to do depending on the skyweather. Mercury retrograde is maybe not a great time for major technology projects.
I’ve been collecting data for a couple of years now, and one of my projects for this winter is pulling it all into a single source so I can run comparisons of data. I know, for example, I usually sleep less well (by a reliable margin) over full moons – that’s not a great couple of days for me for more intensive physical demands or sometimes mental work. I’m working on collecting further data about more and less productive sun sign and moon sign movement. (This is part of why I keep the Spreadsheet of Doom.)
I pull from a bunch of different sources:
Bri Saussy’s Astrology Rx for 2022: This is an overview guide to big patterns (moon phases, movement of the planets through signs.) I particularly like the questions she includes for each item. She’s also got a more involved planner and guide, Planning by Starlight (https://www.planningbystarlight.com/)
Theresa Reed’s Ultra-Deluxe Superfly Astrology Guide for 2022: Another good guide to larger cycles for the year.
For both of these, I do a single entry in Todoist, with the dates set as relevant (for longer cycles, it’s the entire cycle), with the details in the description (if they’re short) or a brief summary in the description and something like “See notes” to remind me to go check the comments field.
Benebell Wen’s Metaphysician’s Planner: This is an actual planner you can print out, with a daily ephemeris, but it’s also got a useful guide for larger planning, and a ton of generally useful info stashed in the guide. (I get it for the ephemeris and longer planning arc pieces.)
Jeanna Kadlec’s Astrology for Writers newsletter: Jenna focuses on how the skyweather affects writing. Some of it’s not as relevant for me (good days for pitching are not usually a thing I care about!) but her comments on focus vs. dreaminess, the general feel of the moment, and the prompts she shares are all really thought provoking for me on a regular basis.
Circle Thrice Magical Monthly Membership where Ivy looks at the magical influences for the month (a combination of astrology, lunar days of the month, saints days, and other events and items of interest) and suggests particularly good days for kinds of magic, including multiple-day sequences sometimes. I don’t do a ton of direct spellwork these days, but if I have something I’m thinking about doing, I use this to help me make the most of the planning, and sometimes as a “Huh, haven’t redone the household protections recently, next week’s a good time.” reminder.
Other tools I use include CHANI, Chani Nicholas’s astrology app (which is great for week to week and day to day changes), and this year I’m trying out Sarah Faith Gottesdiener’s Many Moons Lunar Planner which has explanations, some Tarot spreads and ritual ideas, etc. to have some more things to try for new and full moons.
I also had an astrology reading over the summer in 2021 with Diotima of Urania’s Well (and will probably do a follow up in January or February) which highlighted some particular personal transits for me that have energy or focus I want to be able to take advantage of.
(A transit is when the current location of a planet intersects in particular ways with planets in your natal chart aka when you were born. I’m still deciding what I think about how that plays out for me in particular, but since the advice is ‘get your day to day life in order so you can take advantage of opportunities this spring”, I’m working on the principle that the first part of that is good advice and a thing I should do anyway…)
Part of why there’s a lot of sources is that I’ve been trying to learn more about astrology, and which bits I care about, so looking at multiple sources on a regular basis is helping me figure that out. But also, these mostly look at slightly different pieces of the equation: some of them focus month by month, others are a yearly overview.
Same as previous years, I’ve continued to group my projects and tasks and generally file my life by the seven visible astrological planets plus earth:
- Sun: Professional life, day job work
- Moon: Religious stuff (and interior life stuff if it’s relevant)
- Earth: Practical embodiment (this is where “go grocery shopping” lives, my budget, household chores)
- Mercury: Writing. All the many writing.
- Mars: What I use for areas of focus (in practice, it’s where I park “what I want to do with my vacation time” notes.)
- Venus: Things for pleasure, music, art, gaming, social time
- Jupiter: Expansion, learning, courses, etc.
- Saturn: Planning, structure, necessary stuff that supports the other things.
This means I can get a generally good sense of what the breakdown of my overall life looks at pretty quickly – I colour code them in Todoist and in my time tracker. This is also how I track the overall breakdown in my daily spreadsheet. However, over time it means I can see if one area of my life is getting out of balance.
I then set up my One Spreadsheet to Rule Them All (discussed in detail over here), and figure out a word for the year, that helps me ask myself “Is this choice going to add more [whatever] to my life or not?”
My 2021 word was ‘enchant‘, so I’ve been asking “Is this making my life more enchanted/enchantable/magical/better in those ways?” a lot. (Cleaning the house is not necessarily magic, but having a home I enjoy being in definitely is!)
When I started writing this, I didn’t have a word yet, but in the intervening week, I’ve come up with one. (For 2022, it’s going to be “glow” Because I like “does this glow?” as a question for myself, or “what’s glowing right now?” (in the good way.)
There are some things I plan out well in advance. Right now at the end of 2021, I know some things about 2022.
Nothing big on the scheduling horizon this year. There might be some brief travel in the second half of the year.
- I plan to write a bunch of stuff, and I know when I plan to start most of those projects.
- I have a bunch of other writing-related stuff (editing, book launches, etc.) and I know roughly when those things need to happen.
- I have two witchy writing projects I’m chewing on that I’d like to make some progress on.
Going back to commuting (even part time) has definitely affected my word count, so when I’m planning projects, keeping a lower goal in mind is definitely the thing. (For rather ambitious values of ‘lower’ as you might guess from the above.)
- One initiation hopefully in February (or if not, when we can safely do it), and one maybe in the summer or early autumn if all goes well.
- Possibly new round of Seeker classes in the summer, and Dedicant classes starting again in the autumn. (These take additional time beyond the teaching for chatting time and logistical coordination.)
- Hopefully returning to in-person stuff part of the time somewhere in here (which affects my house cleaning schedule and prep time)
Initiations both take additional planning time before, and tend to mean I’m somewhat less able to do stuff after while my body recovers (which is fine: my body just throws fits about a lot of things, and this is one of them). So I need to plan ahead to have low-demand cooking, limited errands or other appointments, etc. in the week or two before and after if I can manage that. Basically, I want to leave some slack in my schedule at those points.
(Plus, there’s going to be some additional logistics due to pandemic, and that’s also complicated and takes spoons.)
- Doing the witchy chats through March (and reevaluating then), which takes time to do them, plus some prep and followup.
- My own personal practice and progress on various projects, none of which have deadlines, but one of which has a regular monthly piece that runs through August.
Pre-pandemic, I’d have had one or two trips most years to see friends or go to a convention. The one convention I’d otherwise be aiming at for certain is in January 2022 (and given current conditions even pre-Omicron, I’m not up for that yet), so maybe no travel in 2022 other than maybe that work trip.
Medical stuff: I am continuing allergy shots (every three weeks) and I’m trying to wrangle a specialist visit for something which may turn into more visits. (Nothing immediately dire: this is a “the current meds aren’t working as great as they could be, are there other things we want to try?” problem. On the other hand, meds changes can have a lot of knockon effects.) That’s going to need some time and attention through the spring, probably.