How can you make plans, without a planner?

I kick it old school. Analogue. Pen and paper. Hardcover, paperback and Velcro laces. Alright, maybe the Velcro is going a bit too far.

Some of you may recall that back in October I talked about the importance of taking time to be successful. I had a pretty good game plan, but failed to execute on it fully. I never made the time to work on everything, especially the things that I wanted the most. I never followed my advice.

I had a problem I needed to solve, and spent many long hours and sleepless nights trying to figure out what best to aid me in my quest. Surely there must be some invention in existence that could help me, some system to help me plan my day-to-day activities. As I sat upon 16″ of frozen ice (as opposed to melted ice), wood stove in the ice hut crackling, fish not biting, it hit me. I recalled my high school days, it was a Tuesday, I believe. Every Tuesday in September, I was given a coil book in which to record and track important dates and what have you. By Thursday it was gone, but that’s besides the point. They called it a planner.

I am a man of sense, perfect sense I have argued. And there is no more perfect sense than employing the use of a planner to help me plan. It’s elementary. With the light above my head flickering with enthusiasm, I headed down to my nearest office supply shop. Forty minutes later, I swaggered myself to the cash with my overpriced 5-3/4″ x 8-3/8″ Weekly/Monthly Desk planner. I raced home in excitement, just like that time Charlie found the golden ticket in his wonky chocolate bar.

After ripping out all of the January and February pages, I got to work planning the next two weeks. I knew there were 7 things, aside from my wife, that I need to be making time for; learning to copy write, creative writing, blogging, running, reading, playing my bagpipes and doing some sort of physical activity. There are 2 television shows each week that I watch with the missus, and I always make that time available if she is free.  I penciled in time for these 7 activities; 1-3 times per week, per activity, depending on what they are and what else is going on. I walk the dog right after I get home from work, cook/eat, then do nothing until 6:30pm until the news gets a little fluffy, then it’s game time. I decided to keep all work related nonsense out of my planner. I am planning to help me be happy and looking at work doesn’t instill much in the way of being happy. If it’s good, it goes in the planner. With a little luck and a lot of hard work, this planner may one day hold the day I walk into work and tell them to “take this job and shove it”.

Today is day number 5 and I have played my bagpipes and am now blogging as planned. I have spent less time on the internet this past week, and ended up reading quite a bit longer than planned. I made a few adjustments as things came up, but I have had a very successful week. The past five days have really opened my eyes as to how much social media and the internet distracts us. Most of all, I clearly see how important it is to take time to get things done. I have quickly seen that being able to visualize my week, really makes working towards my goals easier and less overwhelming.

Now, in the event that some of you are asking yourselves why I would opt for a physical planner over electronic, the answer is easy; I don’t like the idea of having my face glued to a device. I shut my cell phone off 3ish months ago and never looked back. A planner works everywhere, doesn’t need to be charged and other than the initial start-up cost and the cost of a pencil, its free to use. I also don’t have to worry about it being out of sync with anything either, or not working in the cold. I can quickly make side notes, use the ever so useful arrow doodle to move stuff around and point to new ideas and information. And, if I am ever lost in the woods, I have a source of dry paper in which to start a fire.

At this point, I can’t say for sure how long I can maintain this effective time management, but I can say that it is actually working. It will likely always work, I just need to make sure I am taking time, to take the time. The proof is in the pudding, even if that sounds like a shitty pudding.


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