Planning for a better 2020 — in which I take a step back on Planners

I said planners and gadgets don’t work. Not for me.

Well, I found one that I had to try, and I’m loving it.

Lara Casey’s PowerSheets www.cultivatewhatmatters.com — I kept seeing all sorts of YouTube videos touting them, and with all the detail provided, the idea entered my mind that this might just possibly be a truly useful tool. So I took a very deep breath and ordered the Powersheets Starter Bundle ($100, roughly) . . . and prayed I wasn’t throwing that $100 down the drain.

My box arrived yesterday, Wednesday, after I ordered late Saturday. Not bad at all.

Let me say this up front: This is NOT a “Planner” in the traditional sense of the word. The Powersheets Goal Planner is a guided evaluation of your present and past life, and a chance to consciously plan where you want to go from here — what you want to be able to look back on when you’re an 80 (or 90, or 100) year old Geezerette. There are monthly sections for short-term goals and evaluation, but this is a tool to work in conjunction with your regular calendar/planner.

And this not the usual trite and frivolous planner. Casey and her development team invite us to go deep, to look at our fears and insecurities, to transform the way we see them, and to consciously create lives for ourselves — based on what we value, not on what some external authority tells us is supposed to be important. Somewhere I saw that Casey comes at this from a faith-based perspective, but there’s nothing cloying about PowerSheets; I am comfortable with them as a Catholic, and I think a person without any faith value would be just as delighted at using them as I am. WE get to determine what we value and want to accomplish.

There are a multitude of YouTube videos introducing the Powersheets — my favorites are Elyssa Nalani and Ashlyn Writes — but you can just put Powersheets in the search bar and have at it.

I’ve made a start with the preliminary evaluations, but I’ll be revisiting these early pages often in the next two and a half weeks, leading up to Christmas, developing my thoughts, going deeper inside myself to see not only what’s important (that’s kind of obvious?) but past the generalities into a more specific vision.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED PRODUCT.

Planner mania

It’s the season for planner mania — all the planners and organizers marketed for 2020 are being pushed everywhere, not least on YouTube. I found one from a gal who actually uses a lot of the accessories for planners (stickers, washi tape and so on) who did a video saying, basically, “you don’t NEED all the Things.”  Gotta love someone with the guts to say it, when everyone else seems to be saying, “Oh, you NEED the Things!”

Confession: for years I was one of those who bought the Things thinking they would somehow elevate me to being the sort of person I imagined the promoter to be: savvy, sophisticated, ducks in a row, etc. etc.  In a word: lovable.

NEWS FLASH:  they don’t work.

I don’t have the time, nor the inclination, nor the artistic bent to mess with all the Things. I want a planner that will allow me NOT to forget my schedule (when little Tommy’s make-up piano lesson was scheduled, this week?) and will give me an opportunity at the end of the day to say, “Ahhh, good, I did these things on my list. It’s been a good day.” or, sometimes, “Eh, need to tighten up on . . . “whatever got neglected or overlooked.

With that in mind — and because I do need beauty around me (topic for another blog post, soon) I have invested in a Franklin Covey BLOOMS, 2 pages per day, planner, which I will be using for recording me ToDOs, writing word counts, music lists. . . whatever.  I’ll be hybridizing it with a dot grid “bujo” style paper to keep track of various projects and misc. lists that have to be dealt with. I love the soft pink and green background on this planner so I will enjoy looking at it as I use it, and I’ll use it several times a day.

I have a basket of washi tape that I bought on impulse and may or may not ever use . . . and a couple of pens, mostly black, but also the ever-reliable Pilot Precise V-5 in assorted colors.  I had bought a few sets of color pens, including “brush” pens, in hopes of pushing myself into the Artsy realm. . . but that was a flop and I gave the pens to a teacher friend to use in her classroom.  She and her students will get far better use out of them than I would have done.  There really isn’t any point in spending money in other Things — because I’m not going to use them. I like keeping things streamlined with a fine-point black pen. <shrug>

The point is, a planner doesn’t have to be elaborately decorated in order to be useful. What do you need to record? Dietary and exercise achievements? Word count on a writing project or time/pages of editing and revision?  Appointments? Household routines and tasks? Music practice? Stickers might be a bribe to do more for some people, but I’m not one of those people. Just let me get on with the task and not waste time trying to figure out whether the sticker needs to be in the right-hand upper corner or  somewhere else.

I DO, however, practice using a nicer handwriting in my journal. I am teaching myself Spencerian script, and I’ve been using a French 5-line paper to practice. But that’s because I love pretty lettering and calligraphy, and I feel it reflects my sense of self-respect. When I’m hurried . . . my handwriting isn’t so nice.

Do what you need to do in order to accomplish your goals. You can always ADD embellishments as they reveal themselves to be relevant. Easier than diving in over your head and becoming discouraged because you didn’t do it “perfectly.”  The only PERFECT planner is one that helps you to be a better you. And it doesn’t have to cost buckets of cash.  So relax and just do it.

And God bless you!