Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Just Plan On It!

I'm your typical, Type A, "Planner."

Not that I don't love moments of spontaneity, but day to day living that is well planned out and well thought ahead makes me very comfortable and very relaxed.

Living moment to moment {for every moment} or not having a full handle of what is coming up and what I need to accomplish leaves me stressed and anxious.

So, for the last 6 years I have been a user of a planner.

A very specific planner, that is.

The summer between my Junior and Senior year of high school, I attended the first of three levels of Student Leadership University, where they introduced us to Franklin Covey daytimers and their organizational system.

We were gifted a beautiful black planner that had part of SLU's motto on it {Five Years from now you will be the same person you are today, except for the People you Meet, the Places you Go, and the Books you Read. SO so true.} and a year's worth of pages.

I used it off and on my Senior year of high school, but mainly to keep track of my babysitting jobs and church responsibilities.

I started college and everyone was buying the 8x10 university planner but I knew right away that was an inferior product. So, I went online to order my refill pages and gasped when I saw the prices. Ridiculous.

So, there lay the problem. Once you are aware of a "gourmet," product, the cheap version just won't do it for you. I soon wandered into the planner aisle of Target and all was redeemed when I found that Franklin Covey produced a generic version of their pages for Target!

I bought those filler pages for the next four years and continued to use the black shell for my planner.

The year we moved all over the place (in 2010 we moved to Florida, Virginia, Vancouver, and the Middle East,) I went shopping with a family friend and picked out a new, slightly larger shell (Fire engine red, thank you,) and used that "slim" version for the year.

2011 dawned and I found myself on the other side of the world, with, sadly, no access to a Target.

My sweet mother in law, knowing my disposition and penchant for planning, went and picked out a beautiful new shell and filler pages for me and mailed them to us for Christmas.

And that, my friends, is the very long story of my "Covey," planner.

Everyone has their own system, I am sure, or at least their own lack of a system. Some use post it notes, scraps of paper, plain notebooks, or whatever planner that strikes their fancy that year.

This, is a look into what my system looks like:

Introducing, Bubble Gum Pink Covey:

Isn't she beautiful? My first one zipped shut, my second one didn't stay shut at all, and this one has a cute little clasp. I definitely like this one the best, since it stays shut and doesn't let papers fall out, but it doesn't make the loud "zipping," sound that my first one made.

Zipping noises prove to be quite the distraction for children and adults alike in classroom and work settings.

Or in church.

Or in the movies.

What? I remember things that need to go in my planner at weird times!

Open her up and you'll see this:
1- Behind the cover flap I store pieces of paper that I haven't filed or filled out yet. This was my Fetal Movement chart for my doctor that was ridiculous. One hour, three times a day. I'll admit. I did it twice and then just filled it in for the rest of the month with rough estimates.

2- Payments for various things that need to be made. Though I don't usually carry our cash around and I don't really pay our bills here, I am unofficially in charge of making sure we have the correct change to pay our cleaning lady who comes in and vacuums and mops for me.

3- There are slots for business cards but since people don't really use business cards that often, I put some key verses on mini index cards. I need to switch them up, but I keep forgetting to!

A Typical Week is laid out like this:
1-The top 2/3 of the page is broken up in half hour increments and is used to schedule your day. I am not that busy of a person, so class or church are usually the only things that get "scheduled," unless I have a meeting or Dr. appointment.

2- 1/6 of the page is broken up in a cute little to do list, with a place for check marks and everything. *Sigh* This is my catharsis.

3- The final 1/6th of the page is labeled "Notes." which I use for various things. This semester I am using it to keep track of how many hours I study and how many hours I use my Arabic out in the community, for reporting purposes.

The second half of the week is very similar:

1- On the Friday To Do list portion, I usually put a few chores that I want to accomplish that week. Apparently that week I wanted to "Install a toilet seat, clean our second bathroom, and clean off the balcony." FYI, that balcony never got cleaned off. ha! See? To Do lists don't master my life...I master them!

2- On the Saturday/Sunday to do list, I try to think of a few "honey do's," that I talk to Ian about at the beginning of the week. He'll tell me if they are unreasonable expectations and I edit accordingly. He works on them throughout the week and I get the joy of checking them off. Everyone wins.

3- Since we live thousands of miles from...well...everyone, I have a hard time keeping track of who I have kept in contact with. On the right side of the "Notes," page I keep track of who I have called/skyped with and who I have sent an email or facebook message to.

A close up of the To Do list system:

1- Pretty simple really, a check means "finished."

2- An arrow means "I didn't do this on this day/week and I have put it on an alternative and later to do list." There's also the potential for an "X," but I try to avoid that because "X's" still scream failure to me.

I'm working on it.

There are TONS of extra little pages at the end of the planner: An Address book, Menu Planner pages, Shopping lists, recommended book and movie pages, website and password tracking pages, much more!

The back inside cover has these two features:

1- A Clear zipper pocket to store those loose pieces of paper that you don't want to misplace. I keep coupons, appointment cards, and brochures here.

2- A notepad for various, you know, notes. The best little lesson I learned at the original organizational lecture was the pitfalls of using different pieces of paper to keep track of things. This can lead to lost or misplaced notes and then missed appointments or things. Having this pad of paper for jotting this miscellaneous notes that can then be moved into the various monthly or weekly tabs! This particular note was a list of nursery/baby items that we needed to purchase before Grace's arrival.

Well, that's just it. If I've scared you with this little corner of my mind, I'm sorry! Hopefully, though, some of you can identify with my need to be organized and well planned out!


Callie said...

Wow, Girl, you are so organized! I'm impressed. I try to be organized, but half the time my "planner" just ends up being in my head, because I forget to write things down.

Sonya said...

I love Franklin Covey stuff too! I have to stay off their website! I tried a planner like that but it was just too bulky for my purse! I did buy one of their planners that had room for a to-do list every day and it's my favorite so far!

Amber said...

I'm a planner lover too! And this post definitely made my day...I didn't know such an amazing planner existed! I need to get to Target and get myself one of these!!!

Unknown said...

I'm like that! I had a planner like that uni but now I use my blackberry.

Mrs. Lukie said...

I completely understand your need to be organized and use a planner...a girl after my own heart ;)

Jessica said...

Wow, you are so organized! I understand though, because these things make my heart beat a little faster too :-)

Alison said...

Love it! I used to be organized like that! But now with 3 kids and 1 on the way...

Karli said...

I too am a type A planner!! I am obsessed with my planner. I love the arrow idea. I'll have to start using that! If you get through the year and are interested in trying a different planner look at Erin Condren's Life Planner - I love mine! :)