How to Use the Project Section of Your Sacred Ordinary Day Planner


The Project section of the Sacred Ordinary Days Planner stumped me at first.

I wasn’t sure why there were only 3 project slots. How do I decide what’s worthy of a project slot? And on top of this,  I had no idea what “cue” meant, or “rest/reward.”

While I’m still learning, here are some of my thoughts on this potentially puzzling section.

“What? Why only 3 slots for projects? I have a gazillion things to do today!”

TOTALLY. You have lots and lots to do. Your to-do list is unending. I get that. But….

  • Research says that when people try to work on too much in a day, they fizzle out. Their brain and/or emotional energy is gone and your production rate drops radically. Instead, you reach your peak when you choose no more than 3 things to focus in on. Hence the 3 project slots. Don’t ask me about where the research comes from. I just learned it from Jenn in her awesome overview video.
  • For the small things, you can jot them down in the blank, lined portion of the layout. No need to take up project slots for errands, making a phone call, etc.
  • Try to think of 1-3 pieces of an on-going project, or 1-3 stand-alone projects that you would like to accomplish that day. These are the big rocks. The things that if you don’t get done, your world might start unravelling (or at least you think it will- ha!). This isn’t a space for a wish-list … these slots are for the 1-3 things that must. be. done. today.
  • Keep a separate to-do list. Put it on a sticky note and place on the page you want to get that done. Or use your phone for your long to-do list. Make your planner the place where what is written down is the focused tasks, reflections, etc.

“I still don’t get what these projects might be. Can you give me some examples of what you have used this section for?”

Sure! Some of mine have included:

  • Make menu, create, grocery list and grocery shop.
  • Do initial brainstorming for #write31days.
  • Decide on the final topic for #write31days.
  • Create graphics for #write31days.
  • Finalize #write31days plan.
  • Spend some one-on-one time with Jake.
  • Read 3 chapters of a book I’m set to review on Friday.
  • Meet with and encourage the volunteer team.
  • Switch out summer clothes for winter clothes for kids.
  • Switch our summer clothes for winter clothes for adults.

I’ve also done a little hunting around, and here are some from other people who also use this planner:

  • prepare materials for presentation tomorrow morning
  • choose a printer to purchase
  • meet with the woman i’m mentoring
  • spend some time praying for _______________.

“Alright. Projects. I’m wrapping my mind around it. So, there’s this “cue” section under each project. What’s that about?:

A cue is that spark or reminder that will help you know when it’s time to start the project.

Possible cues could include:

  • a specific time of the day. 7:30a. 11:00p. If you know you need to do that project when the kids are in bed, or first thing in the morning when you have the most energy, etc, then a time might be a great cue.
  • after I receive the documents from George.
  • before i eat breakfast.
  • when i’m hungry.
  • during nap time.
  • as soon as i get sit down at my desk.
  • before I open up my email.

“Hmm. gotcha. Okay, explain the rest/rewards section.”

This is SUPER FUN.

This is what happens AFTER you get that project done. If my kids work hard at math, they might get an extra recess. If my toddler has a great day at school, she might get a dance party at the end of the day. If I get my work done, I get to….

  • Watch a video on youtube.
  • Eat a piece of dark chocolate.
  • Read a book for fun.
  • Go on a walk.
  • Check my Feedly.
  • Scroll for 10 minutes on Facebook.
  • Call a friend.
  • take a short nap.
  • light a candle and just sit in the stillness for 10 minutes.
  • Pop in my headphones and rock out.

Here’s what I love about this: it prevents me from burn-out. I’m awesome at going, going, going, going…. and then because I haven’t done anything to refill my tank, I crash and burn big time. I’m learning that it’s important that I take a little time every day to relax. to quiet. to do something fun (I’m a 1 on the enneagram– so “doing something fun” is important for me to do because it’s easy for me to forget!). The rest/rewards prompt reminds me at least 3 times per day that I’m not created to be a production machine. I’m a human who needs rest and fun. 

So there you have it! That’s what I’ve learned so far in my Sacred Ordinary Days planning journey as it relates to the projects, cues, rests, and rewards. If you also use SOD, how do you use this section? What’s been helpful to you?

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