I have “planneritice”. A friend and I have coined that term after numerous discussions regarding our obsession with planners. Despite owning numerous planners (not necessarily all at once, although I am afraid that too is true on occasion) she and I can get lost in time searching for the perfect planner. While this is in part due to our desire to always grow in our organizational wisdom, I have to confess, at least for me, it is in part due to the notion in my mind that the perfect planner will finally bring perfect order to my life. No more plans gone awry. No more searching for papers. No more last minute runs to Wal-Mart of a gift on the way to the party. No more forgotten birthdays. No more… Oh if it were only so!
As I mentioned, I have found the “perfect” planner for me. A compilation of several planner pages and some creativity on my part. However, let me be clear. This perfect planner has NOT meant perfect plans. I do make better decisions (most days). I do worry less as I know my “to do” items are written down (most of the time). But, life is not perfect. I am not perfect. The people I live with and work with are not perfect. To live this life with any level of peace and joy, we just have to build in space for the imperfect.
My daily planner pages are the center of my planner. The heart beat if you wish. I refer back to these pages ALL day long. These pages in particular are why I love the Life is Crafted system so very much.
These pages are divided into 8 columns. One for each day of the week, and an extra left over. Across the top are 8 blocks to be labeled with categories or project titles. I use the same 8 categories each week. Home, My girls names, Mary & Martha, Keller Williams/SOS, New House, Miscellaneous and Blog. I look back at my Master To Do and any items on the Monthly To Do. I select the items I need to do next and write them under the appropriate heading. I try not to have more than 4-5 items under each heading. Remember that need to build in time for the imperfect? Yep. Be real. Know you will have interruptions (good and bad), know things will take longer than planned, just know. The next section is a column for each day (beginning with Monday) and time slots. This system begins at 8:00 and goes through 7:00. I wouldn’t mind it starting a little earlier, but… Here is where I time block. I honestly believe this is the key to good time management and absolutely the hardest habit to develop. I fill in appointments first. Second, I determine which tasks from the above section I want to complete on which day. I determine a day and time and block off 15 minutes more than I think I will need. I also leave 15 minutes between every appointment and/or time block. So, in reality I build myself a 30 minute buffer. And guess what? Some days that still isn’t enough. Below is a section to write down the 3 most important things to do that day (and these items should be in my time blocks somewhere) and then list out specific tasks. If I have quick phone calls, an email to respond to…. that is not a part of a bigger project and I know can happen in less than five minutes I will write those things down here and not time block them. I love that the pages include little stars at the bottom for tracking water consumption (which you can tell I have not don :() There is also a place to write down 5 things you are grateful for each week. I am working hard to discipline myself to do this. If you have read any of my other posts, you know I was convicted about Gratitude and am an avid reader of Ann Voskamp. I’m not there yet, but this little reminder is helping. When possible I do color code appointments. I usually use a yellow highlighter to mark off the time blocks. It gives me a really good visual and helps me guard those time blocks.
At the end of the day, the truth is, time management is about discipline. It is about being mindful. I have to stop and put some thought into what I am doing. What is most important. Sometimes items that don’t look important are critical-like laundry! I have to work the plan. We have all heard it said before. I can get it all on paper, but if I never open the planner, never check in during the day to see what I have done (mark it off!!!!), I will fail to move forward on projects. I’ll fail to do those things that are BEST. My planner is simple. I don’t use Smashbook or Washi tape. I wish I did. I love to see the creativeness. It’s not me. I’m a simple gal, needing a little focus and discipline. So, these pages work for me.
The remainder of the planner are sections I have added to track my businesses and attempt to have pertinent information with me. They have been the “work in progress” the past 6 months. I think I have about got them tweaked and working.
My perfect planner is working for me. The secret though is in me working my plan and allowing for imperfection.