Saturday Smorgasbord: Quest For The Planner

By: Christopher Bartlett

My editor, Caitlin, is probably looking at the title smiling because yes she was right. At least when it comes to me. As much as I enjoy technology and all the benefits of it, I’m still a pen and paper guy deep down. Yet, I kept putting off the idea that a pen and paper planner would work better for me than the ones in my phone, computer, and tablet.

I found out this past April that I was wrong. Ironically, it was on a trip to a local branch of a national brick and mortar chain store that I learned this. I was in the home office section, looking for something else, when I came across the subsection dedicated to planners. One of them happened to remind me of a planner I used to get from my middle school at the beginning of each year.

That memory, combined with my editor having just recently given a talk to me and several other writers on how well planners worked at helping one get organized, made decide to give it a chance. Now, admittedly, I can be pretty hard on any kind of notebook. It doesn’t matter whether it is a planner or just a regular notebook for writing. With that being said, one can imagine that a spiral style notebook or a planner is a bad idea. They would be right. 

Though, not before I used it enough to figure out that my editor was indeed right about planners. Don’t get me wrong, even with the planner I have now, I still struggle, just not quite as much as before. Granted, my planner has a more pre-outlined structure to it than Caitlin uses. She uses a bullet journal and creates all the calendars, to-do lists, and goal sheets herself. Having that stuff pre-outlined for me and having something sturdier than a spiral planner has helped me get better at being organized.

That doesn’t mean mine or her way are the best two ways to do it. As Caitlin said at the talk, what matters most is that whatever planner you choose is effective for you in how it works and how you use it. Some may need less or more pre-outlined stuff than me or her, or even a mix of the two. 

That’s why there are so many planners out there, after all. It ensures that there is a vast amount of combinations in the vast varieties of styles, structures, and binding allowing there to be something for everyone. There will still be stumbles and even falls on the journey, but a good planner helps make it easier. 

*Tips his hat, walking out the door toward his private study with an iced coffee.*

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