I accompanied a coworker to the big Mega Store next door (which I will not name because I would rather not acknowledge that I went to this establishment) to peruse, among other things, a new planner. She really wanted to get a new one, and I was all too happy to join her. After all, I absolutely adore paper products.
When I was in seventh grade, I asked for a planner for Christmas. I’m absolutely serious. That year, I received a cobalt blue classic-size Day Runner. It was a beautiful thing. Of course, as I was in the seventh grade, I wasn’t fully able to use most of the segments that came with it (mileage? expense reports? meeting notes?), so it was basically a very fancy calendar and address book. By the time I got to college, though, my planner (no longer the cobalt blue Day Runner, though) had morphed into a beautiful, color-coded, highly functional, well, planner.
My planners and the way I used them changed with each job. At my very first job after college, I was a media buyer, so the best planner for me was a giant wall calendar onto which I could write all my due dates (color-coded by account, of course). When I moved into ad sales, I returned to the traditional classic planner. Then I was a market research assistant by day and working towards my MBA by night, so a smaller compact-size planner (that easily fit into my backpack) served me better. But a paper planner was completely useless when I was a retail manager, so I got a Palm Pilot, which also served me well when I worked with Vendor Relations.
(Yeah, I traveled a couple of different paths to get where I am today.)
So, now I’m an analyst with multiple deadlines each week (usually several in a day) and a mother to an active toddler. Over the past 18 months, I’ve discovered the best system for me is a combination of Outlook on my computer (on which I keep track of all my recurring tasks), a spiral notebook into which I jot notes from meetings and craft my weekly Must Do lists, and a portable (read: smallish) paper calendar that I can use to jot notes about appointments, playdates, travel arrangements, and other personal details.
Except, it starts in August and ends in December of the following year. All of them do. Why the hell would I start a new calendar in the middle of one year when there are still plenty of other calendar pages left in my old calendar?
Anyway, when I went with my coworker to look at planners today, I was also looking for my own purposes. There was one planner that was absolutely adorable. It was a pink binder that snapped shut with a pretty silver clasp, and it wasn’t packed with a bunch of superfluous nonsense (like expense report stuff). I really, really liked it.
Now, I still have my old planner binders. One is a classic size and zips shut; the other is a compact size that snaps shut. Both are black and certainly not as attractive as the pretty pink binder with the silver clasp. The calendar refills that I needed were about $10; the pretty pink binder would only be another $17.
And yet, I put it back on the shelf, walking out with only the calendar refill pages. After all, the economy sucks, I really need to start watching my pennies, and, well, $17 can get me a super-jumbo pack of Pampers (after coupons, of course). Besides, what kind of example would I be setting for my son if I casually discard perfectly good items for no reason other than wanting a different color?
Oh, but it’s such a pretty shade of pink!