Monday, May 7

a net for catching days

"a schedule is a net for catching days." -annie dillard

Here are a few things you should know about me:

  1. I have a lifelong obsession with stationary in general, and Moleskines in particular.
  2. The words "list" and "schedule" and "system" are very. very exciting to me.
  3. I have gleefully wasted entire afternoons, pre-baby, endlessly researching GTD hacks and the like online.

Here are a few more things: there isn't much to organize in my life as a stay-at-home mama who teaches a little yoga here and there, and what there is to schedule and remember is terrifically taken care of by my iPhone calendar and its blessed reminders. And, I am prone to optimistically carrying a pocket Moleskine around in my bag for months without cracking its spine.

While there isn't much in my days to keep track of, still I felt a need for some kind of intentional system, a way of checking in with myself about what I wanted to get done each day. I noticed that certain tasks, like baking or cleaning the bathroom, would go undone not because I didn't have time or couldn't manage with my toddler around, but because I would go entire days without giving them a thought. Put all of this together, then bring on the advent of my new morning routine, add a little inspiration from SimpleMom's Daily Docket, and my new system of A Net For Catching Days is born.

 I have been using this system now for about a month, and I love it. It has helped me to do more of the things I intend to each day. It has been a fantastic meal-planning tool, and a most pleasant addition to my morning routine. And my previously lonely pocket Moleskine is now happily filled with purpose!

The categories have evolved over the weeks, and I'm pretty happy with where they have now settled. The beauty of this way, way analog system is that I can adjust it as needed. Pen and paper FTW! Here's what I've come up with:

inspiration: Here I write a few words from one of my morning readings. More than once, I recalled whatever I wrote down at a critical moment during my day, which has allowed me to exhale and cool down.

life experiment: To remind me of what I'm experimenting with that week.

make: What I'll be cooking & eating that day (more on this below.)

do: Things I need to do (ditto.)

blog: Posts I need to write, emails to send, comments to respond to.

move: What my exercise plan is for the day.

net: This will be a rough outline of the day. I don't plan at what time things should happen, just the sequence of events.

notes: This space has rarely gotten used but I think it's nice to have it.

In addition to the daily single page spread you see up there, I also use both sides of a half 3x5 index card like so:

One one side ("make") I write down my meal plan for the week. This usually means scrolling through my Pinterest food board, choosing our meals, and writing up a grocery list all in one go. On the other side ("do") I write down tasks that need to be accomplished over the week. I refer to this each morning and see what fits in my "net" for that day.

I am no slave to the lists. Some items get passed over from day to day, even week to week, and it's totally fine. The purpose of my system isn't to create some rigid boundaries, but constant gentle reminders of how I intend to use my time. It's been a great success. If nothing else, I deeply enjoy the ritual of cracking open my little Moleskine, drawing the lines around another day, and planning for the hours ahead. Just that gives me a lovely sense of being organized and together.

As I said before, I love geeking out over this kind of stuff, so if you've found a system that works for you, please share in the comments below, or link to your own blog post on the subject. I'm always looking for new ideas, and I'm excited to see how this little tool will evolve over time.


  1. thanks for sharing fanny! it's fun to see how we use our moleskines for similar purposes but the format differs. i know you do some writing, guessing some you do it in this same notebook?

    1. great question amanda! i have a large lined moleskine that I use for journaling, though I'm wanting to experiment with short journaling forms in the small moleskine, something i could jot off in the morning while I write up my "net" for the day. i like to play around with lists, etc. my big moleskine is pretty much straight-up journaling, not too many bells and whistles. i also have a large cahier in which i am working on a big project.

    2. big project sounds awfully like *cough* book *cough* ;-)

  2. Fanny, I've been working on scheduling this week, imagine my surprise to find you working on the very same thing! I've been creating a loose schedule in the evening for the next day, and have been doing it for about the last 4-5 days. I can't believe what a difference it makes; it just sucks the chaos right out of my days. SO much less stressful! I found your link to the Daily Docket very helpful, and I used that template to create my own today. Thanks for all the wonderful inspiration, as always!


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