comment 0

To plan, or not to plan

How I got here

I think it started in late middle school when I began writing in my school-issued agenda every day. When I got to high school, my creativity bloomed and I remember fondly coloring in my day blocks with colored pencils, gel pens, (and sometimes markers) and making every day and week look pretty. It gave me so much satisfaction when I had created the layout of my week ahead in advance. I felt so organized and clean. My classmates and friends, whenever they caught a glimpse of me jotting my homework assignments down, would always fawn over how cool my planner looked, and would always say, “How’d you do that?!”

Fast forward to adulthood—I ditched the concept of keeping a planner completely. High school was over and I had pretty much forgotten about it because it was no longer mandatory for me to have one. But even now, almost two decades later, I find myself longing to write in a planner of some kind. It’s why I collect odd bits and bobs of random stationary. It’s why my eyes are immediately drawn to calligraphy and pens, highlighters, stickers, and washi tape. It’s why I watch random YouTube videos of hardcore planners and their plethora of shiny stationary tools and collections, with envy.

The dilemma

The problem for me is that writing in a planner takes a significant amount of time, not to mention accumulates space over the years. The act of it requires consistency and dedication—something I have a hard time doing outside of menial house chores. What’s more, I’m torn between digital and traditional paper. I love the ultimate flexibility and control of digital, but hate how ephemeral it feels. I love the sensation of ink and paper (smell, touch, sight)  and how it feels so solidifying, but hate the anxiety that comes with making mistakes.

The nice thing about planning in my iPad Pro 12.9″ is that the screen is nicely sized and all of my writings and journals are at my fingertips. My major issue with it is that sometimes writing on it doesn’t feel “real,” and the idea of accidentally deleting something important by mistake terrifies me (or even just plain mechanical data loss). There’s some psychological disconnect happening there somewhere. The nice thing about paper is that seeing ink on the page is extremely satisfying. Touching the pages and the excitement of using stationary is such a pleasant experience for a creative person like myself. My biggest point of anxiety for this method is making mistakes and wanting to make changes. I’m terribly OCD in this arena. When it comes to design, I can be very fickle and change my mind on a whim of how something looks and feels. There’s also the space factor. How many journals will I accumulate in a year? Will I have to throw my precious journals away at some point to make room for new ones? The thought of that makes me cringe.

My outlook

To some degree, I do enjoy planning, but too much of it sucks the fun out of living for me. If I’m going to do this, I need to remember that God laughs at our plans. By the same token, I also need to remember that there is absolutely nothing wrong with putting in the effort to organizing and managing my time. Doing it in a fun and creative way would just help the process  be a little more enjoyable. And as I’m getting older, I’m finding that truly…little things, little moments of joy…are what matter the most, now more than ever.

I think maybe I’ll experiment. My MCTD issues don’t discriminate between paper and digital when it comes to writing. The biomechanics of my hands and fingers while inflamed will make writing difficult and painful, period. So in that regard, digital or paper won’t matter.  I’ll just try both methods and see which one I like the best. Who knows, maybe I can do a hybrid of both. Wish me luck!

Leave a Reply