The Crazy Suburban Mom: Drive-thru planning...

Monday, February 18, 2013

Drive-thru planning...

I write a lot about organizing but I struggle with it.  I've come up with what I think are the main reasons:

  1. When I think about something, unless I act on immediately or write it down, it's gone in 35 seconds.  
  2. It takes me forever to build a habit.
  3. I enjoy the planning process more then the doing process (and planning isn't doing).
  4. I feel so behind most days that I'm playing catch-up instead of moving forward.
  5. What works best for me is, the less rules the better, but that has it's own problems... Like I don't always remember where I put the information I need.
  6. Sometimes I start tasks but don't finish them so I'm never quite done with anything.
  7. I thrive in a visually simple environment, too much  clutter makes me feel edgy and saps my energy,  but it's hard to pare down.
  8. I live with other disorganized people so sometimes it doesn't matter what I do.
  9. When I hyper-focus, I lose the big picture. 
Filofax a5 compared with a Midori Traveler's Notebook

It's all a little overwhelming some days. 

I will admit some things are better when I religiously use my Filofax, especially numbers 1 and 5 but number 3 is an organizing killer. I need a balance of planning and doing, without it using a planner is just another hobby.  And that I don't need!  

Okay. This stuff is giddy-making! #smash #k&company #filofax

Not that long ago I wrote myself a how to be neat list and I think the one about laundry (The laundry isn't done until it's put away) applies to planning too.  My to-do lists help enormously with getting things done.  At least I have a chance to move forward with tasks but writing things down is only the first part, the easy part. 

In some ways writing things down feels magical, like I'm  there already.  But that's a problem.  I'm expecting it to be a drive-thru experience.  Do you know what I mean?  When you go to a fast food restaurant and give your order to a microphone, it tells you to drive up to the next window and Voila! My dinner pops out a window requiring no participation on my part. 

Writing tasks down for the day feels like that sometimes; I expect the Filofax Fairy to finish for me. Now I  see what I'm doing and it's a lot like throwing dirty laundry in the washer and expecting it to reappear in my drawers, clean and pressed, a few hours later.  

Perhaps as I continue to use my Filofax, I'll get better at planning out the steps, figuring out the time management of it all, and that will help me with the getting done part.  For now I need to slow down, learn to manage  my days a little better and pay attention to completing  each step myself. 

 But mostly I need to stop expecting my Filofax to be the planning equivalent of a fast food drive-thru .... There are many steps  between ordering a Big Mac and getting one  and between planning out my days and getting everything done.   I don't have to make the burger but I do have to participate in my own life to get from to do to to done.

personal portland filofax

And we both will be much happier when that happens...


Elizabeth Gonz├ílez 2/18/13, 7:47 AM  

I agree with you Tracy. There are many steps between what you wrote in your planner and actually getting it done.

I relate on that part with you a lot because I write down "study" and that's the one I try to avoid LOL and I'm a student, so you being and having to do all the things you have to do, must be more hard...

Currently I'm trying and trying to make my planning works but it's something that I think just take time and honestly I spend so much more time watching videos on youtube or reading blogs or even looking for Filofaxes or planner on ebay that I should even when I wrote down not to do it such and such day LOL

Sharon Korkes 2/18/13, 8:06 AM  

Great post, Tracy, and I am right there with you. I am great at planning but not so great at doing, and that is making it hard for me to move forward.

Tracy Reinhardt 2/18/13, 8:10 AM  

Elizabeth, It's so hard sometimes! I have all good intentions and at the end of the day... nothing accomplished!

Sharon - It's so frustrating, I plan all day and at the end... nothing's done. Where did my day go???? 2/18/13, 9:57 AM  

So many great points. I can so relate!

I used my planner faithfully for years! Then we had some major life changes and everything changed. Since then, it like I haven't been able to adapt. I went from a pretty structured life to one that is different every day. And that has created some major planner issues for me. Where I used to make a list and then do it, now if I make a list at all, I'm lucky if I get one or two things done. I've always been one to advance plan but these days I feel like I'm always trying to catch up.

