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Monday, April 27, 2009

Pencil it in

I keep myself organized with a wall calendar.  I like that everything is posted there for the entire family to see.  Of course, the youngest two kids haven't caught the vision of checking the calendar yet.  I'm also pretty sure that Larry never looks at it.  If he did, he'd not be so frequently surprised about our plans.  But #s 1 and 2 always have a pretty good handle on the schedule.


This method also has its limitations.  The biggest one is pretty obvious.  The calendar is on my wall.  At home.  It doesn't come with me to the doctor or the dentist or the hairdresser.  So as I'm setting appointments, I'm always hoping that nothing conflicts.  I'm also banking on the fact that I will remember by the time I arrive home to write the appointment on the calendar.  If I have errands to run first, I may be in trouble.

Years ago I bought myself a planner.  I really wanted it to work out.  I used it very sporadically with limited success.  For several years at least its only function has been that of address book.  Secondary address book.  I have a primary one, which I received as a graduation gift from my young women presidency, that contains most of my addresses.  There are only a few entries that are current only in the planner.  Fifteen minutes of transcribing would eliminate the need for it entirely.

Here are my hang-ups with my planner:

1)  I'm not bad at writing things down in it.  I am bad at remembering to always have it with me.  I am also bad at checking it to see what I have going on that day as it simply becomes part of the clutter on my desk.  Or on the counter.  Or on my nightstand.  Like everything else.  

2)  I don't like seeing only one week at a time, I prefer putting my schedule in a larger context.   Perhaps I should have listed this first.  It's a big problem for me.  And yes, I know planners come with monthly inserts.  But then the little squares are too small to write more than one item in.  I often have four or more.

3)   When I use my planner, it becomes the place to jot down my  to do list.  This makes for a very filled up, hard-to-read, easy-to-miss-events calendar--even with the larger weekly sized squares.

4)  I can never get over the feeling that I need that wall calendar, so I end up recording information in duplicate.  That gets old pretty darn quickly.   And if I'm not perfect about writing appointments in both places ... well, I'm sure you can imagine the potential problems.  I think that if ever I want to make the transition once and for all I will need to give up the wall calendar.

For the gluttons for punishment still reading at this point, I will now share the story that necessitated this dry, wordy build-up.  It may not, in truth, be funny enough to have warranted this post.  What can I say?  The muse is still on holiday, I am assuming somewhere warm where she is sipping fruity beverages and getting a very nice tan.

Last summer I was given a small, paperback 2009 planner.  I thought, okay, not as bulky, cute--maybe this will work.  So far this year there are only three weeks that I've written in.  The first week of January, the second week of February, and the week before Easter.  I found the planner today, under a pile of papers on my desk, opened to that pre-Easter entry.  I chuckled to myself as I remembered filling in everything that had to be done that busy week and never looking at it again after that.  I checked out the page more closely.  The events happened three weeks ago.  But the dates read May 3rd through May 9th.  I hadn't noticed.  

The really funny part is that when I saw what I'd done, I was annoyed because I now cannot use the planner next week.  I'd written in pen.

23 fishy comments:

Kristina P. said...

When I worked for DCFS, as a caseworker, I had this giant briefcase planner thing. Everyone else used PDAs, but I need to actually write things down.

Now that my schedule is not as hectic, I just use a desk calendar.

Lara said...

I am totally lost without my planner. But, whenever I get more than a little overwhelmed (which is a lot), I tend to forget to look at it, and then I miss appointments like crazy. It is really dumb. But, I feel like if I didn't use it, I would really be in trouble. I think maybe just the act of writing it down goes a little way to helping me remember, even if I don't remember to look at it again. :)

Heatherlyn said...

HaHa, I actually did chuckle, especially at your irritation for not being able to use it that week in May!

We have ... a slightly complicated system over here. But it works. Jeremy is constantly refining it. And I just try not to complain when he makes changes that he is so excited about, to our system.

First, he has a planner. A franklin. It's the largest kind, so he can write down a lot of things even on the calendar pages. And he does do weekly planning. It's bulky. He complains about carrying it around, but it really does help. And he's pretty faithful about it.

I have a smaller planner. I use it when I'm waiting at dance and piano practices and at baseball games. I make my grocery list, plan details of other events, but rarely use the daily pages.

Laurel and Ewan also have small planners. They have not yet caught the vision. We need to be more consistent as parents. Jeremy mostly goes over their planners with their daily task lists before bed to review if they've done everything. And he encourages them to make journal entries in it. Like I said, they haven't yet quite caught the vision.

What I like even better than the planners is our online calendar. Jeremy recently switched us to the msn.live calendar (as I quietly grumble about making the switch). But the online calendar concept is wonderful. Kind of like the calendar on your wall. Everyone in our family has access to it online, from anywhere. The kids can add their own events. Jeremy can add events for anyone and for the family. Each event is color-coded based on who is participating. I use this every day. The kids haven't quite caught the vision of it, but maybe they will.

