by Ray Blake
If you spend long in the online planner community you’ll be exposed to lots of helpful tips and information. You’ll also experience a whole collection of myths. Here are some of them.
Myth Number 10: It has to be pretty
Planning isn’t generally a pretty affair. Things change and this is what makes planning necessary. When things change you need to be able to replan quickly whilst incurring as little collateral damage as possible.
Learn to cross things out, squeeze things in – sideways if necessary. In fact a pencil might be a much better tool for this than your expensive fountain pen.
Myth number 9: I need a special page/booklet for that
No, you don’t. A printed daily, weekly or monthly layout is a sensible idea to track your time-bound obligations, but otherwise you can manage perfectly well with blank, lined or grid paper. If you need to track something daily, just use a diary layout, or just keep a plain paper record. You can lay the information out any way that makes sense to you and even change your approach as you go along. Don’t give up that freedom for the tyranny of a form too easily.
Myth number 8: I need a special pouch to prevent scratches
A scratchless planner is like a shiny spanner; it may look lovely but it’s not getting stuff done. A pouch is just another barrier to you getting the thing open and into use. If you’re really worried about damaging your expensive planner, buy a cheap one. As it gets more and more beaten up through use, you’ll come to value it much more than the expensive one you have to save up for and wrap in a soft blanket.
Myth number 7: I do all my planning once a week
So you take on, change and fulfil commitments just during that session? What happens the rest of the week? Unless nothing at all happens, you need to be planning and replanning constantly. That thing you do once a week is not planning.
Myth number 6: I have an organiser now so I am organised
This is very similar to, “I bought a book on that subject so I know all about it.” Most of us realise that absorbing the knowledge from a book requires opening and reading the book, not just owning it. That applies to organisers, too.
Myth number 5: I suffered planner fail
The planner didn’t fail, you failed. You failed to use your planner properly or diligently enough. It didn’t let you down; you let you down.
Myth number 4: I can maintain an electronic calendar and a paper one as well
Yes, you can. It will take an unfeasible amount of time and effort to do so and it will become very tedious very quickly. Think of what else you could be expending all that time and effort on and decide to do that instead.
Myth number 3: I have to stuff my planner with ephemera
Do you have to carry that postcard from ten years ago with you everywhere? What about that recipe for ratatouille – are you planning to cook it alfresco or on the bus? No? This stuff belongs at home rather than weighing down your daily commute and cluttering up your planner.
Myth number 2: I need a new binder/cover
No, you WANT a new binder or cover. No-one ever found their tennis improved when they bought a new racquet bag. Your handwriting will not get better when you buy a new pencil case. Your planning habits will not be magically improved when you have a new holder for the paper. If you still want a new binder or cover when your current one isn’t broken, you’re not buying a tool, you’re buying jewellery.
Myth number 1: I’ll write that down later
Ray Blake makes his home on the Internet at My Life All In One Place, where he offers a metric ton of planner advice and free printable inserts for both ringed planners and traveler’s notebook style planners. He has also authored two books, Journalling School and The Pocket Notebook Book. He best describes his planner usage in his own words here.