Planner Revamp

31 Days of Planner PeaceAs I mentioned yesterday, I picked up my planner again because things had gotten out of control in my head. I originally put it down because staying home with an infant involved very little forward planning, and it’s hard to write in a notebook with a baby asleep on your chest, so I wound up falling back on systems that were based around my phone. I tried one to-do app and then another, but never loved one. I leaned even more heavily on Evernote than I usually do, and kept all my medical appointments in Google Calendar.

For the most part, when I was doing the minimum, the system worked. If I had found a to-do app that did everything I needed without requiring a paid account, I might have been satisfied. But I didn’t have that GTD-like confidence that everything was safe and written down. Without that, my OCD eventually reared its ugly head again.

I prayed and offered to Mara, asking for inspiration to calm my mind. She pointed out to me what I always do to calm down.

I watch planner videos. Hours of them, letting YouTube recommend me one after another: Filofax, Franklin Covey, Erin Condren, kikki.k, Hobonichi, disc-bound, traveler’s notebook, bullet journal, chronodex. Whether it was a plain and practical bullet journal or a colorful life planner with washi tape and stickers exploding from the pages, it didn’t matter. I watched them all.

Paper planners calm me. The physical act of writing makes me feel better and more in control. I considered going back to the traveler’s notebook or the binder, but then my mind went back to the system I used in college. It was influenced by GTD and the hipster PDA, and the new incarnation borrows from the bullet journal, but it’s technically none of those things. Instead of an A5, I’m using the smaller size because it fits in my pocket. Everything goes in one book. Anything more complicated than that is likely to be too much for the dad of a busy toddler.

GTD as a system hangs on the idea of ubiquitous capture: if you put everything in your Trusted System, you can trust it, because you know it’s all there. The minute you stop putting everything in the system, it stops being a trusted system (at least for me) because I can no longer trust it. If I write everything down, my OCD abates because I know everything is in the notebook. It cuts down on what the brain weasels have to work with.

Planner Peace is having a system I trust, that allows me to reduce the noise of OCD in my head and be happier and more at ease.

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