I Have a Love/Hate Relationship With My Planner


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I love my planner, except on the days I hate it. I want Pinterest perfect planner pages, but... Here are tips for perfectly planned days covered by grace.

Are you committed to your daily planner?

I start every year with good intentions. I buy the “perfect” planner. This year I even bought stickers, stamps, and decorative tape. Really. I love all those cute planner posts I see on Pinterest and in my head, I want one that beautifully documents my days.

But in reality, I hate my handwriting. I’m not artistically inclined. I’m not good at following structure. And I hate making mistakes that mess up perfect pages.

So, my planner is mostly naked as I end up moving through most days freely unscheduled.

Those of you careful planners are probably shaking your head feeling just a little sad for people like me who just can’t get our acts together.

I want to. Really I do. I’ve tried . . . repeatedly.

I’ve taken the Franklin Covey course and tried to learn from perfect planner people. Still anything past scheduling appointments and a few absolute must dos . . . my planner remains clean.

What does all of this have to do with freedom?

I am giving myself planner freedom. Freedom to pray and ask God to guide me and help me use my time well and if using my planner is part of that, I’m praying He will guide me there as well.

Everyone wants a piece of our time. It’s our most precious commodity. Employers, spouses, children, parents, friends, and yes, even the family pets have an opinion about how we use our time.

It is impossible to please everyone.

As part of The Faith Project – I’m looking at my freedom to plan.

First, I’m going back to my purpose.

I love my planner, except on the days I hate it. I want Pinterest perfect planner pages, but... Here are my tips for perfectly planned days covered by grace.

Last summer I wrote a Personal Mission Statement.

To love God completely with all my mind and my emotions. To spend time every day in prayer and Bible study. To know Him that I might know His will. To get enough rest, eat a healthy diet, and exercise so I’ll have the strength to love and care for the people in my life. To never stop learning, spend face to face time with friends and family, and treat everyone (even me) with kindness and forgiveness. To celebrate each day’s blessings and glorify God with gratitude for His loving care. I will do this with God’s help and by His grace. 

Then I’ll add prayer.

Asking God to show me His plans for me and listening for God’s voice. I don’t want to settle for my good and miss out on His best.

We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer. Proverbs 16:1

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

The Bible consistently speaks of how much God loves us and that He has plans for us. I don’t want to miss out on His plans because I’m too focused on my own.

But it’s hard isn’t it? Knowing God’s will and consistently following it?

That’s where once again God’s grace prevails.

The Lord will work out His plans for my life— for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Psalm 138:8

Great news!

God covers my planner with His grace. He knows how I want to live for His glory. He knows I won’t do it perfectly. He knows the needs of the people around me. Jesus knows it’s hard when people are pressing in. He’s been there.

What did He do to plan His days?

He got away with His Father. 

He took the time to rest. 

He loved. 

That’s my goal. Spend time with the Father. Get the rest I need. And love. Then I’m free to grab my planner and write out my messy life. I’m going to try to come to peace with scribbles and less than perfect pages and focus on the living out over the writing about.

I’m praising and thanking God for the gift of time and for the freedom to plan knowing His grace covers the imperfections.

I have a guest post over at Cord of 6 by Valerie Murray today.

Click the pic to head on over to read –



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  1. I love your mission statement. As a busy daddy to four girls, I rely on my messy planner to keep me on track. I am incredibly grateful that God does indeed, cover our planner with grace. Wishing you a blessed week.

    1. Thanks, Jed. I’m hoping to use my planner more efficiently as I relax knowing it is covered by grace and messy or not . . . it’s mine with reasons to get out of bed each morning and serve God. Blessings to you as well.

  2. No one way worked for me, so I developed my own. It changes as seasons dictate. I quit looking at what others said I “should” do and focused on what worked for me, what helped me be consistently productive. Very freeing! My points… the struggle is real… don’t give up… persevere… you’ll get there thru small steps over tine… they’ll add up! P.S. Great focus with your personal mission statement & goals!

    1. So, you’re saying I should quit looking at those Pinterest perfect planner pages. Whew. Say that 10 times fast. 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement to not give up and for your kind words about my mission statement. Just praying to remember each day . . . it’s not about me while keeping my eyes focused on Jesus. God’s blessings friend!

  3. Deb, I bought a smaller planner this year. I’m so likely to fill every line -> fewer lines=fewer tasks. The Lord is helping me to have a better/healthier relationship with time, and I’m thankful. Thanks for sharing how God is pouring His grace into your life.

    1. I need a healthier relationship with time. I sometimes feel like I can waste more than my share. I keep reminding myself that I am called to be a good steward of minutes as well and talents and treasures. Trusting God will help as He works with me on this. Blessings my friend!

