November 18, 2013

My Planner On Steroids

What Mandy Thinks: "Real Person Chronicles" post
There's something about writing down your plans, appointments, and assignments in a highly organized planner that gives each day a purpose.  Did I do a chore I've been meaning to get done for months?  Put it in the planner and cross it off like the to-do master you are!  When's that comic book movie with the dreamy, long-locked hero smashing things with a hammer coming out?  Check the planner, it's gotta be in there!  (Because... ya know.. Thor!  He's important to remember!)

Planners have been a staple (no pun intended) in my office supply loot I've hoarded since I was old enough to use office supplies.  Every school year meant a new planner to scribble in with all my assignments and due dates appropriately acquired through the endless note-taking and constant paranoia pushing me to remember everything or I die of anxiety and regret.  High school and college only upped the ante with more homework to do and more jobs / internships / volunteering / anxiety to schedule because this overworked anti-social homebody running on iced tea and mac and cheese had only so little brain cells to go around.  Onward ho with the "real world" where everything has slowed down but my "need to planner" has not.  I found myself jotting down daily notes that mostly involve chores like my mother used to post on the fridge each week to finish or no allowance.  (My twenty-something chore allowance is mostly chocolate-based currency.)  Then came the blogs - more stuff to jot down for future posts nobody ever reads but I somehow find the motivation to post anyway.  So what am I to do now that my usual school schedule is definitely on hiatus but I still want to keep myself in check at the same rate?


There's a friend of mine who's as openly obsessive with organization, color-coding, and planner allocating as I am.  (AND she has a blog now, Desultory Dilettante.  Check it out, lovelies!)  She showed me how she keeps a planner with a pack of colored pens representing each task / event logged throughout the month, ways to make your own planner when the store-bought ones aren't your perfect fit, and just an all-around organization-gasm of information that blew my mind.  Why hadn't I thought of doing color-coded notes like this?  (Well fine, I knew why - I usually hate pens; my commitment issues extend from relationships to my writing utensils.)  Her planner was a buff dude showing off at the gym against my wimpy planner barely able to do sit-ups!  Me - not organized enough?  Blasphemy! 
I started my own version at Alyssa's inspiration.  A multi-pack of smooth and sexy colorful pens were purchased.  The mostly empty planner I bought at the beginning of the year thinking it could help me with my blog schedule (nope - that's what my bloated Evernote account is for) had a month or two left in it, so it became a great starter for my new system.  See the key I made (image to the right)?  It's kind of fabulous, I'm not gonna lie.  My commitment phobia of pens has diminished since my scratch-out / underline technique (show in the Monday box) helped me remember what I did and didn't do, what was more important than other things, etc.

I even came up with something called the "three strikes, you're out" clause (clause, yes - it sounds more important giving it a classification).  If I write something down for that week, I can't neglect it more than three times of writing it.  Maybe I need to wash my car but end up crossing it out as "rescheduled" twice that week.  I've gotta get it done on that third time on whatever day I finally end up doing it or... I don't know what happens but "GAH GET IT DONE, WOMAN" is what the planner is doing, yelling at me for my laziness and inability to commit to the task at hand.

My 2014 planner (lookin' spiffy in it's hard-back purple and gray self on the left) better be ready for the colorful assault I plan for each of its pages in the coming year.  I may rearrange / relabel some stuff, but other than that I think my planner on steroids is working out swimmingly!  My chores are actually getting done (without much chocolate currency motivation), my blog schedule may or may not be improving (*shrug* we'll see), and... LOOK IT!  It's SO PRETTEH!  My kid self is patting me on the back for extending my organizational love of color used in arranging my crayon box into my real-world life planner as an adult.  Planning it all fabulously... with a beefed-up planner!

Do you keep a planner or calendar for school / life / both?  How do you keep your tasks organized?  Is it an electronic or app based system or old-school paper and pen?  Do you have any other planner organizing tips you'd like to share?  Let me know in the comments.

Happy Planner-ing!

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