The Planner Debacle of 2017 : January 19, 2017

Right now life is good. I try to savor every day. I have a beautiful wife, a wonderful son, a job I enjoy, and I feel like I am where I’m supposed to be.

It’s a very good feeling, and I am soaking in it.

With things going so well, I can only assume that they would get better if I would become even more efficient, so for 2017 I decided to get a planner—not a new app or a Google calendar, but a real tangible planner.

It must have been near the end of December. I was listening to the Persuasion podcast, and the co-hosts were having an excellent discussion about the business of planners, and how someone’s personality can be expressed through their chosen planning instruments.

Being easily swayed by persuasive dialogue, I decided it was my time to dive into the planning subculture. I took a handy online personality test regarding what planner would be best for me; and on December 29, 2016, I went right to Amazon to buy one. It did not take long for me to find the format that spoke to my very soul.

Thanks to Prime shipping, within 48 hours the box from Amazon arrived, and I grabbed it from our doorstep with great anticipation, assured that these pages would help me manage my life this year better that I had in any year prior. I came from the cold, set the box on the counter, and opened it in rapturous enthusiasm.

And it was only page inserts.


No planner, just pages.

I had one of those moments when you realize a deal that sounds too good to be true was indeed too good to be true, and you kick yourself for having believed it in the first place. Then I remembered that I do this at least once every few weeks, and I will likely never learn my lesson. But that’s for another post.

Standing there with a bunch of pages and nothing to put them in, I began to scour Amazon for “empty planners”, most of which happened to be more expensive than the pages I just purchased. That’s the way these things work.

So, given my affinity for eBay, I stormed the listings for “used planners” or “empty planners” that other folks were trying to offload because they too had taken a personality test and upgraded to a different planner type. Lo and behold, I found planner that could hold my pages and had been damaged by cigarette burn or a knife/or some other implement that caused a wound on the spine. I felt that this gave the object some character, so I made the seller an offer. I can only assume that this particular item had been sitting in inventory for some time, because they were more than happy to accept my lowball offer and ship me my new planner.

As soon as it arrived, I tested the pages.

They were a perfect match; and strangely, once I actually had the planner together, I felt, “yeah, this is my planner; this is for me”. It’s weird when some sort of assessment tells you something about yourself, but it’s not until you actually put it to the test that you realize how accurate it truly was.

So I began to fill the pages with my daily Crush7 system (these are the seven things that I try to do every day so that even if everything else goes wrong I know I have accomplished something: daily exercise, Bible reading, 10 minutes of rest, etc).

I have continued testing thing for the past few weeks, using black ink for to-do tasks and blue ink for events, filling out only one week or so at a time so that as I adjust to what works and how I best track things—-that sort of thing. By mid-year I think my planner is going to show an odd tapestry of the way that I think, process. and adjust over time. I’m kind of looking forward to revisiting it.

For now however, the processes that I’m using are working. I’m amazed at how the simple act of writing something down reinforces it in my mind and gives it a anchor in my short-term memory. I don’t know if I’ve actually been more productive in 2017, but I have lists of things finished in my planner that tell me I am at least getting something done. Maybe that’s the reasons organizers are so popular; they show us that we are productive and living good, full lives despite feeling like we aren’t accomplishing anything in the busy-ness of it all. We can remind ourselves, “I know I’m getting stuff accomplished, it’s crossed off my planner”  (I can’t be the only one to have thought of this, but it certainly speaks to my insecurities).

All that to say, and I know it’s a lot, I am using a planner in 2017, and it is going well.

Speaking of wells, we crossed the $7,000 threshold for The Gift of Water project. I’m still aiming for $9,000 by end of month, and my hope is that I will become eligible for my employer to match my personal donations in February. That’ll be a nice bump as we continue climbing towards that $15,000 goal by May 3, 2017.

Other items of note this week: I still have Marvel Legends and Lord of the Rings figures up for auction, plus several new items have gone live today.
This Week, I’m listening to : The Scores to Interstellar, Mad Max, and the Batman V Superman Score. Also discovered “My Life” by Mary J. Blige.

I’m Reading: Bibliotheca: The Pentateuch and Former Prophets.

And I’m Watching: Cranford, American Tragedy, and Creed.