February 25th- Time to celebrate Christmas and the New Year.

PassionPlannerMy daughter suffers from the same affliction as me, Planner Hypomania.   It consumes us, particularly in December. We spend all month reviewing our options, researching on-line and face-to-face. We troll the office supply sections of various stores in search of the perfect planner.   We agonize over the choices: size, color, texture, and layout. It is all about paper. Full disclosure: I do use electronic calendars, and I appreciate their unique benefits, but nothing compares to an open book. A planner with colors and handwriting and notes and appointments and lists.

This year Melissa picked out a planner for me as a Christmas gift. Perhaps you can appreciate the courage it takes to pick a planner for someone. But she knows me well and knew I would love it. And apparently many people loved it, because it was back-ordered for months. (The absurdity of a calendar being months late doesn’t escape me.)   But I finally I received my Christmas present last week http://www.passionplanner.com/.   Time to get to work!

There are so many things I love about a new calendar/planner. Typically, during the downtime of New Year’s vacation, I spend some quiet time setting up my new planner. I use highlighters, I put in standing appointments, vacation plans, travels, and if I’m really good I add family birthdays and celebrations (which still doesn’t explain why I rarely get cards out in time).   This process, this project, of planning out the year is all about anticipation and expectations.   You have the whole year lain out in front of you. You get excited about the family reunion in August. You think about your 30th wedding anniversary and start to plan how to honor the occasion. You talk to friends and family about get-togethers. You “save the dates”. What’s not to love about this process?

But now it’s the end of February. And I have my blank planner. And the year is 2/12 over.  It feels sort of anticlimactic, sort of “old newsy”. What a different experience. The year feels very different now, not nearly as exciting. A little more real. And then there’s the 16% that’s already over. How did that happen so fast? And was it as fun and exciting as I planned it to be?   Well I had to go back to my temporary calendar and transfer some of the fun and some of the accomplishments. We had lots of ice skating parties, on our frozen Cove and up in Ottawa at Winterlude. Our son was home visiting, I visited friends in Boston and Philly and friends visited us. And my client work was particularly rewarding. So yes it has been fun and meaningful, as I “planned” it to be.

So why does it still feel so different? There’s an urgency that comes from starting a planner in February that doesn’t exist when you are looking at it January 1st.   While I still feel I am just coming in to the year the reality is that a good part of it is done. I lose focus because there is so much white space. And the more pressing project, taxes, has nothing to do with goals and passions.

My solution to the dread, the urgency, and the lack of focus is to use this planner as intended. There are exercises to create a roadmap to reach your goals, short and long term. I am a firm believer in specific, written, actionable plans to achieve your goals. I see it work all the time with clients. Breaking them down in to daily plans and doing the work makes them a reality. I suppose I just needed a reminder.

And it must be working, because I haven’t done any writing for a few months, but listed WRITING as part of my Passion Plan. And here I am, creating my first blog post for 2015. Thank you planner. And thank you Melissa!

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