A few years ago, I was in a job I hated, I had dropped out of college, was in thousands of dollars in student loan debt and had no direction in my life.
Yet, I always felt so busy and like I never had time to do or invest in the things I wanted to accomplish and spend time with the people I loved.
That all changed when I picked up my first planner and committed to using it.
You see, I have always been more of a “Type A” personality. I still remember so clearly the first ever planner I got in 5th grade. It had a horribly bright, orange clipart Tiger cover on it, thick paper, with small, silver coiled binding. I treasured that thing. I loved writing in it. I loved seeing what was coming up next. I loved feeling productive and like I was “ahead” of my homework. Since 5th grade, I’ve had multiple planners and desktop organizers, but none had been life changing like my first Erin Condren planner was.
I don’t remember how I stumbled upon Erin Condren planners, but I was hooked. You could be organized and make it bright and whimsical too? Sign. Me. Up. I was always drawn to organization, but feared becoming a crazy, stuffy, obsessive type person. I had a limited mindset that I wasn’t creative.These things just aren’t true. Sure, they come more naturally to some personality types. But anyone and everyone can be organized. I truly believe this with all my heart. I think it takes hitting rock bottom to see that it’s time for change, it’s time to make better decisions.
My planner became my happy place. I would look at it often when I was at work, motivated by the cute, small stickers and plans for fun things I had written down that afternoon. It gave me peace, it gave me an exit plan, it gave me hope.
Soon after I began using my planner, I realized a few things:
1. I was a human being. I need white space in my planner.
White space in design is not a good thing, but in our real, actual, very mortal lives, white space is necessary. It’s a very good thing to have in your planner, scattered throughout your weeks. It means you don’t have anything planned. You can be spontaneous. You can rest. You can relax. You’re giving yourself space to be a human.
2. I was doing a bunch of things I didn’t like, with people I wasn’t fond of, in places I hated.
That’s what happens when we don’t take ownership over our lives and schedules. Truly. You have more control over these decisions than you think.
3. Time is precious.
It goes by so fast. In my deepest bouts of depression, time seemed to drag on forever and ever. Yet, I would flip the pages in disbelief that I had let another month go by, sitting in the same space I had been when I had began that month. Enough was enough. It was time to change.
4. Daily habits, when done in the right mindset, add up immensely over time.
Do what you can, when you can.
Please know that it takes time and discipline before you may feel, “in the groove” with your new paper friend! Give it at least a month, daily committing to using it/looking at it before you move on to the next one.