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A comment has inspired me to write about my planner. As I explained to the commenter, it is her fault that I have this boring entry this morning.

My mother gave me a Daytimer for Christmas when I was about 12. At various times in my life I used their page a day or page a week or their 24-hour planner (small children and a husband on the night shift, so I did a lot of my freelance work in the wee hours of the morning in those days), and a few years ago I switched to Franklin Covey. Basically, though, I have used this system all my life.

I have a schedule.I realize that many of my readers would loathe having a schedule. For me, though, having a schedule is much less stressful. I have blocks for the days I am at the store and the times I work at home. I have 40 hours for my full-time job and blocks for my Pampered Chef business and squares for rehearsals and classes and so forth. I have gym time and meals and housework in there, and free time and family time, and commuting time. This means that I can see for sure that everything will actually fit into my day, and I never have to feel like I ought to be doing something other than what I am doing, because I know that there is a time for everything. I update it in the fall and the spring, when I typically have a change in my schedule — different music commitments, for example, or a different work schedule.

Next to the schedule is my running list. That’s where I write down everything that needs doing, as I think of it.

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If I want to make a dress or check out a new SEO site or clean the pantry, I can put it there and not have it running through my mind like a hamster (well, usually). The running list also means that I don’t have an unreasonable to-do list — just what I can realistically accomplish in a day.

My appointments are by the to-do list, and I normally put them in as soon as I make them. Then I have a page for notes, which normally fills up during the day. I have an index page for each month so that, at least in theory, I can find my notes again. The notes range from research data to grocery lists to meeting notes to a list of new sewing patterns I want next time they’re selling at 99 cents. This way I never have to keep track of bits of paper or try to remember where I put some information. That’s a serious timesaver.

Now, having answered the commenter’s question, I must tell you a story.

Once, when I had four little children — my youngest was about 4 months old, so the others would have been 2, 7, and 8 — I got them all packed into the car after church and realized that the baby was missing. After following the trail of who had last been seen carrying him and who they had gotten him from, we found the baby, fast asleep in the church nursery. The church was locked up tight, so it was fortunate that someone had a key.

One of the women said to me, “I always wondered how you managed to keep track of everything. Now I see — you don’t.”