  4. My handwriting is a bit messy, too. It starts out pretty and then by sentence number two its all over the place! So, I’ve given up planners for the most part. I do use my calendar on my computer that connects my phone to my laptop and to my husband’s calendar. That way I don’t miss something! I do like to be organized. However, it is so important to leave room for God…or better yet, make room for God first and then the space left over will be for what He wants me to do. I have found that when I connect with Him first, it seems like I have more time in my day for everything else. However, if I start with the “everything else”, I’m unorganized, discombobulated and tired. I love the quote by Stephen Covey – and what is our main thing? Our main thing needs to be God.

    Great reminder, Deb!

    Blessings, Joan

    1. We have a familial tremor that for me shows up in my handwriting. So, no matter how hard I try it’s always bumpy and inconsistent . . . and truthfully can be hard to read. Now to worry less about pretty and more about stewardship of my time, I’m carrying my planner to my devotion time in the morning and inviting God to help me plan my day. You’re right about that being a necessary part of each morning. Enjoy a wonderful weekend my friend.

  5. Deb, I’m the same way. I used to always buy the planners…I wanted to keep up with them — but after a week or two, they’d sit empty. Thank you for these truths today. So grateful for a God who goes before us, and makes the plans. Every morning before I put my feet on the floor, I ask God to order my day. He’s faithful to rearrange where needed. 🙂 ((Hug))

    1. What a beautiful morning prayer, Brenda. Asking God to go before me and order my day. I’m a mess if I try to go it without Him. Oh, it’s all about focus and trust isn’t it? Blessings to you!

  6. Sherry Robichaud says:

    Love your enthusiasm to use the planner! I too went out and got supplies to start, disappointed myself with my lack of crafty looks. Know I time it all will come together. With Just practice, patience and consistency. Good luck!

    1. Sherry, thank you for the pep-talk I need it. Practice, patience, and consistency. Could be mottos for much of life . . . right? Three words I need to apply more often. Thanks for stopping by and for joining the conversation. God’s blessings!

  7. When I was teaching, I couldn’t live without a planner (or agenda, as we called them). Now that I’m retired, no more planners, just a dry-erase board on the wall with a revolving calendar to keep track of appointments, birthdays, etc. Whew! It’s a relief.
    Planner or not, when we put God first and allow Him to plan out our days, we’re are bound to be headed in the right direction.
    Blessings, Deb!

  8. Deb, look at how funny this is: I linked up at Grace & Truth and was drawn in by this catchy title of yours. Let’s just say the title ‘spoke to me’. 🙂 I read through laughing all the way because I can relate so much. Then as I scrolled down, I laughed even more as I found my post being featured by you. God really has a sense of humor and I’m so glad he connected us together. I continue to be blessed by your warmth and generosity and yes, that sparkle in your eye! It’s always such a pleasure to visit with you.

    I think I better go now and mark up my planner. It’s still sitting pretty and unused on my desk. The most I used it was to take the picture for my blog post. Hahaha 😉

  9. Hi Deb, I love your mission statement (come to think of it, I probably should have one myself) and understand your struggles with planners (perhaps because I tend to be rather unstructured?). I’ve used several over the years and haven’t really found one that I love. (I do love the bullet journal concept for my to do lists and other lists.)

    Since I’ve really decided to focus on one word for the year; I’m thinking that should “guide” the whole of the year. Ultimately, letting God direct our days is the best plan ever.


  10. Okay, so I am a planner (fanatically so) lol but I completely understand this. Last spring I started planning differently. After my morning Bible and prayer time, I write out my plans for the day – I hand it over to the Lord and say – show me what I should focus on. I feel like my productivity shot up since I started that practice.

    We’re not all planners though – and I think there needs to be confidence that when we haven’t “got it all done”, that we achieved what the Lord wanted us to achieve.

    Thanks for sharing.

  11. Helen Gullett says:

    Glad I found your blog through a link group. I am like you – have a love/hate relationship – with my planner. I surrender myself and my plans under Jesus’ feet.

    I love your points and looking up to Jesus as an example is the best thing to do.

    Thank You for sharing it.

  12. Julie Lefebure says:

    Beautiful, Deb. Beautiful. Thank you for pointing me to this: “Spend time with the Father. Get the rest I need. And love.” Amen. Thanks for hosting us for Faith ‘n Friends!

  13. I love, love, love this approach to planning. As a homeschooling mom to my 3 biological children, plus a foster mom, writer, and servant in other ministry roles, my hours fill up fast. When I’m tempted to be discouraged about how many items remain on my “to-do” list, God whispers in my ear the truth of Luke 10:42: “There is one needful thing.” Thank you for encouraging us to keep our schedules Christ-centered! Happy to visit today from Grace & Truth. 🙂

  14. I think the biggest reason people fail when it comes to keeping a planner or scheduling their time is that they try to use it as a way of acting as a dictator over themselves. And the natural reaction for anyone who’s being squashed under the thumb of a dictator is to rebel, even when that dictator is yourself.