The Planner

I’ve had a perfectly nice planner for some years now. Trim. Elegant. Professional looking with a luxurious red leather cover and inserts I buy every year to record the white rabbit experiences of life.

Last night, I bought a new one. An inexpensive department store variety. The kind a parent uses to keep track of the children’s activities. There’s a column for each day of the week and the bottom of each column is divided into four spaces. I guess any more children and two planners would be necessary.

Instead of inserting pictures of the kids under the plastic front cover, I slipped in my visioning pictures and inscribed my name beneath them. Not as classy as a red leather one. It does, however, have a certain energetic clout. Every time I pick up the planner, the photographs remind me of where I’m going with my life, spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally and financially.

The four spaces at the bottom of each weekly column are labeled Child Weekly Plan. It gives me a space to track my “children”. The screenplay I want to complete by 1 May. The amount of time I spend on my health and fitness to enable investment in greater creative efforts. Daily visits with a spiritual discipline to return the harvest of peace and security. As I look at the visual space, the amount of time for mundania like day job appointments and haircuts is reduced by half. The balance of the space is wide open to receive my intention. Running three projects concurrently seems to be enough at one time.

I left one of the spaces for family and friends. The planner was a heads up to tend important relationships. Just as our goals and visions won’t come to fruition without persistent attention, our relationships will not thrive without care. I am reminded to connect regularly with the people who are important to me.

When I was at college, there was a professor whose home was an hour drive from the school. I went by his office without an appointment for clarification on some assignment and he reassured me by relating he built in an hour every day for such occurrences. He said someone was always in the ditch in the winter and dedicating an hour of his day let him know he had the time to stop and help on the way into work. If everyone managed to stay on the road he had even more time for people who dropped in. I’ve tried to implement his philosophy into my time management.

By checking in with myself and my goals on a daily basis I have the perspective to set or change priorities. Most importantly, I know when I need to build a space for myself to enjoy life. I know it’s important to set aside time to cultivate friendships or be available for an impromptu play date with my new neighbor. And remember the last time I did nothing to schedule more of it.

The best thing about this planner is that it offers child wisdom on each page. One of the pearls is: “Some people can tell what time it is by looking at the sun. But I have never been able to make out the numbers”. I think that is a great place to start in the process of “managing” our lives and our time.