Dawn Tolbert

Writer
calendar notation that says learn something, write something, do something nice
Faith Reflections Personal Growth

The Search for the Perfect Planner

I love office supplies. Pretty pens, colored post-it notes, sharpened pencils all set my heart fluttering. Don’t even get me started on fancy file folders — I’m not talking about the three-tab plain manila ones, but rather those designer ones the stores create for people like me. I’m convinced that if only I can find the right office supplies, I will be super organized and ready to tackle any task.

Nowhere is that more true than in the area of planners. My friend Dana and I have been on the quest for THE perfect planner for quite a while. Last year, Dana blogged about crafting her own. Less patient than my friend, I’m content with picking up the latest edition from the corner office supply store and I have been known to order them from random corners of the Internet as well.

I’ve tried lots of them — from the kind you can purchase customized pages for to the academic year kind with just the month at a glance and then pages to focus on weeks or days. I fell in love with the idea of beautiful bullet journals — one of today’s hottest organizational trends — but abandoned the idea after spending way too much time trying to draw lines and create this beautiful hand-lettering for the days of the week. When I was finished, it looked like something a grade-schooler would have done … and maybe been ashamed of. I realized that kind of artistic talent isn’t my forte and hurried back to the idea of using preplanned planners.

Of course, I use my iPhone as a planner in its own right and often joke that if something’s not in that calendar then it doesn’t really exist or it won’t really happen. The electronic reminders are amazing to get me to where I’m supposed to be on time, but I struggle with using my phone as a tool to help me get to where I want to be personally, spiritually, and writerly (okay, I’m not 100% sure that’s a word, but you know what I mean).

I love the idea of mapping out daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals and using a planner to make sure I’m moving forward. This morning I received an email from a fairly famous writer/thought leader about yet-another planner that’s guaranteed to be the perfect solution to my organizational problems and the last hurdle to achieving my dreams. Not guaranteed in terms of money back or anything, but — you know — like it will be helpful, probably.

I’m sure it’s a great tool. And I’m not 100% sure that I won’t be ordering one; I did, after all, submit the email form asking to be among the first notified when the new planner is released. But I doubt this deluxe planner will hold the secret to success in life.

Instead I found a reminder of true success tucked in the midst of some ancient wisdom this morning:

In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9

As I read those words a second nugget of wisdom popped into my mind:

Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6.

Proverbs 16:3 also tells us:

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.

As much as I love a new planner with the smell of fresh ink and crisp new pages, I know the answer to success and joy and contentment lies with the true Planner, the God who loves us, and who, according to Jeremiah 29:11 has some pretty awesome plans of His own:

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

I can do more as I spend time connected with Him than I can with the fanciest, most-expensive planner available in the world. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a pretty planner to write down all of the lessons I’m learning. 🙂

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