STYLE Savvy: Planner Growing Pains

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"STYLESavvy: Planner growing pains" by Lisa Hess (CatholicMom.com)

Image created in Canva using CC0 Public Domain elements from Pixabay.

For the past decade, or close to it, I’ve used the same type of desktop calendar: a 6″ x 9″ notepad-style, page-a-day calendar with lines perfect for making lists and keeping track of appointments. But this year, I began to question whether or not it was earning its keep in terms of the real estate it took up on my desk. So when I couldn’t find one when I was looking for my 2018 calendars (honestly, I didn’t look very hard), I decided to go a different way.

I’m thrilled with the planner I purchased on sale in January, although it is not, in fact, serving as a planner for appointments and lists as much as a planner for ideas and projects. I’m liking it … but it hasn’t replaced the tool it was supposed to replace.

Overall, the system that has evolved has been a good one, but I’m still finding too many loose ends. My writers’ group sticky note, for example.

Over the two decades I’ve been going to my writers’ group, I’ve allowed procrastination to reign. Each month, I find that I’m down to the wire in getting ready for it. Several years into my notepad planner system, I got tired of the meeting sneaking up on me, so I took a bright pink sticky note, wrote “Writers’ Group Next Week!” on it and inserted it into my notepad calendar, sticking it to a page in the week before the meeting.

That’s right. A week ahead of time. My simple, cheap anti-procrastination device.

Last month, as I was once again suffering through last minute-itis before my meeting, I thought of that sticky note. I mentally ran through all the tools I’m using, but could find no good place for that magical sticky note in my current system. Sure, there are other ways I can remind myself that the meeting is coming up, but that sticky note was perfect for my I need to see it personal style.

So when I got home that night, I did a little online searching. I found lots of cute notepad calendars, but most were too big and/or too expensive. I’m not usually cheap when it comes to tools that I know will work, but a $13 notepad that would do the same job as a 99¢ memo pad from Target was a hard sell.

When I found a similar notepad laying out a week at a glance for less than $6, I decided it was worth a shot. Sure, a cheaper notepad might be workable, but this one, already imprinted with weekdays and the magical phrase “Next Week” seemed like just what I was looking for. I was inordinately excited for it to arrive, and optimistic that it would help me stay on top of things better, even if I begrudged it the space on my desk it would probably need.

I’ve been using my new acquisition for almost a month now, and I like it. It’s missing a space for random lists, though (maybe those are supposed to go in the day-by-day blocks?) and I just saw a bullet journal post on Twitter this morning that gave me two-weeks-at-a-glance envy … but every new tool takes some tweaking. That is, after all, the concept behind organizing by STYLE.

So, tweak I shall. Over time, the new addition will either earn its keep or gather dust because it’s not a good fit for my styles. Although trial and error is an unavoidable part of the organization process (and one of the reasons I avoid buying expensive tools), the tools we choose should always work in our service and not the other way around. I have high hopes for this new arrival, and the better part of a summer to integrate it into my systems and my life. If it resists too hard, it’s not the tool for me and, even better, I’ll have learned a little more about what its replacement should look like.

And if this one lives up to my expectations, I might stop begrudging it prime real estate on my desk.


Copyright 2018 Lisa Hess

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About Author

Lisa Lawmaster Hess has contributed articles to local, national and online publications, and blogs at The Porch Swing Chronicles, The Susquehanna Writers and here at Catholicmom.com. She is the author of two non-fiction books (Acting Assertively and Diverse Divorce) and two novels, Casting the First Stone and Chasing a Second Chance. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is a lecturer in psychology at York College and enjoys singing with the contemporary choir at her church.

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