When Life Happens

Last week I bought a planner. And 36 colorful pens!

I don’t think I’ve had a planner since 1998 when it was cool to walk around with a large leather-bound object looking important as if you had so many things to do you had to carry a tome with you from place to place. Remember those days? We’d open our planner in front of a client or even a friend and push it to the edge of a desk because the 8×11 paper inside the 11×15 book was too large to spread out on one desk. God forbid your counterpart was looking at their planner at the same time, right?

Twenty years later, planners in the face of cell phones and digital calendars and task lists or Post Its we can digitally place on any screen are becoming a thing again. And they are smaller. Not cell phone small, but not desk size either. And they are filled with ‘You can do it’ messages. The first forty pages of my new planner are all about how planning my life can help me to reach my goals and realize my dreams. My potential comes out of prioritizing my tasks. The last ten pages of my new planner are instructions on how to use the planner.

I hate to say it, but I don’t have time to read fifty pages of how to be motivated through the use of planning and how to use a book with a calendar and task list. My biggest issue in my life is I have too much on my plate. On all of them. And I have too many plates spinning above my head. Sometimes they fall, and I get a headache because let’s face it, a porcelain plate hitting my head doesn’t feel good.

But I’m using my new planner. This was my first week. And I’ve decided I can spend a few minutes each day reading the fifty pages of planning-know-how over time. I’ll even plan it by putting it in my calendar.

With that said, this week I have learned I tend to prioritize a certain way. Tasks I consider small and less time consuming come first. Last Wednesday, I scheduled thirty minutes to call Apple to figure out why my book is still not on iTunes. An hour and a half later, I was stressed because I have every minute planned and I’d lost an hour. This happens daily.

So, in my first week of planning and prioritizing, I’ve managed to get a lot of little stuff done. But the three things which take the longest, the three things I devoted hours to each day, aren’t getting done. I’m behind. I’ve set goals, but I’m not meeting them.

I’m sure the first forty pages of my new planner addresses this, but I’m not reading it yet because I have yet to find that spare moment. So, next week I’ll plan differently. The little stuff matters, right. Yes, but not at the expense of the big stuff. I’ve written a lot this week. A lot of little stuff. Some blogs to schedule. Some ideas. Some emails. Some short stories. Some essays. But the big thing I wanted to do was to finish my next novel. In order to do that, I need to change the way I am thinking about writing and editing this big thing.

It must make it to the planner, and I must also do the work too.

So, just how does one catch up enough to get the little things done with enough time to tackle the big things too?

I don’t have the answer yet, but I can say with my new planner, I am looking more into my days and how I manage them. And even though I’m not yet accomplished, I am learning about myself and how well I manage – well, me.

Peace, Love, and Planning



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