In this week’s podcast episode, I’m talking about two things: why most people use their planners incorrectly, and why using a planner at all sometimes causes us to lose focus on the things that truly matter.
Are you using your planner as a datebook? You need to be here at this time, then here, then make sure you make it to this meeting while your kids get to this place after school. When we use our planner as our datebook, we may have an idea of the times of our appointments and commitments, but we don’t align our weekly focus with the goals we actually want to accomplish in our lives.
I’m not saying a datebook isn’t important. Last week, I asked you all on Facebook whether you kept your appointments and dates in a paper planner or on a digital calendar. Some of you were die-hard paper people. Most of you said you used both. Not one of you (not one!) uses a digital calendar exclusively.
I’ll get into my paper planner in a minute, but for my date book, I exclusively use a Google Calendar (which I detail for you in my Email Organization Course). It lets me share all of my appointments with my family, who each have their own Google Calendar as well. Everyone can see where everyone else is, and with the alerts and reminders feature, we never forget where we need to be because we always have our phones with us.
A traditional planner is just a place for a calendar and a to-do list. This isn’t how I manage to be an extremely productive person. In fact, I don’t have a to-do list at all.
Does that shock you?
It’s not entirely true–I have a collection of tasks I need to check off and things I need to accomplish, just like everyone else. It’s just that my “to-do list” is a series of sticky notes and index cards that live in my Sunday Basket.
I also keep lists (what to buy from the Back to School Blitz, where I’m going on Errand Day, etc.) on my phone, and my contacts are digital now, too. So, many of the things I used in my beloved Franklin Covey planner back in the day are now inherently in my phone. They all come with me wherever I go, and I don’t lose any of them.
The problem with a to-do list, in my opinion, is that it’s never done. You never get to feel fully accomplished. Sure, there’s a rush of achievement when you get to cross something off. That feels great! But once a task dies off your to-do list, five more come to its funeral. It’s never-ending!
If you’ve been around Organize 365 for a while, you know that I divide my year into thirds. The How I Divide My Year Into Thirds episode explains this in great detail, but basically, I have a New Year from January through May, Summer from June through August, and Fall/Winter from September through December. Each of these “years” has its own rhythm and obligations, and I set different goals for each one.
If you are a member of The Productive Home Solution and ordered a planner, you’ll see a list of all the roles and responsibilities we take on as women. It’s a lot, and it’s overwhelming, to say the least. And NO ONE can get it all done!
Yet, we expect ourselves to. Sometimes, others expect us to.
You can’t. But instead of wallowing in that feeling that you’ll never be fully finished, you can free yourself by prioritizing what is truly important. What do you really want to do with your week, your year, and your life?
We have to decide what we should focus on and what we can do.
In Episode 241, I tell a story about the 2018 RISE Convention last September. My son, Joey, got up on stage and talked about how he’d always known I had a business, but going to the conference and hearing all the women speak showed him how much Organize 365™ is affecting women’s lives. It made me stop and realize–I have my flaws as a mother, but I am the right mother for my kids. I’m doing a good job.
I could have become a better cook, but who would have developed the entire Sunday Basket® system? I’m not saying one is better than the other, but I am so fulfilled in my business. I feel like this is my purpose and calling–not cooking.
Organize 365™ helps women get out of depression, save their marriages, and become more organized so that they can spend more time with their kids–not in the laundry room. It doesn’t matter that we don’t eat dinner as a family, I don’t cook from scratch, and I’m not even doing their laundry anymore. Joey is going to be able to run his own business with confidence and capability because he watched me do it.
LIVE your life with purpose. Be productive and be fulfilled. Your kids will see you do that, and then they will be able to live their life with purpose and fulfillment.
Keep that in mind when you’re making your next to-do list.