Why Planners Are a Waste of Time

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So, January is nearly over. The new calendars have scuff marks, boxes on our year habits are left unchecked, and everyone on Instagram has a prettier planner than us.

Are we going to give up and give in to February blues?


#095: When Planners Waste Time

Although the hope of a fresh new year often expresses itself in new planners, pretty markers, and a renewed resolve, the reality of life lived with and for others often undermines our planner-related ambitions.

There are three reasons why planners are a waste of time for a stay-at-home mom and homemaker, though these hold true for others as well:

1. Planners are a waste of time when they are more connected to our aspirations than our duties.

I know too often I look at my planner page or calendar for the upcoming week and start filling in all I’d like to do, forgetting that even though my calendar is free of appointments, my time is not unspoken for.

All the regular duties of life might be on the list, but many aren’t. In my mind, I don’t account for the time they take. I don’t take into consideration the fact that I can’t put conversations with children or counseling over math pages into the schedule.

If I fill up my day with things I’d like to get done without leaving plenty of margin for those things – those things that matter much more than organizing a closet – then either I feel stressed out when those priority interruptions happen or I throw out the entire plan and conclude planning doesn’t work for me and my life.

If planners are primarily our wish list of what we’d get done if we were in control of our time, they will be a frustration, not a help.

2. Planners are a waste of time when they are left unopened in the other room.

The big secret to making a planner or calendar or to do list useful?

Look at it.

Yup. You come here for the deep insights.

If we make our plans, arrange our priorities, list out our duties over the weekend, and then never refer back to it, is it any surprise we don’t do what’s on our list?

Sometimes we choose not to look for this very reason. It’s easier to shut our minds off and pretend we don’t have a to-do list.

If that’s our habit, then even making a to-do list is a waste of time.

3. Planners are a waste of time when they tell us other people’s priorities and systems instead of our own.

We buy the fancy planner, buy the stickers, buy the accessories, and dutifully fill it all in. If we use the sections, answer the questions, fill in the boxes, then we’ll be on top of things, right? But too often those pre-printed categories don’t actually translate to our particular needs and circumstances.

If they don’t, then those planners are just making busy work for us and wasting our time.

However, just because planners can be a waste of time, doesn’t mean they always are a waste of time.

On Monday, January 29, at noon Pacific (3pm Eastern), join me for a 30-minute conversation about my own planner and 3 ways to make your planner NOT a waste of time.

Plus! Everyone who registers will get a free downloadable planner template, based on my current weekly planning page.

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