Do you ever do something and then realize, OMG that was not the smartest move I’ve ever made? I recently made a couple of dumb and expensive purchases that I regret.
I bought two planners mostly as research for a potential project. I had filled my tried and true Moleskine so I needed something. I also thought it wouldn’t hurt to explore a new method of planning. But oh, it did hurt.
I got the Full Focus Planner. One book costs over $40 and is for one quarter of the year. It took five minutes to realize that the habit tracker, goal setting, weekend planning and weekly review were not going to be useful for me. I prefer to plan my week once and then just do the freaking tasks. All the time it takes to fill out the planner is time I could spend just doing the work and enjoying my life.
Then! I somehow caught wind of a gorgeous French planner and bought that. I won’t reveal the cost but let’s just say I could have bought a pair of sandals instead.
I blame myself for these shopdoggles. (That’s boondoggle for shopping. Yes, I made that up.) I blame my enthusiasm, my love of productivity and my tendency to want to do what others are doing. Do you suffer from these symptoms of a shopdoggler?
This issue of productivity comes up all the time with my clients. We are all battling for focus and productivity, and sometimes we think it’s the right planner or method that will save us. I think it’s making better choices and doing less that helps us feel more satisfied with our progress.
We have access to others’ opinions more than ever. Taking on things that don’t work for us can be detrimental to our confidence. If you have gone on a shopdoggle or otherwise sidelined your wisdom and self-knowledge, it’s okay. These things can teach us if we let them. Not in a harsh ‘You’ll learn your lesson, Missy!’ But in the ever-growing self-awareness that fuels more of us, more of our creativity and more of our power.
I shunned a system I had developed and that was serving me to thrive in work and life. This is how we defer our power. We shun our original impulse or deep knowing for something new, flashy or trendy.
I’ve gotten over my tomfoolery. (Writing this helped!) I forgave myself and let go of the sunk costs. Beating myself up, cursing myself and allowing this to linger like a dark cloud isn’t helpful.
Know what works for you to be productive, apply that consistently and jettison anything that doesn’t suit your needs.
Next year is the 20-year anniversary of my coaching business. I am launching a book and have big plans for it. Why would I risk my sanity, my productivity and my focus trying a new planner? I will finish the year with this recent planner, hacking it so it works the way my old method does. But next year I will return to my trusted and effective way of working. Phew!
In case you’re curious about my planning method, read on.
I use a large, hardback Moleskine notebook to run my business. I like this notebook or this notebook. I prefer dotted or grid pages over lined or blank. The front of the notebook is for my weekly to-dos, with one week per page. I make 9 boxes on a page. Each box holds a different category of tasks. Every week’s workload is different so the categories could be: writing, teaching, clients, admin, travel, etc. At a glance I can see what I need to do for what project or sector of my work life.
The back half of the notebook is where I take meeting notes, make notes about projects and basically dream my work into existence. This system has worked for me for six years. When I need to reference something from the past, within minutes I can find that year’s notebook and access the information.
What helps you honor your original impulse? Share below in a comment.
Applications are rolling in for the Original Impulse Atelier, my year-long program to help you focus, follow through and finish that all-important project of yours. This is a training in how to know, honor and trust your creative process. It’s fun and effective, and we’re enrolling a few focused creatives now. Check it out here.