A co-worker introduced me to the Erin Condren Life Planner in July. Suddenly I remembered my undergrad days when a planner was my lifeblood. I couldn’t function without it, and if someone had ever taken it or I had misplaced it, my world would come to a screeching halt. As I read reviews and watched the plethora of YouTube posts (it seemed everyone who had ever purchased one had also either done a blog post or a video with a 20-minute “walkthrough”), I suffered from sticker shock, but also a growing need to have one. How had I gone so long without a planner? I asked myself over and over again. I had never quite gotten the hang of the digital organization I so wanted to make work: Evernote, SpringPad, even Notes and Reminders on the iPhone just hadn’t quite cut it. And I thought about the nights where I can’t sleep because my mind is racing with to-dos and ideas, notes and projects, blog posts and emails I need to write. When those nights pop up, the only, ONLY way to calm my fevered brain is to get up with a pen and a pad of paper and just write everything down. Good old pen to paper.
I could get my money managed more effectively, and keep track of expenses, I thought.
I could organize my blogging calendar, I thought.
I could have all of The Boy’s school and Autism Society events in one place, I thought.
I could even put events for work in there so I always know what’s going on and when, I thought.
I could include a daily to-do list, I thought.
I could keep our evenings on track between homework and other household chores, I thought.
In the end, I convinced myself to bite the bullet, and give it a shot. In the whole scheme of things, if it didn’t work, the cost was not that prohibitive. I ordered my planner and waited about 4 weeks for it to arrive.
When it came, I wasn’t sure what to do with it, and again, watched videos and read blog posts on the most effective way to use the planner. Come to find out, most people’s posts were about how pretty they could make the thing with washi tape and stickers, without any real substance on how to use it. So I turned to the notes section and made a list of all the things I wanted to keep track of, and began to form my own ideas of just how I would keep track of all of the stuff I mentioned above.
It’s been about two weeks, and it is being used, multiple times a day. Not only do I plan, but I record expenses (usually first on a sticky note, and if I have time later, with the “proper” label that I have devised), and other things that have happened.
But the biggest A-Ha of all is that by having everything recorded, I don’t remind myself six times a day about that one thing I want to remember. I have a go-to spot for important papers. I know where stuff is. And all of these things allow me to 1) relax more, and 2) be more creative. I have time to think about (and jot down) ideas for blog posts, and even outline my dreams and plans for my own nonprofit which I hope to start someday.
So I guess this is my own obligatory Erin Condren Life Planner blog post. And I’m not trying to sell you on anything – it’s not for everyone. But I am glad that I have gone back to paper, because it’s actually allowing my mind to unburden itself of all the small stuff so I have more time to think about the big stuff.