Skip to main content

Tied to the Planner...

Woman doing a survey - Stylized vector illustration of...I sat down in the big easy armchair and laid my head back. I was generally at ease for a few minutes. But, like most people, my fruitfulness is self measured by achievements that can be crossed-off, highlighted, or moved to the next day's agenda list. Some popular planning system with the initials FC is the devil. My life is tied to the planning system, it is a mind focusing, detail oriented, Task Master. I am lost without it. And I have only myself to blame.
I was always a list maker, from childhood. My short term memory is for the birds, and prioritization on paper helps me stop bits and pieces of information from swirling in my  head. If I don't make a list, I will be trying to remember what I needed to do, only my mind acts kind of ADD'ish when it comes to that.

In any event, it was logical for me to grab onto this popular planning system and all the great time management and project management training, right. Already a list taker. Check. Needs to prioritize. Check. Can't find her blip blip if not attached to her body. Check.

So, I signed on about 8 years ago. I took my first class and got my first planner. I lived by the planner. Only I did not really employ the planning techniques for prioritizing and quadrant living. You know, where you balance out the four quadrants of your life for a more effective, stress free, efficient life? Yeah. Chucked those with the box to the planner.

But I used the planner for the next two years. It was the law. If it was not in my planner, it was not happening and never occurred. But I was still a little stressed with time and project management. Aha! I will take the training again and this time actually USE the information I learn. Hmmm....why not? So, I gave it another shot.

I went to another class, with my planner in hand. I bought a new cover and insert as a part of class registration, but I wanted to have my active planner on hand so I could learn realistically.

First problem: The instructor seemed as if she used every single one of the effective habits on an hourly basis. I cannot do that. She seemed as if her life, career, family and finances were all magically in order because of her superior and specific use of every element of the planning system. I cannot use every element of a recipe, when it comes all together in a bag. I am the person who puts together a bed and always has one extra screw. THIS IS NOT GONNA mind was screaming.

But, my job had paid for me to have this full day of training with treats and beverages, so dag on it, I was gonna learn this system inside and out. Initially, after my hyper reaction subsided, it was all good. Turn to this page, Ms. Management would say, and do this...okay, now a group exercise.

To use a planner? Let me freshen my tea first, and maybe eat my apple. I feel fatigued. It is 11:00 a.m. already.

I participate, and make some great new contacts and acquaintances, even getting an invitation for drinks later from a group from out of town. I perk up a little and learn how to prioritize my day using the right symbols and categories, and how to use my monthly page to catalogue entries I may have made that I might want to get back to quickly. That never worked so well for me. Making a note about a note seems redundant, and just plain, well, strange.

By mid afternoon, after an hour lunch....I am going down. I have drank several cups of tea and coffee, and am now working on ice water. I have at least two more planned bathroom breaks. Great for me that I have my coveted crossword puzzles from the New York Times, USA Today and the Columbus Dispatch. I spend nearly an hour working on that while Ms. Management discusses the 4 quadrants and how our lives fit and overlap amongst them, and perkily 'what could we do to manage this better? YES, focus on another quadrant. Typically Quadrants II and IV.' Sigh.

At 3:45 p.m. on the nose, the instructor begins telling us about all the lovely materials we can purchase and she happens to have them on hand RIGHT HERE on sight. Yes, and your company can buy them all for you for today's special price of $298.33, but only if they act within the next 72 hours.

That is my signal to start packing up my puzzles and return my tea & coffee cups and water glass. By the time 4:00 comes, and the instructor says 'It was so lovely....I have my jacket on, and having already exchanged business cards with the interesting people, am at the exit door waving goodbye. I grab my certificate from the front desk on the way out of the building, and hit the interstate with a sigh of relief. It's the weekend, because of course I schedule all of my training classes for Fridays.
Girl with love on her mind - A beautiful African-american...On Sunday after Church, I sit down with my planner. I figure if I am going to retain any information, this is the time when I will be able to put it to use. I begin planning my week, and ohmygosh - these small nuances are incredible. Look what I can do: I can break my list of to-do's up in seven critical areas, list what my goal is for that area, and then list everything that needs to be done. I can prioritize THAT list with letters and or numbers, and immediately see where I should be focused. Then, I can make pertinent notes right across from that area (but I cannot make a note about the note on another page. #fail). I can color code!

