Planner Planning: The Science of Arting

By Karine “Don’t Call Me Steve” Tovmassian

December 2016

I often create words. I would say “non-existent” words but once I’ve created them, they exist so my existential argument is won by sheer Descartian theorem.  Q.E.D. The Science of “Arting.” What the funicular?! Well, let me explain. I have come to the weighty profundity of understanding how my planner makes me want to be better person. Person-ing is an art form. After all, we are called Human Beings because we are consistently in the process of being human! But getting the details down on paper to become a better person, with goals that are met, appointments which are kept and phone calls that are made (on time) is a massive scientific undertaking. There is an entire science behind writing things down and how hand-eye coordination affects the human brain. Seeing as we are all human, those are OUR brains being talked about. And so here we are, giving a hoot about why planning in our planners is not just something to talk about because there is nothing left to talk about, but is the thing to talk about when trying to understand why you’ve gone a full week with blank pages intact and a slew of stickers at the bottom of your handbag.

In reality, I was hoping the title of this article would send off a volatile, uneasy feeling, where you would all suddenly become painfully aware of how your lack of planning is going to be the sole cause of you ending up living in a van, down by the river. That’s not happening. One of you will inevitably show me a wonderful image of your Airstream neatly parked by the waters of some fancy shmancy riverside, whilst you are engaged in riparian supper with restaurant light bulbs hanging romantically above your heavily filtered instagramed photo. Oh, yeah. I want that too. However, in the process of getting all that sorted I still make all my plans by planner planning. I take the time out of my weekly “wake up and be awesome” moments to actually create the time and space to write down what I have achieved, what I would like to achieve and the impact those achievements will have on my overall plans to take over the world and disrupt Steve Morton’s network of villainy.

I have a tendency to stop writing in my planner when things start getting crazy. I mean Planner Planning is one thing, but when the craziness of the moment strikes,  I am hurled into a whirlpool of wanting to catch up with it all and in doing so, creating a false sense of “if I hurry up and do this now, I won’t have to write it down and it will be one less thing I have to worry about writing down today. I could use one less thing today. This is it.” Actually, that’s when I need to write things down. In that very moment. I need to press the “Matrix” button and watch all the to-dos around me slow down to nano speeds. That’s what Planner Planning does. The consistent, daily, weekly, monthly effort to practice the discipline of deciding what goes into your planner and which mode of operation will best support your efforts to people in this world is what makes Planner Planning the worthwhile.

With the holidays approaching fast, as they often do, and with the relative speed of deadlines increasing in proportion to the importance of said approaching holidays, the value of regaining a sense of self can be equated to an art form. I often talk about the first-class lifestyle and how we are solely responsible for the lifestyle we currently have. I truly believe a first-class lifestyle can be achieved during the holidays, so long as Planner Planning is the foundation for the set up. The first premise of the first-class lifestyle is understanding how it is affected. There is a natural law that exists simply explained as the following: Nature abhors a vacuum. That is, nature doesn’t like voids. If there is a hole, nature will fill it up. Try it. Dig a hole in your backyard and leave it alone. In about a month’s time it will naturally start filling in with other things. A similar example is the following: you think to yourself “self, the holidays are approaching, best to NOT make plans, which means I can absolve myself of planning, which means I will have boat-loads of free time to spend however I want.” The law of nature will take effect soon enough. You will be agreeing to parties you never wanted to attend, simply because you have “nothing planned.” Unnecessary spending, over eating, over drinking, and then boom! In a van, down by the river across from the instagrammers enjoying riparian feasts, with no romantic restaurant bulb lights.

However, if you have exercise scheduled, along with meal prep menus, grocery lists, meditation times, meetings with friends, and other moments which you actively incorporate into your wellbeing, then your wellbeing is planned for the holidays and your first-class lifestyle is in effect. Planner Planning is very much like budgeting money but instead of money you are budgeting activities, work, events and the like. Having a budget doesn’t mean you won’t go off it. It also doesn’t mean you will. It’s a plan of action. If you find you have budgeted $400 for “Fun Money” you don’t care how you spend it because the rest of your money plan is accounted for. You are actually budgeting to allow yourself spontaneity. Strange but true. Similarly, with Planner Planning you are not planning out every single moment of your life. You are merely creating the parameters of self-care and well-being so when other activities come calling, all you have to do is look in your planner to see if you are checking in to the spa or checking in with (insert other than spa activity here). If you don’t create a plan for planning, second class and third class-lifestyle activities will eat up your time, money and patience. I equate this to the euphoric feeling of Friday night, knowing the weekend is ahead and then suddenly realizing Sunday night, you’ve done nothing, didn’t even relax properly, because you just “wanted to take it easy.” Congratulations, you are the poster child for having achieved bupkis.

It’s one thing to actively take the weekend off and another to be a victim of non-action. Let this holiday season bring you the things you always imagined for yourself. Be that person you admire. If you are into gifts, get them done the way you’ve always wanted to. If you are into cooking and entertaining, get it done, the way that’s in your heart. If you are into charity, then plan an event centered around others. Don’t wait around for motivation to strike. That’s a false sense of romanticism. Step powerfully into creating that first-class lifestyle for yourself, not because there is nothing else to do, but because you have now scienced the arting. Happy Planning, sweetie darlings!

Karine Tovmassian spends her days embroiled up to her eyeballs in others’ resumes. If you need career advice, a resume refresh or just want to see her online shop, check out She is the creative half of “The HitchHiker’s Guide To The Plannerverse” podcast, the first ever planner podcast to hit the airwaves. You can catch the podcast on iTunes and on her blog Karine will be speaking at the first annual PlannerCon in March 11-12 2017. To keep in touch, click on Instagram or check out  Plannerology’s social group on FB

2 thoughts on “Planner Planning: The Science of Arting

  • December 1, 2016 at 6:51 PM

    Great article! Thank you!

  • December 2, 2016 at 9:32 AM

    I haven’t caught up on Hitchhiker’s yet, so I’m curious why Karine’s name now includes “Don’t Call Me Steve.” lol


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.