It is about that time of year when we all start thinking about getting our planner for next year. We spend hours scouring the stores and days online searching for the perfect planner.
We watch YouTube videos about this planner or that planner. We compare features and coils, sizes and design.
And none of it matters.
Wait…what did I just say?
Your planner doesn't matter? Blasphemy and lies!
Of course your planner matters… it is the thing that will help you get organized and stay on track. It is the thing that will make your time magically make sense and help you earn more this year.
It will not only help your business, but also your life.
You will lose weight, spend more time with your kids and travel to exotic places with the time you will save using a good planner.
A Cautionary Tale From A Planner Junkie
I have a planner problem (or at least I used to) so like a reformed alcoholic at an AA meeting, I can tell my story in hopes that I can save you some heartache, time and money.
My planner journey started in college. When I got there and visited the college store for the first time I spotted the planner and journal section. I told myself that if I had the right planner I would be able to do my work study, ace my classes and have a great social life with frat parties and friends.
That didn't happen of course. I did have a fairly good first year, but then my best college friend cheated on me with my boyfriend and the planner didn't help.
During my twenties I abandoned planners entirely, living a life of fun and frivolity that barely needed to be monitored.
But then they came back in my 30's when I became an entrepreneur.
Now that my time was my own, of course I needed a planner to tell me what to do!
I started with a fairly basic planner, just a bunch of squares that had a month's worth of time laid out. (#ad) This worked okay for a while, functionally all I was doing was recording upcoming appointment and due dates.
If you are not doing anything right, start with a planner like this, just start training yourself to keep track of things that are coming up.
I have a monthly planner page that you can print out if are not sure this is the way you want to go.
But then I became busier and figured that a planner would help me manage more of my time. I was dropping balls and felt out of control so of course, I had to get a fancier planner.
Off I trotted to Office Depot and got the holy grail of planners at the time, A DAY RUNNER!
There was a fancy cover, different kinds of inserts and I dutifully carried it around with me everywhere! And it did mean that I knew what I was supposed to do when…. but it really didn't change my life.
Seriously? I had spent a hundred bucks or so at a time when that was a pretty significant investment on my part. And my life still wasn't going the way I wanted.
Fast forward to a few years ago.
All the pretty planners came out and I was IN LOVE! They were pretty and a funny size and AT LAST, with all the extra bits and community around them, I would be organized and in control of my time!
By now I had 3 kids and it was super important to write down the times and dates of things, because I was feeling like there was never enough time…
Wait… what was that? Was that just an insight?
Your Planner Doesn't Matter
OH MY GOSH, about 2 years ago I realized that a planner would not change my life.
Seriously, after decades of thinking that THIS YEAR I would find the planner that would make me organized, out of the blue it hit me…
The planner isn't the problem!
Well that sort of sucks. If the planner is not the problem, then looking around, who is left to blame?
Oh… it is me!
I don't just need a place to write down dates and times. That is factually correct information that I can put into my online calendar MUCH more effectively than a paper paper planner.
And a planner won't solve the problem of being an entrepreneur and wanting to do ALL THE THINGS.
That is up to me too.
It will not help me to be a better Mom, or get to the gym more often or even do my laundry. All that is still me, me, me.
So what the hell good is a planner if it can't help with any of those things?
Your Plans Matter
Here is the brilliant thing that I have figured out… your PLANS matter!
If you want to lose weight this year, don't buy a planner. Go to the gym more. Hire a personal trainer or a chef to teach you how to cook. Hook up with a friend and make a commitment to go biking three times a week.
But DO NOT BUY A PLANNER!
If you want your business to be better then figure out what you like to do and double down on that, get a marketing plan and stick to it, develop new products and sell them, contact a 20 new client prospects a week.
But DO NOT BUY A PLANNER!
When I realized that the problem was me I was despondent. Obviously I had not been able to manage myself for years before and now I didn't even have the hope of buying a planner that would fix everything.
And then I realized that I already had everything I needed at hand. I had been making “forms” to get things done for years. Forms to brainstorm my business, forms to make sure my team did all the blog posts, I was crawling with forms.
And those forms were what would save me!
Instead of trying to manage my time retroactively, I needed to be deliberate about what I was doing.
I needed to plan out what would make my business and life a success and then dedicate time to what was important!
So I started a form store. I have forms and planners and classes that help business owners to figure out what to do… and we are doing much better.
Here are some of the nice things that people have said about my forms…
Etsy Selling Sheet … Just what I needed to keep everything organized! Erin
Coaching Business Planner … This product contents are great. I like the flexibility it gives me to choose the inserts I need at the time I need them. I recommend this product. Sandra
Creating something like this on your own may seem like an easy task but the tidiness of this worksheet, along with the tips and advise that come with the download, make this item WELL worth the small investment! Emily
I have planners and forms for Entrepreneurs, Realtors, Writers and Etsy Peeps! Check them all out here!
Please Don't Buy My Planners
But none of this works unless you are willing to admit you are the problem!
If you are looking to have someone else solve your problems, then my planners will not be pretty enough or expensive enough or have enough bells and whistles for you.
My planners are plain on purpose. The design doesn't matter. The work you do on them matters.
I have had people tell me, in all sincerity, that they would have bought my planner but they didn't like the font. Seriously?
They thought that using my systems could them them but they didn't like the font?
Or the size. Oh, the size thing. When I was in my “planner phases” I thought having special sizes made planners special. But then reality would rear its ugly head. I would need to buy a special sized folder to hold regular paper in since the planner was funny sized.
If I wanted to save something from a conference or meeting, I had to fold it and punch it and make special holes.
Stop messing around with sizes. The world works on letter sized paper. Use that.
How to bind it… I like using ring binders because I HAVE to have my planner lying flat. I use a Staples Arc system that lets me use rings and have a hole puncher. (#ad) But you don't have to!
You can use a three ring binder, or a clip board or just a stack of papers.
How you make your planner doesn't matter either.
Your Time Management Problem Is Not Your Planner
Your planner cannot make your life different. Using it can make your life better.
I LOVE my planner. I LOVE my business and how I feel when I am doing actual work that will make my business better.
I LOVE helping people make their businesses better.
Do buy my planner if you want to find love, happiness and make a million dollars (JOKING!) Seriously, do buy it or something like it if you are ready to have an amazing and productive year!