If the lack of enough hours in the day accounted for my lack of time management skills, I would have a valid excuse. However, my time management issues, or lack thereof, stems from a much simpler, more cunning demon…procrastination.
We, creative types are often plagued with bouts of procrastination from time to time, especially so if we are experiencing a hefty dose of self-doubt. However, when it comes to the point where procrastinating takes up more of your day than actually writing that manuscript, or updating that website you’ve been putting off for weeks or just the mundane of household chores.
It is time to do something drastic and soon.
This is where I found myself. Mid February and work on my manuscript were progressing far slower than I wanted, it was on the verge of becoming stagnant. The goals I wanted to achieve were always being put off until the following month, then another, then another…well, you get my drift.
I could blame household commitments, being a mother of 5 children and two Labradors, but that would be a blatant lie. My oldest two sons are old enough to drive and vote; my middle son isn’t far behind and well, my youngest two are a least a decade out of potty training. So that left me shit out of luck with regards to a way justify my innate need to procrastinate.
Now, I have owned a Filofax in some form or another since my late twenties and to be honest, I didn’t take using them seriously. I never truly saw the benefits of using such a system. Yes, they are lovely to look at and came in some fantastic styles, sizes, materials and a varied range of colors. Nonetheless, I was too focused, possibly, too set in my ways to move away from digital planning tools, that apparently didn’t work for me. I had to accept that a solution that would work for me would be in something far more old school.
I stumbled upon a YouTube video showcasing Erin Condren Life Planners while watching an art video. I had heard of them before but had never really given them much thought. I’ll be honest the very first time I saw an EC Life Planner or other brands like it, I thought they looked like oversized college notebooks with cheap looking bendable coiled rings. Granted that was some years ago, designs have changed and advanced a lot since then. So, I spent the next few hours watching more YouTube videos with people from all walks of life and how they used planners to increase their productively either at home or work and in turn developed long term time management skills.
You can imagine my excitement, this is what I wanted, needed in my life.
With a series of books planned, I was drowning in a mire of writing, an ever-growing to-do list, a house that was in serious need of a make-over and an overload of housework that would have had the good house-keeping magazine sneering in shame. It was time to kick the digital age to the curb just this once and buy my first EC Life Planner. (Or in my case three!)
A couple of weeks later, my very first EC Life Planners arrived. I ordered the hourly, classic vertical and horizontal planners. I wasn’t sure which style would work for me so I wanted to see how each one would measure up to my lifestyle.
Horizontal Style: I used this one primarily for home life, doctors, dentist appointments, my children school events, etc… And for the most part, it worked. It kept me somewhat organized by having everything written down that needed to be done that day/week/month. However, after a few months, I realized it wasn’t structured enough for me. Slowly things were being scored out and moved to the next day or the next week…
Vertical Style: The vertical style planner I felt was perfect for work. I bought custom headers from an Etsy shop (PaperLovingMommy) and made and printed off some of my own. This enabled me to plan work in advance and structure tasks I would complete on what days. This definitely was a keeper as far as work was concerned. Unfortunately, it still didn’t address the day to day, hour by hour structure that I seemed to crave.
Hourly Style: This for me was the holy grail. It was the bridge between the Horizontal and the Vertical Planners. It allowed me to plan my day down to the hour and could incorporate my home life with my work life. I still maintained the use of my Vertical Planner purely for expanded work-related tasks and projects, but the hourly planner also kept me on task with the real life things that happen alongside working from home.
Not only did I find that I could plan in an efficient way, but my productivity came in leaps and bounds. In the short time, I managed to tear through tasks that have had me gridlocked for months. The outlining of all plots/subplots of the next six books is almost done. Main character maps have been fleshed out for these books and books in the other series. My website finally got some attention, granted not as much I would have liked, it’s progress, though. And the best part, I finally had time to clear out the crap from my house, decorate and buy new furniture. I also hired a cleaner to come to my house twice a week and do the things I physically don’t have the time to do.
Now, I’m not saying that the need to procrastinate has left me entirely, I’m not sure if that is even possible. What I am saying is that with the aid of something as small as a two planners, I was able to accomplish more in the last few months that I was in the last two years.
With that in mind, I want to celebrate my new found time management skills with an EC Planner Giveaway.
Up for grabs is this gorgeous 2016/2017 (18 months) watercolor mid-century circle vertical planner with rose gold accents and rose gold coil. (The cover is not customized. Inside: colorful option.) Worth $75.
Also included in the giveaway is a 2016/2017 (18 month) Luxe vertical life planner, with a platinum coil. (Cover not customized and non-removable. Inside: neutral option.) Worth $70.
Please note I have no affiliation with Erin Condren and this giveaway is not sponsored by them. For more information on Erin Condren and their products, head to www.erincondren.com
EC Life Planner Giveaway opens today (7th August) at 5pm BST (12PM ET)