Planning for 2012

planner

It’s that time of the year, when the new year approaches and you find yourself sitting back and taking a look at what you want to accomplish in the twelve blank, fresh-and-new months ahead of you.

Except that I normally don’t feel this way until I’m actually IN the new year. Usually, right around this time, I’m coping with burnout from too much work and the stress of not being prepared for the coming holidays.

Not this year. Yes, I’ve been crazy-busy. No, I’m not at all prepared for the holidays. I mean, I’m not even fully unpacked yet! You’d think I’d be too overwhelmed right now to be planning for the new year, but surprisingly, I’ve been feeling energized lately. I’m not sure why.

And I’ve also been realizing the aptness of that old adage, “if you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting.”

Our whole recent decluttering experience has shown me something really big: what I want isn’t more “stuff”. What I want is more time to do the things I want to do.

I’ve always been extremely resistant to the idea of getting my life organized. Resistant to the idea of having a day planner and to-do lists. I felt it was my way of being free. After all, I still got all my work done. I’m very good at meeting deadlines, which is probably the main reason I’m so busy with work around now, when the textbook publishing industry is finishing up books for the next academic year. And I do it all with a minimum of scheduling and no lists to speak of.

Sometimes, when you know yourself well enough, saying, “No, that’s not for me” is a really good thing. But you know what? Sometimes, when you step back and take a look at the strength of your resistance, and the reasons you’re resistant, you finally see that you’re pushing away something that might actually help you to get where you want to go.

I think that’s the story around my resistance to more planning, to giving myself more direction.

2012 is a big year for me. There are a lot of changes coming up – not just with my lifestyle, but also with my work and my writing.

Not only am I in need of getting organized and productive – I WANT to do it.

Yes, the resistance is gone. (I think …)

All of which is my really long-winded way of saying, I’m ready to plan for 2012. And so I’ve been looking around at all the ways I can do this. My options?

1. A conventional planner. Like one of the datebooks you can get from Staples. Or something like the Daytimer system. Or, if I wanted to go whole-hog, a Filofax system. (Believe me, I spent quite a bit of time wandering around the Filofax site …)

2. A DIY planner. There are all the wonderful free printable planner options at DIY Planner – if you’ve been thinking about developing your own time management/productivity/planning system, this is the site to check out. There are loads and loads of printables for you to mix and match to fit your life.

As you can probably tell, the more I looked into things, the more I was leaning toward the DIY planner idea.

But something still didn’t feel quite right:

First, I don’t like writing in a binder.

Second, I need a LOT of flexibility.

Third, I love Moleskines and I want a planner system that lets me use a Moleskine.

Fourth, I have a pretty unique life. I have to fit in freelancing elements, book writing and marketing, homeschooling and blogging. Not to mention all the things I want to do, like more writing, art, puzzles (yes! puzzles!), meditation, and having daily adventures. All of that requires a lot of customizing.

Fifth, the system I use has to feel creative. I’m not going to be happy just ticking off items and scheduling things in.

So I’m brainstorming a system that is absolutely and completely designed for me. And I think I’ve come up with something that just might work. It involves a Moleskine. The discipline of weekly planning. And yes, even some of the elements of the wildly popular Getting Things Done.

And despite all of this, it lets me be highly creative.

Which is one of the things I want to make time for. Creativity.

So I’ve ordered my Moleskine (I wanted a grid one, and all of my blank ones are either lined or plain). It should come in a few days. And if I actually go through with creating this perfect organizational system for me, I’ll post about it, with pics – mainly, to keep me accountable.

It takes 30 days (well, some say 21, but I’ll go with 30 to be on the safe side) to form a new habit. Accountability has always been something that helps me stay the course.

So there you go. I’m planning for 2012.

What about you? What are your plans for the new year?

9 thoughts on “Planning for 2012

  1. Oh my goodness – I am the same way. I’m totally a free spirit – very resistant to scheduling – but in NEED of organization – especially when it comes to blogging and writing. My new system which I’ve just been experimenting with involves a datebook – small enough to fit in my purse – so it’s on hand at all times, and with enough space to write things under the day. And then a small notebook – 1 page has a running to do list which gets crossed off as they’re done, the other page is for my thoughts.

  2. I love getting new planners and notebooks — I usually just wing it. I never miss deadlines. BUT maybe I’ll take a lesson from you when I see your new system.

  3. I spent the morning pre-planning my 2012 as well! I am very much looking forward to the new year – with the focus on finding my creative voice. I love what you said, “What I want is more time to do the things I want to do.” That sums up my thoughts exactly!

    Since I have just recently joined the world of Apple (I nowhave a Macbook and an iPhone) I am finding that I really enjoy the app Wunderlist – which allows me to create a variety of lists in which I can add “to do” items and always have access to them. It is working for me now anyways.

  4. I’ve always hated New Year’s because I wallowed in regrets that day, conscious of all the things I intended to do and didn’t in the past. Birthdays were the same.

    However, on my last birthday I realized I’ve come to sort of an acceptance of who I am, warts and all. This New Year’s I intend to look forward rather than back, thinking of all the possibilities rather than regrets.

  5. LOVE IT! Can’t wait to see it in action. I LURVE to organize but am not so good at STAYING on top of things. If I don’t feel stressed about the time to do OTHER important things, give me a closet to clean out and I’m a happy camper.

  6. If I plan too much, I get panicky about free time and resentful of everything I have to do, and then I get behind because I resist doing them! I’ve learned over the years to make a to-do list, and then to leave free time, for play etc. That way I get to be spontaneous, and see as things are crossed off the list. I hope your moleskin is exactly what you need to find your comfort zone!

  7. The few times when I tried to organize through the help of a planner, I always abandoned them a few weeks in. However, those experience don’t deter me from wanting to do it, still — and it’d be a great thing to do in 2012.

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