I always considered myself a planner. I love to make lists and create systems, so I perceived myself as a person who likes to operate on a schedule. And I’m pretty sure everyone else thought the same.
But I’m not. And it took me until age 44 to truly see that.
As an INTP, I see possibilities and love to explore options, and I’m not a fan of being locked into a plan, even if it’s only on paper. I appreciate flexibility. When I have a day ahead of me with no written-in-stone commitments away from home, that is when I’m the most creative. This is why each of my past attempts at using something like this
has resulted in failure and feeling like a complete loser.
I’ve realized that my love for lists is not a result of being a natural planner but of needing a way to create some calm out of the chaos that is my brain. It doesn’t stop, and I have to have a tangible way of bringing some order to all the thoughts and connections that are swirling around in there or I’ll go crazy. The key is that it has to be flexible and serve as a general guide as opposed to a schedule.
Enter a very scaled-down and simplified version of bullet journaling.
Converting to this method has revolutionized how I plan my days. No longer do I stress over super specific planner spaces that aren’t being utilized or the fact that I’m not sticking to a mapped-out schedule. With this style, I just list the things I would like to (or need to) accomplish that day as well as events that I know are happening at a set time. When I complete a task, I fill in the circle. If I don’t complete it, I draw an arrow through the circle and move it to a different day.
This is literally the first time I have used a planner for more than a few weeks without giving myself up as a lost cause. I used to view my failure to adhere to a schedule as a lack of discipline, but now I see that it’s simply the way I’m wired. I am far more productive and peaceful if I have the flexibility to change gears and move in a different direction when I’m feeling inspired or motivated. Obviously there’s a time and place for concrete commitments (such as appointments or activities) and routines (such as spending time with God first thing in the morning because otherwise I know it’s not likely to happen), but beyond that, my sweet spot is found in options and improvisation in the context of loose plans.
Hmm. That makes me sound a little flaky. ;)
I intend to share how I use my planner in much more detail in December and will also include a video tour along with links to the printables I use for the contents. In the meantime, if you are interested in the weekly pages pictured above, they are a free download (yay!) from The Handmade Home.
P.S. No, you did not miss Day 10. I did. It was bound to happen, and I’ve decided to just let it go. :)