Time Management - Planning to fail or Failing to plan?

Sep 14, 2021

I love my paper planners. I have tried different apps with color coding and sharing with other family members. I have tried the calendar apps. I just can't do them! Nothing for me works better than my spiral bound 12 month books where I can see the full week when the planner is open. And I keep it open on my desk pretty much all the time. If my dog gets a hold of it, I'm in trouble! 

Between all that you do - school, work, meetings, clubs, social things... you have to plan! You need to prioritize and decide what you will do on certain days and what you just don't have time for. And most people, even the smartest ones, need to plan. It is something to start now so you get used to writing or making a schedule. It doesn't have to be perfect or flashy, just something that works for you. 

For YEARS!!! I have been trying to get my teenager to use a planner. The school has always provided them to write down homework. There were even some years when the teachers would sign them and make the parents do the same! Now that he has been in high school, the teachers would hope the students would be able to do this on their own. And now with a ton of apps available, there is something that will work for almost everyone. 

So with my teenager, he has so much on his plate. Between work, school and extra curricular activities he HAS to write it down or he will miss something. And that something may be pretty important. 

But why should we have a schedule? You may think that you only have a few things going on and not busy enough to have a plan. However, it more than just making sure you don't miss something. It is about making decisions. Planning for things ahead. Choosing what and how you will spend your time. It's about setting yourself up for success...now and in the future. Getting into this habit now will make it easier later on when you do have a full schedule. 

Think first about how you remember things. Like I said, for me the act of writing things down and making a list is just how my brain works. While having alarms on my phone helps, my first act is to write it down. It may not be in my planner at first, but I will write it down in my notebook and then put it in my planner. You may rely so much on your phone and auditory is your best way to remember. Have something set up that will tell you what is up that day. Or use a voice app to tell a calendar when you have an appointment. 

Once you figure out how you best learn, find a means to keep track of everything. It may be a desk calendar that you see every day. It might be a wall calendar. I know in my house we do have a wall calendar in our kids area so we can see it everyday. I also have posted my kids schedule for school so they will see when they are getting ready.  It may be the regular calendar you have on your phone. Or it might be one of the many planning apps. Or you might be like me and keep a planner. Maybe you need a small one to keep with you. 

Now that you have the best way to remember and a place to put all the appointments down, you have to DO IT!! That might be the hardest part! You have to remember to write things down or put them in your phone. If you keep your phone with you, may try doing voice messages to yourself any time something comes up you need to plan for. It could be a homework assignment or a phone call with someone. Record the message and then when you get home or settled for the night, set aside a time to put all those messages into your planner. If you don't like to do voice messages, maybe you keep a little notebook with you and jot things down. Whatever works. Try different ways to make time to plan. 

Finally, when you have to schedule something, be sure to check your planner to see if anything will conflict. If someone asks you to if you have time to meet or schedule something and you don't have your calendar in front of you, tell them you will get back to them. And make sure you do after you check your schedule. 

One other thing to think about. There will be times when you may have to cancel an appointment. When you do, give the other person as much time as you can. The other person has planned for the time with you. Respect their time. They may have had to miss something or reschedule their own appointment to meet with you. Respect that. 

An appointment can be homework, doctors, sports practice, a job or a fun time out with friends. Don't miss anything because you failed to plan! You never know what that missed thing could have been! 

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