It’s December… the time of year when we’re thinking about cozy sweaters…
It’s hard to resist the lure of a new bullet journal or Simple Planner or Filofax or any of the scores of other calendars and journals that are flooding social media this month.
They all look so fresh and optimistic, with the promise of a year that’s FINALLY organized. These little gems look so good that it’s like you’d have to WORK at not achieving all your goals in 2019.
One of the primary points I make in “Rock Your To-Do List” is this hard truth:
You can spend $100 on the world’s most expensive and feature-laden planner and it won’t make you organized.
It won’t give you more time.
It won’t give you peace of mind.
The only thing that will is finally getting your priorities straight and using your planner as a tool, not as a savior.
Now, that being said, there’s nothing wrong with indulging in a little planner love!
Once you’ve set your goals and reduced your daily to-do items to a manageable level, planners are fun, inspiring, and helpful.
So definitely check out what’s available. But DO NOT fall for the hype. Spending more on the latest and greatest planner will not help you if you don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish.
Get your mind straight FIRST. Then find a planner or system to match.
I love cute planners as much as the next gal. To that end, I’m working on a list of some free planner printables that will jazz up whatever notebook or planner you choose, as well as allow you to give a few systems a test run before you commit.
Below are a couple of the cutest printables available to help you style your schedule:
P.S. Rock Your To-Do List is still on sale for less than a buck! This powerful book (with 51 4/5 star reviews) will help you achieve your goals faster and with less stress. I promise!
One of my kids had a “teaching moment” the other day. At least, that’s what we are calling it in retrospect. When we were in the middle of it, it felt like a crisis, a mistake, a “hand-me-the-tequila-no-need-for-a-glass” moment. It didn’t feel particularly instructional, other than for me to bang my head on my desk, smack this child on the side of the head (metaphorically!) and say in a very calm (at the top of my lungs) voice:
WHY IN THE HECK DID YOU DO THAT?!?!?
It was a bad one.
The details don’t matter much, other than to point out that this child has inherited Mom’s flair for high emotions and Dad’s “question authority” approach to life. The kid in question (we’ll call them “Z,” simply because none of my kids’ names begin with that letter) said something unwarranted to someone in an authority position, and then the fur (and the emails) started to fly.
The authority figure sent me an email laying out in specific detail Z’s behavior. As in, three paragraphs of detail.
I knew that there was room for interpretation, but I also knew that Z’s temperament is given to periods of intensity, both in terms of emotion and volume, particularly when under stress. I did the best damage control I could via return email, saying that the behavior in question was unacceptable, and that I’d be speaking with my child about it.
By the time school got out, I’d calmed down past the head-banging and yelling stages and had entered problem-solving mode.
Of course, Z had a very different take on the situation. Z felt undermined, misunderstood, and betrayed. And while I understood those feelings, the gist of the matter was that someone in authority felt Z had behaved badly and was upset about it. And Z needed to clean up the mess. Z needed to apologize.
The fact that the authority figure may or may not have misstepped was beside the point, I explained. The right thing to do never depends on someone else’s likability or attitude, or even their behavior. If we screw up, we own it. It’s a matter of character, and that is internal, not external.
Z got it. A small apology gift was purchased (“I have to get this with my own money?!”)
and an apology was issued, if not accepted. An additional lecture was received (which I had warned Z about — “Say nothing!” I had advised beforehand. “Just keep nodding and saying, ‘I understand.'”). Crow eaten, Z breathed a sigh of relief, as did I. Z headed off to the rest of the day, hopefully a bit wiser.
Now where’s the tequila?
First thing in my inbox this morning: an email from a writer and business owner I really love. I see the return address and eagerly open it, hoping for a tidbit of insight, humor, or wisdom. But then I see the subject line: “How One Mom Quadrupled Her Business Revenue.”
Am I supposed to be surprised because she’s a mom? Are moms less capable than other people? Does being a mom mean we are less likely to be successful in business? And when’s the last time you saw a headline that said, “How One Dad Quadrupled His Business Revenue?”
I’ve seen all sorts of variations on this:
“One mom starts a business and makes $1 million!”
“So easy a mom can do it!”
“If a mom did it, you can do it, too!
What are marketers trying to say with headlines like this: That you can do “it” part-time with few marketable skills? It’s a bit naïve, not to mention insulting, to assume that the whole world of mothers is a bunch of low-skill, low-intelligence workforce drop outs. They may as well say, “It’s so easy a monkey with half a brain to do it!”
It’s time to stop acting like we lose 50 IQ points just because we have functioning ovaries. If anything, I’ve learned more about management, motivation, and delegation in the 18 years I’ve been a mom than from anything I learned in the office or school. Need I say that many of the most powerful women I know personally and tangentially are moms (two of them, in fact, are running for President of the United States)?
75 percent of moms whose kids are over 6 are currently in the workforce. That’s a whole lot of women with kids NOT sitting around in yoga pants talking solely about potty training and “Super Why!”
It’s moms who, working or not, do the majority of housework and kid care. It’s moms who give birth and show up back in the office a few short weeks or months later, breasts and hearts aching, and make it happen. It’s moms who juggle soccer practices and presentations, board meetings and bar mitzvahs, teen drivers and trade shows. We’re the ones who execute the family schedule with the precision of Dwight D. Eisenhower moving on Normandy. We’re the ones who know exactly where to find the volleyball uniform and the brief that needs to be filed. We get it all done, even if it means we stay up late, get up early, and sacrifice any hope of using the bathroom in solitude. It’s a sacrifice we make gladly, willingly, and (mostly) happily.
Many dads do these things – or equally important tasks – as well. But it’s not dads who are facing the irritating and condescending label of “mommy blogger” or “mompreneur.” Men are referred to as “financial experts,” “gurus,” and “entrepreneurs,” without having their parental status front-and-center. Yes, I’m a mom. And while my role as mother takes up the majority of my heart, it’s not my primary identity when I go to work. Dads are allowed to head to the office and relegate their personal life to a corner of their desk where the family picture stands, but moms, for some reason, are expected to let our parenthood handicap us. And that’s BS.
From here on out, I’m calling businesses on this lazy marketing. I won’t be purchasing anything from anyone who walks the path of using “mom” as a slight or hidden insult. “Mom” is a title of respect, not a handicap. And for the record, it would take at least two monkeys to replace me.