Why You Need a Paper Planner

Why You Need a Paper Planner

When I started my career at Celebrity Staff I was heading into my last semester of college. I was working full time, had a course load of 19 credit hours, and an internship. I knew from several years of working and going to school full time that in order to be successful I would have to implement a plan based on a goal. In my experience, setting the goal is the easy part. Everyone is decent at making goals for themselves. We see this every year with resolutions which are just goals with a seasonal name. My goal was simple. I wanted to graduate and finish my undergraduate career strong, and I wanted to start my career at Celebrity and position myself to excel. After the goal setting comes the planning and implementation, which is where a lot of goals meet their demise.

I based my planning around the numbers. With 24 hours in each day, I had 168 hours each week to accomplish my tasks. I allotted 19 hours per week for attending class, two hours per week for my internship, and 36-40 hours per week for work. So between 57-61 hours each week were gobbled up in commitments. With the remaining time I had to commute, eat, sleep, do copious amounts of homework, maintain relationships, not self-destruct, etc. I had to be strategic about planning how I would use my time.

This is where having a planner comes in handy.

I relied every single day on my Erin Condren planner. As soon as something came onto my plate, no matter how far in the future it was, it went straight into my planner. In August when I received my syllabi for classes, every assignment went into my planner for the rest of the semester — Business trip to Des Moines. Sales call. Loved one’s birthday. Reminder to stop by the grocery store. Reminder to do laundry. Reminder to wash sheets. Reminder to sleep. #Plannerforever. Elon Musk, a business magnate worth billions of dollars, is famous for his 100 hour work weeks and his daily planner that he has broken into five minute increments so I never feel bad having to remind myself to do something simple. I tell myself if it is good enough for Elon Musk it is good enough for me (words to live by).

On the note of perspective, I was able to have a more realistic view of my strengths and weaknesses as they pertained to my goals. I was able to say at the end of my week, “I have an opportunity to do XYZ better next week” or “I did this extremely well this week. I like my results.” And I could make adjustments with a pretty good understanding of what the outcome would be. I was also able to make more effective decisions. I am a social person and I easily develop dreaded FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Due to my nature I sometimes struggle to prioritize “tasks” over going out with my friends or hanging out with my family. However, when I had a constant check list of things I needed to accomplish and I had already blocked out time for those tasks each with a deadline, it helped me easily make decisions and be able to say “yes” or “no” instead of committing to things with the best of intentions but not enough time to follow through.

An additional benefit of utilizing a paper planner is that it encouraged me to intentionally think about my goals on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. It constantly was reminding me of what to focus on to get to my end goals. It gave me a place to put my mental clutter, making each day immediately less stressful because I had already made at minimum an outline of my plan for the day. That is not to say that I never procrastinated, never took a break to binge watch a television show, or that somehow because I wrote things down I was less exhausted. But having the planner made me account for how I wanted to use my 24 hours.

My strategy is not for everyone and the planner itself was not the only thing that had an impact on my goal. I had an incredible support system and love surrounding me to succeed as well, however, the planner was without a doubt a huge piece of the successful pie. Several people in my office use their paper planners differently than I use mine. I have seen planners filled with doctor’s appointments, meal plans, daily fitness goals, family commitments, addresses, shopping lists, anniversary reminders, and motivational quotes, however, I found a method that worked for me. I graduated in December 2015 and on January 6th I celebrated six months with Celebrity Staff. I still use my planner every day but I no longer have to remind myself to block off time for things like sleeping or eating. Paper planners can be found for a variety of price points amiable to any budget, and of course there are always digital planners. It is all about finding what works best for you. We all have a lot going on. We have our families, our careers, our hobbies, and a variety of long- and short-term personal and professional goals. But we each only have 24 hours a day or 168 hours a week to find the time to accomplish these goals. On that note, I will leave you with the following quote:

“The great dividing line between success and failure can be expressed in five words: I did not have time.”
-Franklin Field

planning, Why You Need a Paper PlannerKate Trimble
Kate grew up in a military household relocating frequently throughout the country before her family finally settled in Omaha. She attended the University of Nebraska-Omaha where she graduated in December 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. Throughout college Kate worked in various retail positions and then spent two years as a merchant operations specialist working with SMB merchants helping them to grow and manage their businesses. Kate came to Celebrity Staff in July of 2015 and is a member of the Des Moines operations team as a staffing assistant. Outside of the office Kate is a court appointed special advocate for Douglas County in Omaha working on the behalf of children in the community who are in the foster care system. Kate enjoys spending time with her family and friends whenever she can.

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