This post is by Jazmin Frank.
I have a planner problem. I think the internet world calls it “planner envy,” though I think a better phrase is “planner distraction.”
It started a few years ago when I discovered a planner that allowed me to customize the content, add stickers, and switch out covers. My life is a series of wanting items customized to fit my exact needs, so finding a planner allowing me to do just that felt too good to be true. So I purchased the planner and happily set about customizing it.
Months into my new planner life I began questioning if this planner was the best I could find. It was great in some ways, but lacking in others. There were extra pages I didn’t know what to do with, sections that didn’t quite fit my needs, and I really wasn’t a fan of that particular binding. Surely there was another tool that could do a better job.
That thought sparked an almost obsessive search for the perfect planner. Just about every six months I was purchasing a new one only to replace it a short time later. I grew more concerned with my search for a better planner, so much so that every time I tried to schedule things in my planner, I almost always ended up thinking of how I could have a better planner experience.
It finally got to the point where I was so distracted and anxious, over a planner, of all things, that I had to call it quits. No more fancy planners. I went to Target and picked up a nondescript planner that fit my needs but wasn’t distracting, and I fought to get my planning life back.
Don’t get me wrong. I love planners and most days I love that we live in a world where we have access to multiple options—in planners and so many other things. We don’t have to follow a one-size-fits-all model. We can find what works best for us. However, with so many options out there, we can easily become distracted.
Planners are tools and that’s all they are. Their sole purpose is to help us keep track of due dates, assignments, meetings, and appointments. My life became too complicated, not because I was trying to plan too much—though sometimes that is an issue—but because I was allowing myself to get distracted by something that really didn’t matter.
This whole experience forced me to reevaluate what actually matters to me. Does having a trendy, customizable planner really require more of my time and attention than the work God is calling me too? Is my search for the right planner really worth spending all of that money on?
For me, the answer was no.
I would rather be intentional about scheduling my time, maintaining healthy margins, and pursuing my goals.
Using a planner is a helpful practice, but a good planner will help you prioritize what matters and make a schedule to get those things done without distracting you from the work.
If you find yourself trying to chase down the elusive “perfect planner,” it might be time to pull back a little bit, pick up an inexpensive planner from the office supplies aisle at Target or write down your plans in a blank notebook, and reevaluate what actually matters.
Planners are a tool, not our end result. Let go of the idea of a perfect planner—either in finding your one-stop-shop kind of planner, or keeping your planner all neat, tidy, and decorated.
Keep it simple. Let it get messy when necessary. Allow it to be a reminder of what goals and tasks you are working toward, but also hold your plans loosely to allow God to lead you in His plans.
Jazmin N. Frank is an author, teacher, and speaker who loves helping others build daily, devoted relationship with God. With an emphasis on Bible study, Jazmin equips and encourages ordinary people to love God, love His story, and live devoted. Learn more and connect with Jazmin online @jazminnfrank or on her website jazminnfrank.com.
Jumpstart your mornings with my free workshop and the 3-Minute Morning Kit.