This happens to me every year at this time. I waffle through a bazillion organizers, planners, and systems in hopes I’ll discover THE ONE for me. THE ONE I’ll commit to in good times and bad. THE ONE that will keep me from stumbling through the next year.

THE ONE that will keep me focused and productive.

But, every year, I abandon the chosen beast for scraps of paper, Post-its, and a scrambled memory.

This year I even created a Pinterest board to collect and study the newest versions of the planning vermin. I admit, the colors and swirls of creative energy and blank pages are all enticing but I know what will happen. After selecting the most seductive planner and after a month of diligently scrawling To-Dos and Must-Dos and Must-Remember To Dos, I’ll fall into a rabbit trail and I won’t do.

And then I feel like an organizing failure which squelches my entire impetus for productivity planning in the first place–becoming the princess of organization.

Ah, the perils of planning the planner.

This year, however, I am taking a different approach based on my supposed strengths as suggested by StrengthFinders. Years ago I took the test and learned one of my strengths is ideation so I’m going to harness that power in two ways:

1. The Bullet Journal


I’ve decide to create a Bullet Journal. This is a simplistic modular organizing system more than a planner. Their tagline is “All you need is a notebook and a pen.” After several hundred hours of Pinterest indulgence, I realize I’m a modular visual type of gal.

They got me at “Note-taking and traditional journaling take time; the more complex the entry, the more effort is expended. The more effort expended, the more of a chore it becomes, the more likely you’ll underutilize or abandon your journal.”

Basically, you can use any type of notebook you want (or you can purchase their custom notebook which happens to be sold out right now) then follow their framework. You can mix and match the modules that best serve your needs–business or personal. Sure, it takes planning and a little more pondering than a published one-size-fits-all planner, but that’s the beauty of it.

Find more information simply search Pinterest, Google, or Youtube. It’s become quite a craze.

2. Trello


Secondly, I have created several boards on Trello. Trello is another modular system but it’s online. It allows you to visually organize your projects, tasks, and activities. Beware, there is a learning curve, which I must have attempted at some point because when I logged onto Trello, I found that I had already made an account. Obviously, I had abandoned it. Probably in favor of a paper planner, which I know I abandoned.

After taking another look at Trello, I liked what I saw so I watched a few tutorials. It wasn’t complicated to set up my first project board so I set up ten more. I think I’m in love. It’s modular. It’s visual. It’s drag and drop. You can even connect it to your Google Calendar.

Simply, you create a board, create lists, which you can modify as you like, then label task cards which you can drag and drop into different lists if you need to. Each card allows you to add checklists, add attachments, due dates, or color-coded labels. You can even add members to a particular task. There’s a free version and a paid version. Right now I am using the free version and I have found it to be sufficient for what I need. Here is an example of one of the boards I started:


I love being able to see the big picture of my blogging calendars and to move the To-Dos around at the click of my mouse.

My fear however, is that I may become obsessed with the planning instead of the doing. Seems I’m not the only one who recognizes this conundrum.

The Trouble with Organizing

You see? For people who love to create and ideate, pondering the planner can be self-defeating in itself.

Oh, the perils of planning the planner.

How have you overcome your yearly planning task? What planners have best helped you? Do you even use a planner?