But again, the success of it all comes down to me remembering to write down events in it. Since I'm online every day I'm almost certain to look at the calendar and tend to have more presence of mind to add events.

But I feel like those receptionists at the doctor's office who tell you to wait a minute for their screen to load whenever they have to make an appointment for you because that's what I have to do when I make appointments too!

Jillene said...

If it's not written down--it is NOT remembered by me. I have a HORRIBLE memory!!

SO said...

I have a difficult time with planners and with calendars as well. But then my life isn't too hectic. My husband has a large book like calendar about the size of a file folder. It's black and it opens up to about the size of desk calendar. He loves it. I would go crazy having to carry that around with me.

Good luck on finding something that works for you.

Loralee and the gang... said...

I put everything into my phone calendar. And it has an alarm to remind me of the appointment that I can to set to go off from 5 minutes to two days before the appointment. It's pretty sweet.
:~D

Melissa said...

I have to say, I try to do both the wall calendar and my planner. Takes some coordination, but for me it works.

Becky said...

I don't like carrying around a planner much either. I use a wall calendar more often. Somehow I am able to keep things together, not sure how though...

rachel said...

I actually keep my calendars because it acts as a journal. I know that sounds really weird, but I can't tell you how many times I've had to pull out an old calendar from 2003 or some random year and look something up. Who was I associating with on a regular basis, what was I spending my time doing...my calendar is a life line sometimes. And I LOVE your last post :)

Melanie J said...

I'm a wall calendar only kind of girl. And I'm not even good at using that. Luckily have a good memory, but I'm kind of screwed when the Alzheimer's comes to get me.

Erin said...

You had written in pen. So funny! Note to self - write in pencil.

I have a calendar that I write stuff on, and I still forget about it. What's wrong with me?!

Diane said...

That sounds like something I would do. I like to write everything on 4"x6" index cards.

Cadance said...

I would be lost without my wall calendar! & I ♥ the little stickers I put on it too!

ramsam said...

I schedule appointments. so I have to have a calender. I also have to check it every night for the next days events. It has helped me mentally conquer feeling overwhelmed by just living day by day and crossing off days when I feel to busy. I would DIE without it, and I LOVE paper and pencils for this task. NO palm pilot for me!

Connie said...

Searching MMB and found you, chickee!! We're in Nampa. I'm trying to find more blogs of "women of faith" and read them. I don't think I know of any others in Idaho though. Nice to meet ya, sugar.
xoxo,
Connie

Wendyburd1 said...

I suck at using a planner too. Just get one of those keychain recorders and record appts as soon as you are alone and play it when you get home. Or not.;)

CaJoh said...

My mom has a wall calendar hung on the back of the basement door. Interestingly I keep all my appointments in my head and never bothered with a day planner. I do have a friend from high school who had a day planner and used it quite well.

I know that I keep an electronic calendar at work so that I don't miss a meeting, but never bothered to keep one on a personal level. With technology ever improving I could make the leap and use one that I also keep on my PDA (If I ever get one) so that it's always updated. And I would share it so that other family members can access it when they need to check the calendar.

2busy said...

I used to have such a good memory I could calendar appointments and activities in my brain. Now that my brain doesn't retain that type of information I have to use a planner. It sits on my counter for everyone's perusal, which virtually never happens, and then I grab it and toss it in my purse when I have an appointment in case I need to set up another. I try to give it a glance on a week by week basis so I know what is coming. It isn't a perfect system, but it works for me. Better than trying to remember.

Kelly said...

Since you are a Mac user and obviously on line most days, you should try out the iCal calendar. I was never good about using a planner either. I have gotten addicted to iCal and love that I can set up different "types" of calendar events and then best of all it all syncs with our iPhone so when I am out and making appointments I can pull up my calendar on the phone and add appt then when I remember (about once a week) I sync the phone with the computer. It is the only thing that has worked for me so far. It all seems pretty techy for a non-techy girl :)

Brittany Marie said...

I use post-it notes. Lots and lots of post-it notes. (don't ask)

Tink said...

I ended up giving up on the wall calendar and have loved having a Blackberry or my iPhone to input it all. I input it onto Google Calendar and then can view it from my iPhone. I love it! I was forced to use it this way because of work who gave me a Blackberry; and now my other job gave me an iPhone. I'm tied to work and home, but at least I don't forget what I have to do.

susette said...

I totally understand your decision with your latest post and admire your decisions and reasoning. I will continue to keep your blog in my blogroll and promise that you won't lose me. Good luck with all your adventures, and hope you have a beautiful Mother's Day!!

Shauna said...

Hope you have an awesome weekend!
♥ HUGS ♥