Back in August I wrote about kicking off my New Year's Resolutions (because I now start my new year on or around the first day of school) and my plan to, for the first time in years, use a paper planner to help me simplify real life and make time for what matters most.
I had high hopes for my gorgeous, inspirational planner, but after two full months of managing my day-to-day schedule on paper, I found myself more stressed and less organized than ever before.
Because paper calendars can't automatically add regularly repeating and/or ongoing events on their own, I spent twice as much time updating my paper calendar as I did updating my online calendar. Because I still needed to maintain my online calendar (Tom and I share our schedules with one another online), I spent close to two hours a week just syncing my two calendars. Because my paper calendar didn't have a great deal of space to make lists, I repeatedly failed to write down all sorts of tasks and projects for which I was responsible and regularly forgot which errands I needed to run and what I needed to buy at the grocery store, Target, Walgreens, etc. Oh, and I never remembered to bring my planner with me anywhere. Not once.
Long story short (too late), my attempt to simplify had the opposite effect on my life. And rather than continue sliding downhill toward complete discombobulation, I decided to set what I saw as the culprit - that seemingly perfect paper planner - off to the side and go back to what works for me.
Will and Hallie asked why I went back to using my phone as a calendar and a notebook. I explained that it's important to try new things, to commit to them wholeheartedly and make every effort to succeed. But I went on to add that it's also important to recognize when something isn't working and take a step back, regroup, and try again.
Last Wednesday I stepped back and regrouped, and when I did so, I - at the risk of sounding cliche - felt a weight lift off of my shoulders. I cruised through lengthy work and home to-do lists during the school day, organized all of the kids winter clothes in the afternoon, let the kids have friends over, made dinner for the family, and had the kids in bed 15 minutes early for the first time since...well, since school started seven weeks ago.
No, scrapping that New Year's Resolution and getting rid of my planner didn't suddenly make me spectacularly productive. But it did make me feel free.
I intended to include just that one picture of my free spirited girl, but while searching for this photo, I came across at least 20 others that also show her feeling as free as I felt when I packed away the planner organizational system. So here are a few more, both because she's beautiful and because sadly, I think her days of feeling this sense of uninhibited freedom are waning.
Do something freeing today.