And to make matters worse, I'm doing a planner dance. I know the reason. Every day is SO different that I feel like I need a completely different system for each day. One day I might not have any time so I hardly need a list. But the next I'll have all day (rare) and I need a long, detailed list. But then I have in-between days where I need a list, but not too long. And frequently plans change so fast that I end up on Plan Z by the end of the day. My planner can't keep up so I keep switching based on my always changing needs. I'm getting a headache just thinking about it.

I probably just need to bite the bullet and pick a planner and find a way to make it work regardless of my day. But so far I haven't been able to do that. This is so not like me and I hate it.

Oh, I might add that I have ADHD and I'm dealing with menopause. It just keeps getting better, doesn't it!

LJ 2/18/13, 1:54 PM  

I sooo identify with you on that list, but I don´t get why I can´t just put my laundry it the washing machine and then it appear in my drawers all clean and fresh... someone needs to invent something to sort that out right away :-)

Ray Blake 2/18/13, 2:48 PM  

Two thoughts. Firstly, work remorselessly on improving your planning : finishing ratio. There's no point in spending all your time playing with your planner and leaving no time for the tasks themselves.

Secondly, instead of big amorphous tasks, like 'do laundry' make checklists that break it down into many small tasks, each of which earns its own tick and allows you to feel like you're getting things done even if you only finish one or two steps today. You can pre-print these checklists or even get them turned into custom rubber stamps to save further planning time.

Sandra 2/18/13, 4:53 PM  

I'm certainly one that can hold her hand up and say I prefer the planning to the actual get off my butt and doing it lol. I know my problem though, in my head I'm a go getter and an organising wiz queen, but in reality I'm lost. Still no point in me putting it off or over thinking it. I need to get my act together

Susan Mac 2/19/13, 8:37 AM  

It's the right brain thing! Us creative types aren't supposed to have to DO.
I will buy, watch or read absolutely anything with the word "Organize" in the title, hoping that it will magically set me on the path to order. Alas...

Tracy Reinhardt 2/19/13, 1:10 PM  

Homemakers - The planner dance, I so know what you mean. I'm only in the personal because I promised myself I'd use it come hell or highwater for one week! The first few days I hated it but I gave it time and months later I'm still in it!

LJ - let me know if the magic laundry genie ever comes to pass! I so want that!

Ray, You're right and it's funny but I do that for some tasks - when I need to write a letter I say, write letter and also mail letter as a separate task. Why I don't do this for big things, I'll never know! But I'm going to do it now that you brought it up!

Sandra - That's really it, getting to doing. Now if only I can work it out!! lol

susan, I'm so there too. And it's not like (at this point) every organizing book is new and different. After so many they all look the same but I still get excited wishing for the magic organizing pill!


Cheryl 2/19/13, 9:25 PM  

Glad to know I'm in good company. As I was reading the list my cheeks were flaming a bit. I can relate to each and every item. Planning isn't doing should be tattooed on my forehead!

Delilah Aston 2/20/13, 2:17 PM  

I agree with this post SO MUCH! I'm having a major hard time trying to find a system that works for me because I also am good at the making of the lists, not so good with the follow through! I think I will try making some more detailed lists...

MySummerTouch 2/23/13, 7:18 AM  

I can relate in a lot of this. I don't know what is holding you from getting things done. I found my two big reasons - laziness and that I need some kind of starting point in the morning to actually start doing things. i found that if I start from the biggest or scariest thing to do, even if I don't get it finished, I already feel an accomplishment and I move to other things easily and it is usually a very productive day to me. Another thing is to start the day with exercising. This is in my plan to do actually, so haven't done it, but my husband is exercising every morning and I see that he doesn't have problems with moving his things furhter to be done.

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