Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Planner Quagmire

Has this ever happened to you:

You get so bogged down in planner frustration that you want to give up on planners altogether. Maybe you've had an epic Planner Fail or two.  Maybe you've even tried calling the dog, to no avail. The whole aggravating experience has put you off planners, and now you're struggling through your days, plannerless.

That, my friends, is a Planner Quagmire. And let me tell you, it blows.

So how do you haul yourself out of a Planner Quagmire?

The key is to figure out what you want and need from your planner. Do you need mainly to schedule appointments and events? Or do you need to write your lists alongside your schedule? Do you want to record things in your planner too, or just plan?

Once you've decided your planner's main purpose, you can think about  what the planner itself needs to be.  It helps me to make lists.

Which format do you need? What size do you need?  What else do you need from it?  Fountain pen friendly paper? A ring binder system? Write it down.

Then, go a little deeper. What would you LIKE your planner to be? Pretty? Professional-looking? Cool? Cute? Fun? Serious?  List the characteristics of your ideal planner.

Then, list features you would like it to have. International pages and maps? Goal-setting pages? Lots of pages for notes? Or do you want a streamlined planner with none of these?

Then ask yourself some hard questions. Are you in a Planner Quagmire because what you REALLY want is too expensive or otherwise out of your reach, and nothing else will do it for you?

Or do you need a professional planner for work, but what you REALLY want is something cute and fun or otherwise more "you?"

When you have figured out what you actually need and want from your planner, then you are ready to search for it.

Look through the reviews here on Plannerisms for ideas. Google. Go to the bookstore if you are lucky enough to live near one that stocks planners. 

You might find you need to make your own planner. Draw it up in a notebook (I recommend a Leuchtturm dots notebook, that's what I use for making my own planners).  Visit DIYPlanner.com for ideas.  Check out Steve and Ray's plethora of printable planners on Philofaxy.

And if you still can't find what you're looking for, email me!  I don't know all the planners out there, but I know a lot of them, and I'm bound to have suggestions for you.

Whatever you do, don't despair!  A Planner Quagmire is not insurmountable.  With some thought and maybe a little planner research, you'll find the perfect planner for you. Or if you don't, you can make it yourself.  :)

Have you pulled yourself out of a Planner Quagmire? What got you out of it?

22 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Why thank you! I think you've hauled yourself out of a Planner Quagmire or two in your time. ;)

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  2. I was in a bit of a quagmire last month with my planner for personal needs. I think I'm reverting to my DIY Moleskine weekly; going to give the Leuchtturm one more week, though.

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    1. I saw your photo of your DIY Mole weekly, and that's an excellent format. Very similar to my DIY one. I like the daily columns and space for lists and notes.

      What aren't you liking about the Leuchtturm?

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    2. I can't quite put my finger on it. The pages are slightly bigger so I should have more writing real estate, but I think the day columns are slightly narrower and there's more "stuff" on the page. I will have to give it more thought next week. (I'm actually taking a week of work to recharge, so hope to attend to lots of these things._

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  3. When this happens to me I revert to my fall-back planner: Blank pages. I write the date and day on the top and then just write what I need to do that day; appointments, reminders, to-do's, phone calls, emails. It always works. Not ideal for planning but keeps my head above water.

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    1. I'm about ready to do this-grab a $.10 spiral notebook and just write shit down. I hate this because I can't "love" a spiral notebook-but SO tired of buying new stuff only to find I hate it in 2 months. BLARF.

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    2. That is exactly what I have been doing for the past month. I cut and whole punched some colorful paper, have been writing the date on top and trying to hang in there. So annoying! So tiring too, I just keep reacting to things, not really planning. I am drawing my own pages to see if it helps figure out what I need. very frustrating to feel without a something to rely on thou....

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  4. I used to be a Day Timer user and I have never been more on top of things than I was then. I started using a Palm when they were first released and I loved them, but I didn't keep track of things as well. Now I have a smartphone which I adore, but I can't PLAN on it.

    For the last few months, I have been using a Moleskine XLG Weekly Notes calendar. I learned about them from one of your blog posts. Things are looking much better which is a good thing because I have started a new job.

    I am overwhelmed enough without being disorganized.

    Anyway, my only issue with this planner is the monthly calendar is too small and poorly placed. I have just ordered a Moleskine LG monthly calendar that I will use in conjunction with my weekly one. Unfortunately, I could not get one for 2012, so I will have to muddle along with the one I have for the rest of the year.

    I'll never give up my smart phone/Google Calendar for keeping up with long term commitments, but I need paper to manage day to day.

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    1. You can print some MOleskine pages off their website: http://mymoleskine.moleskine.com You do have to register, but once you've done so, under the MSK addons on the left sidebar, you can access links to various templates and calendar layouts. You could print and paste into your notebook.

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  5. I thought I was a bit stuck due to a faulty filo, but eBay came to my rescue :)

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    1. Laurie-

      You are always spot on! A couple of thoughts to add...Planner quagmire hits me for two different reasons.
      1-I'm not looking at my planner enough or updating it to perform as it needs to, reminding me of what I need to do to stay on task. If I'm not doing my part, it's Karyn-Fail and no planning method in the world can keep me on track!
      2-Planning needs change (kids in school, kids on summer break, work demands, work slow down) so what works for me in April (lots of space for notes and lists) is drastically different than what works in July, when I can enjoy WO2P. After being "all over the place" planner-wise since last May, I made a solid commitment to WO2P for the rest of 2012. My new theory? If I need more space than a WO2P, maybe instead of changing planners I should change how much I agree to take on weekly!
      With all that being said, I’m sure within a few weeks when I’m reading another wonderful planner review at Plannerisms another ‘bout of “planner-wanties” will hit me. You make them ALL look good!

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  6. Dare I say this.....oh go on.....

    You can get the same issues with electronic calendars too, they aren't always as flexible as you think, change the settings to something you prefer and suddenly you find you are having to scroll up and down to see the whole day/week, entries aren't visible etc, something that is never an issue with a paper planner....

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  7. This is exactly what's happening to me right now!!! The worst part of this is that I have about 6 or 7 planners sitting around the house and they all have things written in them so I don't even know where to look each day!!!

    This is a great idea. I need to sit down and decide what I need and want. Thanks.

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    1. Ha! You'd have thought I had posted this...;)

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    2. I enjoy your vids as well Rori - lots of good reviews.

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  8. I will wait for Plannerism planner! :-)

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  9. Love this post, Laurie. While some calendar/planner uses don't think twice about what they use, we are not those people. And as I am in a quagmire myself at the present your article couldn't be more timely.

    Thanks for being awesome and providing a remedy for us sorry, floundering souls.

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