I’m breaking away from my Mindful Living posts as I felt a strong urge to write this. As most of you know, I’ve been using a Filofax Pocket Malden as my main planner since January 2016. I may have added a companion notebook to the mix now and then, but have never switched out the planner itself since then. Oh, I’ve thought about it – many, many times. mainly because, from time to time, I craved a bit more room. Others like to do so to keep things fresh, change up with the seasons or simply as a way to give the number of planners in their collection equal time. Or maybe all those delicious planner accounts you religiously follow hypnotize you into thinking it’s time for a change out of plain ol’ boredom. But, as what kept me from switching, is the change worth the cost of retaining consistency?
Ever since that 1995 Filofax article in Mademoiselle magazine, I had consistently used a ringed planner. Exactly two over the course of almost 20 years. Then in July of 2014 I had stumbled upon this platform called Instagram. For the next year and a half, my planner sanity had been wrecked. Even though what I had was perfectly fine and, more important, working for me, according to what planners had currently evolved to, it was severely lacking in style and swag. The planner I’d been using up till then didn’t even have a brand name on it. It was a simple, personal-sized, brown faux-leather without any type of closure, which I loved:
But by social media standards, my planner was….well….blah. It wasn’t lavender with gold dots. It didn’t have custom inserts with swirly fonts. It didn’t have charms, pom-poms and doo-dads dangling from it. There wasn’t washi tape (whatever the heck that was- lol!) edging each page and samples of them wrapped around a used Starbucks gift card. There wasn’t a pen with a clear barrel filled with sparkly gems attached to it or whimsical paper clips slid inside the pocket. It wasn’t bursting with color, stickers and excitement. In a nutshell, it wasn’t photo worthy.
I’ll skip the waffling and faffing about that had consumed me until the end of 2015. I had experimented with bullet journaling (though I still implement the concept in my current planner), then back to a personal planner, then up to a compact Franklin Covey, then back to bullet journaling in a bound notebook, then up to a classic Franklin Covey, then back to a notebook, then a planner and a bullet journal together, then a brief flirtation with a TN for a few months, before going back to……
……okay, I did say I was going to skip that – J
What had come over me was, what the lovely Marianne from poketfullofvintage coins as ‘the noise in my head’ (brace yourself – there is blunt honesty and directness in this video J). Long story short, not only did I not need all this stuff or even to change at all, but I wound up going back to being a member of the ‘If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It’ club.
Being consistent in the same planner these last 18 months had given me back something I had lost within the 18 months prior to that – stress-free focus and contentment. The former 18 are scattered throughout several different sets of notebooks. Having to go back and reference something from, say, May 2015 would be a planner scavanger hunt. Whereas my 2016 (and soon-to-be 2017) inserts are completely intact and neatly archived
Now for those non-planners reading this, you may be thinking, “Sheesh – what’s with all the agonizing over a book with a calendar in it? Get a life, will ya?” It’s exactly what I had internally said to myself before re-joining the club.
What it had all boiled down to, for me, was this: was trying to cure ‘planner boredom’ worth the cost of ‘planner consistency’? I’m not talking about opening the rings, lifting out your entire system and plopping it into a different planner of the same size. I’m talking about upsizing, then downsizing, then back to personal size, then to a notebook, down to a pocket notebook, or let’s try a traveler’s notebook, or may a Hobonichi may work – all within the same year.
Now I understand that an individual’s personal/work/household needs change, thus necessitizing a change in planning system. But what if what you have is working splendidly, yet the planner fodder you follow on social media is making that little voice in your head tell you, ‘you’re planner is boring…..it’s okay….change it….if you don’t like it, you can just change it back….and again….and again…..and again…..” ???
Oh, shut up, imaginary voice!! J
Instead, use the voice that doesn’t taunt you into spending money on stuff you most likely don’t need to plan or sucks up time spent perusing/printing/cutting/punching different inserts and have it ask you, “is curing the boredom really worth the peace of mind of consistency?” “Is the change necessary, or just for prettier IG photos?” (Okay, let’s be really honest here!) “Is wanting to change more important than needing to change?” “If so, what will be the cost if it doesn’t work out?”
I’ll admit, I still grapple with wanting to up-size and maybe some day I will. It’s not just changing planners, but transferring everything over to new inserts as I can’t plop my pocket-size ones into a bigger planner. Some planner gals look forward to the process of setting up a new planner, but I see it as stressful – especially since my pocket Malden (which also acts as my wallet) functions to where I don’t have to put any thought into it. And that’s what keeps me where I am – weighing the cost of stressing out over a move I don’t have to make against remaining where I am, basking in the peace of planner contentment and consistency.
But…..one day. Ah, one day – that perfect personal-sized will come along and all bets will be off.
Till next time,