The Crazy Suburban Mom: The point of effective planning...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The point of effective planning...

Over the last week I've used my A5 Malden Filofax with a new setup that is, for all intents and purposes, blank paper.   Holy Aha! Moment, it works really well.

The only downside is it's a giant paper suck but I can't argue with my daily success.


Although  Mr. Malden might, he's getting a gut from the volume of added paper and is in dire need of some Man - Spanx ( Manx?)

The left side page is for anything that has to do with self-care, the right; everything else.


 I know this kind of planning gives people the creeping heebie-jeebies and yes, it  seems counterintuitive at first.  The whole point of planning is to structure your time, your life... Specificity seems called for but it's a double edged sword and sets me up for very negative thought processes in the name of perfectionism. 

It's like when I was in school.  If I didn't see 100% blazoned across my work I had a meltdown. Since things are rarely perfect,  I melted down a lot.  All or nothing expectations leave you with a vague (but constant) feeling that you don't measure up in a way you can't quite put your finger on.

Striving for perfection in theory seems like a good idea but the reality is, it's a hindrance.  Julia Cameron said in her book The Artist's Way  “Perfectionism is a refusal to let yourself move ahead. It is a loop — an obsessive, debilitating closed system that causes you to get stuck in the details of what you are writing or painting or making and to lose sight of the whole.”

Setting unrealistic goals is almost always accompanied by critical (and usually unkind)  self-evaluations and  feeling like people are grading you in some way.    Ms. Cameron is right about perfectionism and I think the loop she talks about extends to the way I use planners.

When I get stuck in the details of how to use my Filofax, obsessing about how I plan or the correct way I should plan, I lose sight of the whole point because planning isn't doing.


Planning is a tool to get me from to-do to to-done.  In a perfect world I'd just know what needed doing, grab that toilet  brush with two hands and have at that awful thing but it doesn't work that way for me.  I need the reminders that planning gives me.

I have to be very careful with my planning.  To little and the toilet (plus everything else) remains an unspeakable horror but if I plan too much perfectionism creeps in.

And nothing still gets done.

The reason loose planning works is it allows me freedom to plan creatively which I love and to enjoy the planning process itself.  Without a lot of shoulds about my system I can do it however I want and not feel graded on the results.  I love marking off what's done...  Love knowing (or thinking) I have a handle on my my life  and love using all my colored pens.   

There is a simplicity about the whole thing which is great because simple keeps me from getting stuck in the planning stages of anything.  

 It's a difficult balance for me; planning vs. doing.  Truth is I really like the planning process much more then some of the things I make lists about doing.  So it's kind of a trade off.  The sooner I  complete the task, the sooner my head comes out of the business end of a toilet and  goes back into my Filofax...

... and my life.

Ben and #ventura have a great big belly laugh

Because that's the point of effective planning...


Nancy 10/25/12, 7:46 PM  

Really good, Tracy!

Anonymous,  10/26/12, 3:58 AM  

Great post Tracy, i'm with you on this one, I can just about manage the planning side but rarely get the mundane tasks done, something i'm working on right now is getting more organised and in control. I'm also a perfectionist but this leads to major anxiety and nothing gets done!!!

Tracy Reinhardt 10/26/12, 10:22 AM  

Nancy Thank you so much!!

Tracy Reinhardt 10/26/12, 10:23 AM  

Alison It's hard for me, don't know why! And I'm with you on the anxiety - it can get so bad and like you said, nothing gets done

LJ 10/26/12, 11:56 AM  

Totally with you - I´m good with my work stuff, but when it comes to everything else I get sucked into my little planner vortex and that´s it - game over :o) 10/27/12, 11:08 AM  

Oh my gosh! Did you take a peek into my head? I'm exactly the same way. Exactly.

I love this: When I get stuck in the details of how to use my Filofax, obsessing about how I plan or the correct way I should plan, I lose sight of the whole point because planning isn't doing.

Thanks for this article. I'm probably going to print it and put it in my planner for future reminder.

Tracy Reinhardt 10/27/12, 11:31 AM  

Homemakersdaily - Thank you so much for the comment! It's nice to know I'm not the only one who does these kinds of things!

Cheryl 10/27/12, 1:11 PM  

Well said! And I'm curious about the left hand page you showed...seems like you are creatively journaling your water intake and other healthy habits. As I am setting up an A5 health filo I find that interesting and inspiring!

Tracy Reinhardt 10/27/12, 1:27 PM  

Cheryl, it all started with a post I wrote that was called How can I have such and extensive to do list and forget to shower?

Some days I get so off track its crazy - by the time I realized I haven't even showered it might be 3 in the afternoon. Which is crazy!

So I started writing even things like shower/ brush teeth/ make up/hair. And vitamins, water... Plus I started listing using hand lotion. My hands elbows and feet are so dry and rough. But a little over a week of moisturizing three times a day and they are SO much better. I wouldn't even have thought the results could be that dramatic, but they are.

I know things like putting on hand lotion seem silly in a filofax but I can't argue with success!


Cassandra 10/30/12, 3:41 PM  

You might enjoy Jenny's site,

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