After spending about an hour on my plan for the week, I do not have the energy to go on to the other areas I should work on, like one of my core areas of interest, blah, blah, blah.

I feel awesome when I am done - my week is right there in front of me. I did learn a couple of new ways to use the system, and even managed my Outlook email to maximize time and add ease to project management. Who knew I would retain all that while doing crossword puzzles?

In my mailbox, I saw the pamphlet with upcoming training classes listed. Project Management. I am registering as soon as I get back to the computer.


  1. I LOVE my FC!!!! I won't use electronic organizers -- I need everything all mapped out on paper. Never took one of their classes, so I'm using it "wrong," but when I actually use it daily just to keep track of to-dos and have-dones, I feel much better overall... and I get more accomplished!

  2. Elise - take the class. I used mine for years without taking the class, but it is really beneficial. I cannot live without mine. I even have a condensed version that I got hooked on this year.


Post a Comment

We appreciate your comments - we want to keep the dialogue going. It's elemental that we keep a discourse open among each other. This is our community.

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Hurricane In Paradise by Deborah Brown

Set against the steamy backdrop of Tarpon Cove's sun-kissed, tropical waters, sexy sleuths and best friends Madison and Fab are at it again dealing with the occasional dead body. Hidden just below the surface of the small town lies an underworld, one steeped in deceit, corruption, and deadly secrets. It's only a matter of time before Madison and Fab find themselves on a collision course with the police, who consider them likely suspects in a murder.

Ride along on their adventures when the duo realizes that a family member is missing and pull themselves away from all jobs to track him down. Theories: walked away, freak accident, kidnapped? If so, then why no ransom demand?

Hurricane in Paradise is book ten in the thrilling and humorous provocative Paradise series, which finds the two waist-deep in mystery and romance. It is a smart, adventurous read that delivers heart-thumping, non-stop action. Join Madison and Fab as they solve the most twisted of cases, through unconvention…

In Pursuit: An Ivy Nash Thriller by John W. Mefford: Review


The hunt is on…but who’s the one being pursued? 

A serial killer is terrorizing San Antonio, and the method of murder is beyond macabre. As Ivy Nash is pulled into the case by her police detective friend, Stan, there appears to be one intersecting point between the victims—Ivy herself.

Meanwhile, Ivy and her new organization, ECHO, take on a case for a run-away teen whose parents have disappeared. Was it self-imposed, or is something more nefarious going on?

Moving at a break-neck pace, the parallel trails to stop the killer and to find the missing parents seem both murky and crystal clear. But just as Ivy believes the end is near, past transgressions are slammed in her face—and nothing will be the same.

A man wants retribution. And he’ll even saw off his own leg if it means Ivy will suffer.

MY REVIEW Although Ivy Nash has separated from Child Protective Services, she is still in the business of protecting children. Now self-employed, Ivy runs a agency, ECHO,finding los…

In Defiance - Ivy Nash

Author John W. Mefford introduces Ivy Nash in the second series of the Redemption Thriller Collection.

A volatile hostage situation at a foster home reaches a bitter end: shots are fired, some die, some live to tell a sordid tale. In the midst of the anguish and confusion is one child who will bear the scars of this unbelievable turmoil.

As a special investigator for Child Protective Services, Ivy Nash lives by one rule: she’ll do anything to fight for the wellbeing of children. Anything. Something that was never done for her. As a “system” kid, she spent time in seventeen foster homes. Seventeen.

Very quickly, the facts of the case are blurred…accusations of sibling abuse, connections to drugs. Nothing lines up, and authorities want it all to go away. Their target? A ten-year-old boy. Unrelenting in her pursuit to find the truth, Ivy and her new friend Cristina uncover alarming new information to pinpoint who is at the root of the crime.

But evil knows no boundaries. S…