Saturday, August 3, 2013

Too much planner-ing? Or not enough?

I go through cycles with my planner system. For awhile, my system gets more and more complicated in an effort to be "organized."  I write down all my tasks, household chores, daily and weekly goals, and everything I think I SHOULD be doing.

Then after awhile I get bogged down in "shoulds." I get to the point where I look at my to-do list and think, I really don't want to do any of that. If I notice something that needs done that isn't on my list, I have a dilemma. Which task has higher priority? Ugh.

So then I rebel and decide I want a simple, streamlined system. I shouldn't need to write EVERYTHING down, right? My husband often encourages me to "think outside the book." He doesn't even use a planner, and probably doesn't quite understand my reliance on them.

I agree I do need to live outside my planner more. Often I spend too much time messing with my planner system and not enough time doing things that I want to do (like read a book). But it's a delicate balance between too much and not enough. If I don't use my planner enough, I get that awful feeling of not knowing what I should be doing. If I use it too much, I get that aforementioned bogging-down.

Planner systems can be streamlined and minimalist, like a basic weekly planner, or very complicated with systems to keep up with. I need something in the middle: structured yet flexible. If my planner is too much work to keep up with, I dump it. If it's too unstructured, it's not functional enough for me.

Do you prefer simple and basic, very structured systems, or something in between? Or, like me, do you cycle through complicated to basic and back?

18 comments:

  1. I have just swapped from Filofax to Midori which satisfies my meed for free thinking open space in one book and super detailed lists in another.
    No "setting up", no fuss. No rings, no worries about scratches or sections or tabs or dividers.
    It arrived this morning, was ready to use in two minutes and I love it already.
    I want to use it, not put it in a frame and hang it on the wall.

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    1. I haven't entered the world of Midori yet but I've heard so much about them I'm very tempted! What is the diary format?

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    2. There are several, like dated monthly and Wo1P + notes (and an undated version of those), Vertical Wo2P with a Plannerisms planner white space underneath the columns. ;-) Ray has a Wo2P. The notebooks are easy to make, Romi even "binds" them with her sewing machine. Here is the video, where you can see the vertical Wo2P: http://youtu.be/PdmkF5M7RDo. And Lisa wrote a great post in which you can see the Wo1p + notes (It has yearly and monthly pages too in the dates version): http://livingwithliisa.wordpress.com/2013/07/24/midori-travelers-notebook/

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  2. I finally got REALLY tired of making it so complicated for myself! So I put the lists/info in my FF I knew I used & wanted to have with me, then only added sections/pgs organically--when I knew I would need them and use them. I only have dailies and monthlies-and I use both. I'm putting to dos in my blank ntbk, but only as they come up (I then add them to the FF IF and only if they are day specific. I don't add things like: shop, clean, laundry bec that takes up valuable space and I know they need to be done. Amazingly--it's working really really well. Go figure LOL

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    1. So glad your Filo system is working for you! What a relief to find what works!

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  3. Yeah well--we'll see long term You know how that is haha. 2 wks from now I'll be all "Planner Fail! What manner of magick must I perform to find a planner that works FOR ME!!" ;)

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    1. I hear ya. I know that cycle all too well!

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  4. I'm currently using a bound week-with-notes planner I got from Artbox, and much as I keep lusting over my Compact Chameleon, and the idea of a Pocket Malden... I'm resisting. The simplicity of my Artbox planner is fine for me at the moment.

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  5. Sometimes, for me, planner-ing is a form of procrastination.

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    1. Me too, definitely. I also am guilty of over-plannering when there is a transition coming up and I don't know what's going to happen. In fact that's usually the trigger of my over-plannering.

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  6. I'm with the husband here. I use my FF for all sorts of things. I enter things in it on a day to day basis, BUT, if I decided not to use it any more, put in away and never picked it up again - my life would go on, as normal without a proverbial hitch. And as Long as I keep telling myself that everything is fine ...

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  7. Laurie, I know exactly what you are saying and my husband would say the same a yours, except when he wants to remember something or me to look it up :) I would love to seperate my life (ie planner), but I hate grabbing my planner and then a part of my life not be there when I need it. Example, I am sitting for 2 hours waiting for kids and I have school plans in my head, if that book is at home I panic. My dream is a monthly calendar with appointments on the wall, a book with all household chores/maintenance, a homeschool planner, and a journal.

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  8. Must dos go on my weekly planning pages (for tasks) and my monthly calendar (for timed appointments). Everything else - the should dos - goes elsewhere in my planner. I don't look at that stuff as often, but at least I don't have to carry it in my brain.

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  9. As someone who lived without a planner until fairly recently, I feel comfortable saying that most people who do not use planners (like Mr. Plannerisms) rely on people who DO use planners to keep their lives in check. I don't think this is a problem and I do not mean it in a critical sense, but I do think it is important for everyone to acknowledge this tendency.

    I need to keep my system quite simple and straight-forward, but I still do write things down fairly obsessively. I think it's extremely important to not over-plan your time; as Laurie points out, sometimes you just don't feel like doing those things. Another thing I do, is that if I just can't get myself to do something on today's list, I just push it forward to do it later. I will always do SOMETHING even if it's not what I had in mind the day before. That's ok. It's important to be easy on yourself. We are all so busy and have so many distractions. I can differentiate between something that absolutely NEEDS to get done and something which should be done soon but can wait if necessary.

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    1. Another thing... I definitely go through periods of hyper-focus on planning and keeping track of things, and periods where I feel I cannot focus on these tasks at all. Goes with the territory for someone with ADD.

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    2. Josh, I think you hit the nail on the head when you said people who don't plan rely on people who do plan. That's certainly true in my family. I'm always checking my planner for information that someone else needs!

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    3. Josh and Patty you are absolutely right. My husband doesn't keep track of any of our kids' stuff including dance and music lessons and performances, doctor and dentist appointments, even which day is trash pickup (every 2 weeks so it's easy to forget). I do all that. I even schedule his doctor and dentist appointments for him, and text him the dates so he can enter them into Outlook at work to block out that time.

      And Josh I do that too--if there is something on my list I don't feel like doing, I try to find something else on my list that requires less energy or focus so at least I can still do something productive and tick it off my list.

      I'm currently working on a post with planners for people with ADD/ ADHD that I hope will be helpful.

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  10. Speaking of ADD, I'm finding that part of my insecurity of not having my planner with me at all times is that I always need to have sonething to do. I can not simply sit during a meeting or in the waiting room of a Dr.'s office or even while visiting friends or watching TV without updating/decorating my planner. I call my FF, my knitting, magazines and Kindle my "toys", which I pack in my super large handbags or tote whenever I will be on the road all day. If, that's not ADD, I don't what is!

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