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Planners May Not be the Answer

By November 29, 2017WNIJ

Last year I bought a couple of expensive planners, hoping they would nudge me out of days wasted on Facebook.

I started with a daily shaped around the Christian year. I moved to a weekly that gave me space to write down yearly and monthly goals as well as enough lines to schedule my days. I abandoned both, because checking off the task didn’t motivate me.

Both planners were too big to carry in my purse or to be present when my “to do” list fired off in my brain.

Finding a daily routine has escaped me, because tasks change with the weather. If I’ve got a lovely day, I’m ashamed to spend time inside vacuuming and dusting. If it’s pouring rain, I’m not going to roll back the mats in the barn and clean underneath.

My brain works against me as far as Facebook, because my brain will pick what’s easiest, and Zuckerberg has made an addictive app; so I turn my attention there.

Sometimes words come along that point, “This is the way you need to go.” In a recent interview with Image, Eugene Peterson says, “Instead of having a destination, a goal, a vision, I was immersed in a way of life in which every step was an arrival at a new place.”

Maybe goals aren’t as relevant as giving thanks for living in this body, walking across this ground.

I’m Katie Andraski, and that’s my perspective.

If you’d like to hear me read this click here.

After I wrote this, I bought a Moleskine 2017 -2018 planner that is small enough for my purse. It has the week’s dates on one side and a blank page on the other. Somehow that is working for me. (Probably because this how I planned my weeks with other, simple planners.) On the pages from August to October I’ve taken some big projects and broken them down into smaller tasks. I finally finished one big project, thanking people for donating to Tupelo Press, that I’d sat on for four months.

I must admit I might not have broken loose and started working again were it not for hiring a therapist, Christine. (I hired her on the spur of the moment because I was tired of whole days spent on Facebook.)I am amazed at how powerful a deeply accepting presence can be. I have tested her by talking about politics, about my faith, my former employer. I am aware she sees those things differently, but I run my hand on those edges and find them smooth, pliable. She has helped me get off dead center and start focusing on the things I want to get done. I’m beginning to feel the stirrings of hope again–hope for my work as a writer, hope for using my retirement well. In some ways she feels more like friend than therapist because I am talking to her out of a place of strength.

I wish that friends could do this for each other, but that art of deep listening, seems to have escaped many people, including me. Our lives are so full of pain, work, Facebook, families, that there is little time left over for friends, or space in our heads for these kinds of conversations–where we stop talking about the latest drama, and talk instead of what we are about, where we might want to go, our faith.

Sometimes people can be change makers, can lead us to that ragged word, repentance, a word that Benjamin Corey says in Unafraid is more about turning toward God than turning away from our failings. Because she has been taught so well to listen, Christine has made a space for me to find joy, to walk forward and yes, finally start checking tasks off my list.

How do you manage your time?



  • Lynn D. Morrissey says:

    Love this Katie, and as much you say does, this resonates! Wow. Were all those planners lined up on a shelf? I have saved some, especially where I created memories in them. I used to spend a lot of time as a high school student choosing just the right notebook for the year. And as adult, I’ve done that w/ planners. But in the end, having a planner and doing the work are not the same. This year, I’m trying to lure myself into task completion by making the planning process pretty and more artistic. The verdict is still out. I finally abandoned a quality Christian planner because I wasn’t using all its soul-searching and reflective features. Journals do that for me. We’ll see where this goes, but I love your honest here, and that you have found someone off whom to bounce the deeper issues of your life and maybe the routine ones as well. I’ve considered a spiritual director from time to time, and found a lady whom I’d love, but she has become a friend, so I’m not sure if it would feel strange to go to her in that capacity. Though you’re implying you have found a friend in your therapist. I’ll mull all this over, but I’m 65, and need to stop wasting my life on FB and such. it has its place, but it can consume a life. Wishing you happy planning, talking, and being.

    • katiewilda says:

      Those were all planners and journals lined up on the shelf. I have kept them because there is useful information in there. I used to walk around with a planner and my journal but tried these souped up planners that just didn’t work for me. I agree that my journal is where I want to do my reflecting, not in a planner. And sometimes making goals can be oppressive.

      My therapist isn’t a friend, though she feels like one…I don’t want her to be. Been there done that. It was a pretty awful experience. You are wise to not want to blur the roles of friendship and spiritual direction. Perhaps your friend can recommend someone? Or your pastor would know of someone? (I’ve heard it’s not a good idea to blur that role either–that a pastor should be a pastor and a spiritual director, spiritual director.)

      I’m glad I’m not the only one that finds FB so consuming. I find it sucks me in on those days when I’m tired…Ugh…Though I am grateful for meeting friends like you on there…

  • Lynn D. Morrissey says:

    Thanks for that confirmation. I’ll keep her as a friend, b/c she is utterly delightful (we don’t live in the same city and she also does phone direction). And good point about pastors. Yes, FB has introduced me to lovely new people like you and reunited me w/ some special friends , and even family members . I just need to control my time.

    • katiewilda says:

      I so hear you on controlling your time on Facebook. That has been my struggle for several years now. I get sucked into stuff so easily, especially when tired. And like you I’ve met some wonderful people on there. But I am getting more and more impatient with people who post incendiary stuff that gets me thinking about their issue, when I have other things to think about, and when I don’t feel safe or free to offer my honest response. Those FB discussions can be such a time and mind suck…What a blessing to have your spiritual director friend be utterly delightful. It’s so important to have people like that in your life.