Jack of Many Trades

Myself, My Planner, and Never Being Satisfied

Originally posted: 2014-01-27

So I'm thinking about my planner.

Yes, again. Hush, you.

I got back into paper planner usage a couple of months ago and I'm really loving it for the most part. However, in that time, I've found myself constantly cruising the office supply section of the thrift store, looking for... I'm not really sure what. Perfection, I guess. My hope is that I will find the perfect binder.

First I wanted one with a closure, so I got my Little Red Franklin Covey zippered binder. Then that was too small to hold everything plus my tablet, so I found a larger red zippered binder. That turned out to be too big, with giant 2" rings. Another few weeks of thrifting turned up a brand new, middle-ground, black Franklin Covey planner. It was so new that the plastic holding the inserts was still in place!

I settled in, just in time to get out my 2014 inserts. I enjoyed not having to worry about zipping it, but then I had to worry about things falling out. Just this week I ended up back in my thin, zipping red binder, at least for the time being.

I'm like... 80% satisfied with my paper planner, and 85% satisfied with my online to-do list, but mostly I wish there was some way to bring the two together into one thing that fulfilled all of my needs.

Since I haven't yet found an online system that does everything I want, the logical choice would seem to be to go all-paper, which is totally customizable. However, I have a really hard time committing to that. I'm not sure if I just don't want to carry my planner around all the time. That's almost certainly part of it. But I also am a big fan of Backing Up All The Things and paper... is much harder to back up.

Not impossible! But harder. And for something that I'm going to be carrying around all the time, there's a certain amount of fear that something will happen to it, or I'll lose it, or... I don't know why I'm afraid of that. I haven't lost a purse or a wallet in years. But the fear is still there, and it makes me hesitate to depend on a system that can't recover from being lost.

You should see the backup systems I have otherwise! Everything is in Evernote, which is both in the cloud and on my computer. There's Dropbox, there's Google Drive, there's Box.net... tons of services that sync quietly and seamlessly. Everything goes where it needs to go without my help.

But where it needs to go and where I need to go are apparently not the same, and that's hard to get my arms around. I find the solidity of being able to hold it in my hands appealing.

I'm not sure which of those is the thing I need to work on, so I just keep forging ahead.

The zipper pull broke on my Little Red Franklin Covey, and I replaced it with an old key. I also made my own dividers using some goddess cards I found at the Goodwill and the laminating machine at my office. If it's not meant to do the heavy lifting, if I'm admitting that I use the planner because it calms my mind, then I might as well go full-force.

There are some things that I need to track because they're important - paid bills, doctor's appointments. There are other things I track because it helps keep OCD checking behaviors in, well, check. Those things get written in the planner. I feel better knowing they're there, and having a system to keep them in, a system I trust, means the OCD backs off just a little more.

And regardless of where my documents are stored, if having the binder means I'm not engaging in checking, I think it's worth having.