Don't Use a Planner as a Journal (Unless You Want to Be Unhappy) | Giftie Etcetera: Don't Use a Planner as a Journal (Unless You Want to Be Unhappy)

Friday, October 30, 2015

Don't Use a Planner as a Journal (Unless You Want to Be Unhappy)

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Most of you know that I am struggling a little bit right now. 

planner, off topic, ring bound planner, medical, parenting, epilepsy,

My therapist has given me some ideas about what to do to get through this tough time with my sweet kid.

The most amazing thing my doctor did? 

She looked at how I work and cope, and structured my goals around my methods of coping.

Once she heard about my planner blog, she incorporated that directly into my therapy.

Yes, I have a valid doctor's excuse to plan my day in my planner! 

She did recommend that I do my plan more than an hour before I go to bed at night, instead of as my last step in my nightly routine. That, she claims, will reduce my anxiety levels, as I will have a plan in place and time to get over worrying about tomorrow before I start getting ready for bed.

One other detail - she told me to get my journal out of my planner and into an actual paper notebook.

She is brilliant. 

Having my planning and my anxiety log separate, even though just one ring-bound binder or notebook might be more convenient in the moment, means that my planner stays very practical and unassociated with my anxiety.

I picked out this journal as my calming notebook for several reasons. 

I love the cover, with a typewriter and pencil cup. It also has a stretchy page marker band. 

The paper feel is old-fashioned and deliciously scratchy. And when opened, this journal lies perfectly flat! 

Finally, it's small, so I can bring it everywhere (just like my planner) and write through my anxieties whenever they hit me.

So far, I am loving grabbing a notebook when I freak out. Writing really does calm me and give me a focus on what I want to accomplish.

Yes, that sometimes means scribbling in the parking lot of the school while waiting to go in for a program with my kid. 

So when you see the crazy lady writing in the front seat of her car, back away and pretend as if she hasn't had her coffee yet! Or, even better, buy her some coffee.

Seriously, Loyal Readers, consider separating your journal from your planner. 

So far, this new system is proving to me that as happy as I am with my planner, I need to respect it as a tool for planning and use a different tool for my emotional outpourings.


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Geertrude said...

I love that my planner holds a lot of things (notebook, adressbook, calendar, to dolist) but I've been struggling with incorporating journaling and other very personal stuff (since everyone else seems to do it - wrong reason,I know). It always feels off in some way, so I keep throwing it out every time I try.

I think your therapist nailed the problem. Journaling in my planner would make me associate it with all sorts of emotional struggle and I would probably abandon it, while I should be using it as a tool to get things done.

I'll stop trying now, thank you (and maybe I'll start journaling in a different notebook).

I hope that lovely new journal of yours will help you write through this though time!

Giftie Etcetera said...

My therapist is a very smart lady. Since I tried it, Geertrude, it is much better. And, since it's not my planner, I don't feel compelled to use the journal every day, and can just use it when I need it.

Inner Prop said...

What about one of those dealies where you can put two notebooks in the same binder thingamabob? Would that be separate enough?

I'm having enough problem journalling and planning at all. I'm already confounded that I can't make my electronic planning work right and I'm having to do double work between my electronic planning and paper planning. I think another separate thing would crash the system entirely. At least for me.

Christine Cortese said...

After long reflection I've realized I'm a hard core long term journaler who just incidentally incorporates her to dos and schedule into the journal for convenience. I think that's one reason I've had so much trouble finding the right planner over the years. If it has no journaling capacity I'm unable to use it. I'm already lusting after that cute notebook! Writing is very therapeutic.

Ifeoma Samuel said...

Hi Giftie, I love this your idea. I write a lot!
I write my thoughts down and keep my TO-Dos also in on big note book. Scratch off what I have done and rewrite stuff too!
But your idea is brilliant anyway.

Thank you for dropping by earlier, I did leave a prayer and encouragement for you on the blog.

Hugs and Blessings to you

Unknown said...

At the time that I was dealing with a lot of issues around my PTSD, I started to journal on the Notes pages of my planner. That was fine until I realized how many pages were being used that way.

Yes! I now use a different notebook for my journaling. I didn't want it to be plain since I was dealing with painful stuff in it, I wanted it to be pretty and calming. I did, however, use ring binders and I created stationery to use in it. Doing it that way really helped.

Now, when I think of something that I want to journal about, I put a note to the side of my weekly schedule page in the planner, and write about it in the journal when I have finished whatever I had left to do. I call that a "journal prompt" so I won't forget what I wanted to write about.

Note: I have been using a journal for many, many years. The journals are still with me. I also archive the planner pages that need to be retained for tax purposes. Archiving both allows me to really see my progress.

BTW, you aren't the only one jotting stuff down in the front seat of her car. LOL.

Dianne in the desert

Anna said...

I've always used a separate journal. They can be fun to go back and look at. Some parts I just skip over b/c they would stress me out again. But even in some parts where I'm really stressed, I can read it in the future, remember how things turned out, and it helps me have some perspective. I don't write in mine as much as I should, though.

Cori Large said...

@inner prop: I believe what you're thinking of is a traveller's notebook. Look it up on YouTube.

@Christine: you might like the concept of Bullet Journaling. There are lots of Facebook groups and YouTube videos.

Katrina said...

I'm not so good about keeping a planner, but I am an excellent journal keeper. I have written in journals since I was about 9 years old, and I have every single one of them. I'm 46 now, so I have stacks and stacks of them, recording my thoughts all through my high school years and beyond. So fun to look back on. Right now I am doing "interactive" journals with my kids, where I write to them and then they write back. I just finished a blog post about it, actually. These will be such great keepsakes. Plus, it gives me a great way to communicate with each of them personally, where they can safely share their thoughts with me. Sometimes kids write out their feelings better than they speak them. ~ Katrina

Unknown said...

How awesome! Love this idea!!!! I would love for you to link up with us at 100 Happy Days!

Val said...

Sounds like great advice and I'm happy you are benefiting from making the switch. I need to journal more, so thanks for reminding me! And thanks for linking up the Country Fair Blog Party!

Claudia H. Blanton said...

what a smart therapist! I have been neglecting my journal this week, and that is not a good thing. Journaling is one of the best ways to combat anxiety as you mentioned. Good for you.

Purfylle said...

I'm so glad you've found a system that works better for you. I totally get the whole writing through the anxiety process. I think working out that to-do list earlier in the evening is also a great idea and I'm going to give that a go myself.

Inspired By June said...

Writing is therapeutic! I'm glad it's working for you :)

Create With Joy said...

Great journaling and planning tips! THanks for sharing them with us at Inspire Me Monday at Create With Joy. I'm glad things are working out for you! :-)

Anonymous said...

I finally got to reading this post and just at the right time. Using a notebook as a planner (bullet journaling) hasn't been working for me and am now back in a ringed binder. It finally hit me that it's the system I had been using since 1995. It had worked all these years so to change was futile.

But I have a deep love for blank notebooks and journals so now that I'm back in a planner, I'm going to satisfy my notebook craving for my personal space. Journaling, free writing, sketchnote practice, random notes/thoughts, etc. Best of both worlds and no stress. This post came at the perfect time!