In our digital world, we are constantly bombarded with conflicting messages. We’re told we need to slow down and unplug—while, at the same time, we’re told that every new calendar, reminder or planning app is the best way to simplify our lives. But perhaps the best way to simplify our lives is to just do what is simpler, and for me, that means planning my days and months on paper.
My planner makes me happy. That may sound a little extreme to some, but it’s true. The design and colors made me smile the first time I saw it. There are inspirational quotes I’ve scrawled over it that motivate me and remind me that I can achieve my goals. Before even diving into the practical side of it, my planner makes me happy by reflecting my personality.
My planner calms me down. In our ever-connected and fast-paced world, multitasking has become the norm. At any moment I have ten things running around my brain: As I’m in the checkout line, I’m trying to remember my weekly budget while looking at the time and trying to remember when I need to be home for the plumber. And did I actually pay the utility bill this morning, or just think about it? And when is the deadline for the school fundraiser? It goes on and on.
My planner is how I can calm the chaos. It’s therapeutic to be organized, and there’s a physical pleasure in writing things down, making lists, and planning, categorizing and prioritizing. I have daily, weekly and monthly goals set out in neat lists. The structure of my planner is balanced with colorful words and doodles that reflect my outlook and inspire me every day. When I release my thoughts to paper, safely tucked away and bound, I can allow myself to relax and enjoy the parts of my day I might squander otherwise. When I take a break from a busy day I don't have to worry that I’m forgetting something, because it’s all planned out and recorded. If I need to reassure myself, I simply open my planner. I don’t have to log on to a device or stare at a screen. There won’t be any getting distracted by social media or caught up answering emails. By using my planner I have the power to “turn off” without sacrificing my ability to check in on my day and my goals. I love crossing things off a list when they’ve been taken care of; it just feels good and is a reminder of my accomplishments.
My planner is easy. It’s not just about the happiness I get from seeing a planner that reflects my personality, or the ability to take a break from the technology that distracts me while still staying organized. It’s also about the convenience. How am I going to access my shopping lists or appointments if my phone dies, or (even worse) breaks unexpectedly? A cracked screen won't remind you that you need more tomatoes or what time your next meeting is, no matter how long you stare at it.