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COVID-19 Crisis Perspectives: The Present Plan

8 MINUTE READ | May 19, 2020

COVID-19 Crisis Perspectives: The Present Plan

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Liv Shin

Liv Shin has written this article. More details coming soon.

A “Gift” to Liv in the Moment

It seems as if “pandemic” has turned into the P-Word that no one wants to hear or see anymore. From the news we watch to the conversations we have, COVID-19 has seeped into every crevice of our lives. Therefore, I take a stand in the name of our overall wellness and make this P-word stand for something else — presence. 

Being present can be hard. Especially for someone with a type-A personality and type seven enneagram like myself, focusing on being present in a time like this can be super challenging. My future-forward, pleasure-seeking mindset just wants to fix things. It’s hard to not act on the impulses that tell me there is a way to be happier, and so I’m presented with a constant challenge — one of deciding which of those things I should pursue, while also being mindful of how much I’m putting on my plate. When the balance is off, I become either anxious and unproductive or scattered and overextended. 

So how do we achieve that perfect presence of sitting in the reality of a pandemic while also knowing there are good things to come?  Planning is the answer (and also the new P word). 

Planning helps me set on paper what I need to do to make sure I’m prioritizing those essential tasks before I begin others. In addition, a plan creates organization. Despite the halt that COVID-19 has placed on our world, we still have schedules that need to be pursued. Writing dates down can prioritize those deadlines while also making time for the people in life who matter. On the other hand, if you feel like there’s nothing to do, a plan can be the first step to building structure to your life that is aligned with your purpose, passions, and, most importantly — presence. 

(*cue drum roll) 

So now I present you with the plan that will bring all of the things we talked about together — The Present Plan. Below, I explain how it works.

Purpose: To set an intention for the week.

I love when planners have a section for individuals to set the tone of their week even before it’s begun. This box will provide a mindset to strive for and motivation in terms of maintaining it. Fill this box with a word, quote, or mantra to carry you into a new week. 

Purpose: To take each week as it comes.

We are now living in a time with many unknowns. No longer do we have birthday parties and happy hours to schedule in our handy dandy pocket planners or phone apps. However, that doesn’t mean that we rid of our schedules; that’s the worst thing that you can do. Planners with 365 days worth to fill are overwhelming, so The Present Plan is utilized week by week. 

Purpose: To be intentional with the essence of this plan.

If you haven’t noticed it yet, the Present Plan has six boxes. Yes, I am aware that a week consists of seven days, but I created one less to give users a day to indulge, planner-free. The reality of the Present Plan is that it’s a paradox by nature — while its mission is to achieve presence, it accomplishes it via planning for the future. Therefore, to be entirely intentional with its objective, The Present Plan offers users a day off. 

Purpose: To provide customizability of the Present Plan that caters to the uniqueness of every individual.

I have a love-hate relationship with the phrase “I know exactly how you feel.”  Sometimes it provides all the comfort in the world that I’m not alone, while in other circumstances, it’s the last thing I want to hear. How dare they compare their situation to mine?  We are all different; from how we work, think, learn, stress, love, and listen, the list goes on. I want the Present Plan to reflect the beauty of our diversity. Therefore, this sidebar has horizontal strips made for building your checklists. 

By drawing lines in the strip, you can create the exact number of boxes you desire. For example, if one of my goals is to do yoga five times this week, I would draw four lines in the strip to give myself five opportunities to check that goal off. 

Purpose: I want this bottom section to lift you up. 

Some may disagree, but I strongly believe that to be fully present also involves acknowledging your past and preparing for the future. I included this section to do precisely that. 

Let’s get to the bottom of this — I don’t want this plan to overwhelm you with everything you have to do, but instead, be a reflection of all that you have accomplished.

The three boxes on the bottom are created to let you embrace the past, present, and future.

Now Past: In this area, write things that you have done that made you smile, struggle, laugh, or cry. The cool thing about putting these experiences onto paper is that you get to take past moments and reflect on them. Although the time has passed, the growth and memories stay forever. 

Be Present: Here is an area to keep you focused on the whole purpose of this plan. Write down ways that you have either practiced presence or tips to maintain a present-paced life. 

Good things in your mind aren’t always good for you.

Thoughts are continually running through my mind. It’s not that the thoughts are inherently wrong, but the act of focusing on them pulls me away from being present. When you have a bright idea, write it here. That way, it won’t disappear but simply be saved for later.

I have always thrived on planners, schedules, and productive platforms; from bullet journals, Passion Planners, and digital calendars, all have the same commonality of bringing me a structure to a day full of potential. 

As an avid dater in planners, I have learned that a planner is like a partner. You are not compatible with everyone, and that’s okay. A planner should serve you, care for you, motivate you, but not define you.  Planners add joy to your life and make you a better person. If yours isn’t doing that, maybe it’s not the right one for you. 

If we continue the analogy, once you find the right partner, you still need to pursue the relationship each day to make it work. Here are some tips to keep in mind when putting time into your partner:

  1. Be intentional about your plans. When you write it down, mean it and take it seriously. Treat your mental notes as promises when you place them on paper.

  2. Learn more about who you are and how you best thrive to fill your time with plans that are going to be meaningful and useful.  One of the most helpful yet hard and humbling things I’ve ever done was take the Enneagram test. While it told me of my many strengths I already knew, the test also opened up hidden truths and painful wombs that revealed more of who I am. The enneagram was my essence excavator that encouraged me to not only prioritize things that make me happy, but also things that make me healthy. For example, I’ve incorporated the practice of sitting in silence to grow me in my uncomfortableness that arises from my constant desire to experience everything.  

  3. Embrace the paradox of a plan— while you think ahead, you can still live in the present. If you are at this point in my blog post and still unconvinced of this whole “Present Plan,” I encourage you to simply try. There is a reason why “paradox” is a word, so try to find a reason in this paradoxical plan. 

To conclude, I have grown a lot in writing this post and creating this planner. The very fact that I had this opportunity to combine creativity and work has shown me that fun and work can coexist together (and that PMG is a really epic place to work at).

My inspiration behind the work I have presented here is founded on my goals in life — to learn constantly, make life better for others, and use my passions to create something beautiful. My junior year and internship here at PMG are both ending this week.

While some things have to end, they serve as new placeholders for things to come. I have made a commitment to take this open time to become an Adobe Creative Cloud expert, and this Present Plan is a baby step towards that. I have created something beautiful that will continue to grow my skills in Adobe and hopefully make life better for others. I hope you find your purpose and goals reveal itself in this Present Plan.

Get the planner here.

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