Friday, December 4, 2015

I Don't Want to Use a Planner Anymore


I've used a planner for years and years and years.  But lately I don't want to use one anymore.  I don't know if I'm bored, tired, undisciplined or what.  But I can't function without a planner so I have to figure this out.


I've tried different formats, different brands, different sizes. I briefly switched to a traveler's notebook. I tried David Allen's GTD and Mark Forster's Auto Focus.  I tried unstructured. I tried digital. I made my own pages.  I used a bullet journal. I played around with the Pomodoro technique and planner pad.  I've tried everything and nothing trips my trigger.

You know what I think? I think I just need to suck it up and figure out what will meet my needs relatively well and just use it. The truth is, a planner is just a tool - at least for me.  It's not a scrapbook or a journal or a work of art.  It's just a tool that makes my life better.

You know what else?  Tools aren't necessarily exciting or inspiring - they just need to get the job done.  I don't want to vacuum every day - but I do.  I don't always want to cook - but I do.  I don't always want to do laundry - but I do.  And getting a new vacuum or washing machine or stove won't necessarily make me want to do those tasks more.
It's the same with a planner.  At this phase of my life, it's not the format or the binder or the style of the pages.  It's me.  I need to figure out what will work, suck it up and use the tool that will keep my ducks in a row and my mind clear.  And even if I can't use it properly, anything is better than nothing.

18 comments:

  1. I have this little Memoranda notebook in army green which I carry in my pocket. I don't always use my planner but I do always have the little notebook and jot things into it; interesting quotes from articles or books I'm reading, tasks I need to complete, tallying receipts, words I encountered and looked up in the dictionary, ideas, names and phone numbers... It is a little book and fits in my pants pocket easily and is always with me. It's definitely not a planner but fills some of the need, and I could see a world where I used the little book and not a planner. The little books are cheap and hold up well.

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    1. I've been using the Notes section of my iphone that way. I think of things all the time and my phone is always convenient. Periodically I go through the notes and move the information to appropriate places. A small notebook like you described would also work well.

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  2. Oddly, Patty, I just burnt out too and have been using a spiral notebook and one of those 2 year monthly pocket calendars for appointments. This is actually very positive for me. I've found that I tend to plan in chunks of time - the next three days, perhaps, or a 6 hour intensive. I make all the lists and then go back to carry forward what still needs to be done. Like a bullet journal I guess but way less formal than that. I doodle, write poetry, floor plans, budgets, whatever. Good luck finding something that helps you stay on track.

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    1. I've thought about something simple like that - sometimes that's all you need.

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  3. I still feel very limited in rings. I've sold every binder I own except for three, and two of those are throwaway/donate. I haven't ordered my 2016 calendar yet. I came across a notebook of mine from 2003 a few days ago; I'd forgotten how much more productive I was when I was just writing things down and getting them done! Maybe because I was 12 years younger? Ha! But honestly, with a binder I feel defeated these days almost as soon as I open it.

    Have you considered obedience classes for Lucy? It will help A LOT, trust me.

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    1. I am planning on obedience classes for Lucy. I was going to do puppy classes but they're full until February. I'll definitely do classes when she's six months old, though. I want her to be a good dog.

      I'm the opposite about rings. Rings give me freedom but anything bound makes me claustrophobic.

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  4. Wow, I am soooooo relating to this myself right now!! I think it's normal. Most "plannerds" go in and out of feeling the love. I know I do. And I agree - for me, it's a tool also. Maybe an occasional sticker here & there, when I can be bothered.

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    1. Exactly! My monkey sticker actually ties in with an article I read about getting distracted from our tasks. It mentioned an instant gratification monkey. It resonated so much with me that I bought a monkey stamp - which I believe my grandson has confiscated - so now I put an occasional monkey sticker on there to remind me to stick to my plan.

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  5. I use the phrase "planner rut" to describe this, and it is so maddening! I agree, just keep moving forward, writing down the things needed, until it becomes friendly again. Also, I try to find something new or different to help a little- nothing large like a brand new planner or system- more like a new pen, dividers, or something else small that may perk up my planning a little. Good luck!

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  6. I love my current planner, but even when I don't, I have to use it. And sometimes, that little book just represents all I have to do and I hate it! So I get it.

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  7. Hi Patty... I've been using FC binders for a long while... But, quite frankly just love their paper layouts and not their binders.
    I would like this year to use a wallet-planner that I can carry with me. I was thinking of buying a FF Pennybridge Compact and inserting FC's Pocket size Daily pages. Do you think they'll fit? Have you seen how those sizes work together?

    Thank You

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    1. I haven't ever used the FF compact and it's been a long time since I tried Franklin's pocket size. You can check the measurements to see how they compare. I don't think the holes would line up, though.

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  8. Does this mean you won't be writing for FranklinPlanner anymore? Sad to see you go :(

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    1. I sent you an email. I'm game to keep writing if you want me to. I'm still using a planner - I always will!

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  9. The hole spacing in FC and Filofax compact sizes match, but FC pocket size hole spacing is different. The page dimensions can be verified at franklinplanner.com

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  10. I understand what you mean. This year I bounced around to different sizes and formats, before coming back to what has always worked for me: WO2P. But I've added note paper to the week as well so I can make much needed notes.

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