Living a life of passion, purpose, and productivity requires us to plan, plan, plan.
What does your ideal planner look like?
Discover your ideal planner. . .
I've spent hours in bookstores and office supply shops looking for the ideal planner. I love planners. I seem to think that if I can just get my grubby little hands on the right planner, I would accomplish more and maybe not forget important things like, "Oh, yeah, I'm teaching today at five."
Here's the problem with that kind of thinking: the ideal planner isn't a planner. It's you.
Whatever system you use, you are the planner, not the paper and pen or the app. You are the one who calls the shots, defines the priorities, schedules appointments, and juggles everything to make it fit. You are the one who makes it or breaks it by your self-discipline or lack thereof. And you are the one who will, ultimately, stand before God and give an account for the way you spent the time He gave you: the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years.
You are the ideal planner, regardless of whatever system you use.
That's an important piece of information, because it means you don't have to wait to get started. You can start today with a piece of paper or a 3 x 5 index card or the back of your grocery store receipt. Obviously, the more orderly you are with your planner, the more likely you are to use it. If you lose your receipt, you lost your plan. And that's a problem. But if that is all you have, that's a good place to start. The first thing on the back of the receipt could be "find or buy a notebook for planning."
It doesn't have to be a three-hundred dollar, red-leather gold-zippered cover with a fifty dollar, complete planning system inside. In fact, I recommend you start small and cheap and figure out what kinds of systems you would really use before you invest. Some will be overkill for your life, others will prove to be, well, disappointingly underwhelming. So give it time.
The important thing is that you need something that lets you plan on many different levels: the daily, the weekly, the monthly, the yearly, and even the long term. Most planner systems do this, but each has its own unique spin on it. And you are unique, so your brain may not mesh well with some planners. For instance, the first thing I look for in a planner is the layout of the days of the week. I like having them all on one spread, but I hate it when they are just blocked off in squares. I want columns, preferably with hourly lines for appointments and a section at the bottom for extra things. I won't use squares, they don't fit my brain. If I can't have columns, I'll just use a normal monthly calendar and live with the mess.
You may be the opposite: you may hate the columns and hourly slots and thrive on big blank squares. You go, girl! You can dominate your day that way, and that's great.
But, whatever planner you end up with, whether it is complicated or simple, expensive or cheap, cute or chic, leather or pleather, please remember that the ideal planner is actually you.
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Laura Berrey and her husband Tim are missionaries with Gospel Fellowship Association. They share a passion for missions which has taken them to several countries in Africa, Asia, and Europe. They currently minister in the Philippines.