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Let the Planners Collect Dust

by catchafrisbie about a year ago in happiness
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There may be something more important in this moment.

Let the Planners Collect Dust
Photo by Alexa Williams on Unsplash

Spring forward. Productivity. Habits. Long-term success. The words swim through the recesses of my brain.

A barely used planner sits in a pile on the floor. Sticky notes with reminders of things "to do" litter my desk. I have avoided my office for three days now. I placed paperwork on my desk, and told myself I can't use it until I finish it. My solution: use every other clean surface, just so I will not have to complete the forms waiting for me.

I thrive on accomplishing things, completing checklists, clean spaces, neatly lined up objects, and color coordinated closets. So why am I procrastinating?

By Stefan Cosma on Unsplash

Because I changed my focus and how I use my resources: time, money and people.

In Stephen Covey's bestselling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the second habit is “begin with the end in mind.”

To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you’re going so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction (Covey, 2016).

In high school, I read and reread The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens written by Stephen Covey's son, Sean Covey and followed its principles like it was scripture.

  1. Be Proactive
  2. Begin With the End in Mind
  3. Put First Things First
  4. Think Win-Win
  5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
  6. Synergize
  7. Sharpen the Saw

I had goals: go to college, get a good job, get married, buy a house, have a couple of kids. I poured my time and money into accomplishing these goals and aligned myself with people who I thought were headed in the same direction. I accomplished everything on my checklist, except the last one, but I was not satisfied. What was the point of accomplishing all these things?

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey writes:

It's incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the busyness of life, to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover it's leaning against the wrong wall (Covey, 2016).

In 2018, I bought a house and I thought that the final “goal” of having a couple of kids would follow soon after. But 2018 and 2019 came and went, taking away people that were important to me instead of bringing new ones into my life.

On December 31, 2019, my favorite holiday of the year, I rang in the new year alone. I left a party as a desperate attempt “to do the right thing” and went home to my spouse, hopeful that this time it would be different. Whatever you want to call it, miscommunication, high hopes, could have been, one last chance–a part me died that night.

Don't Save the Date

By Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Despite, a devastating pandemic and making the most difficult decisions in my life to date, 2020 was one of the best years of my life. In my letter to myself, 2020 Note to Self: Don’t Die, I highlight the highs and lows of 2020 and looking forward to 2021.

In 2020, we laughed when we dropped the brand-new Keurig and water went everywhere. We took quiet walks in the woods and silently watched a fox and its kits playing in the brush. We placed blankets over our shoulders and spun in circles. We ate dinner in bed, and did not make the bed the next morning. We were present during the most banal and unpleasant moments and those little moments have returned the air to our lungs.

We danced in every room while clean towels sat in piles begging to be folded. In 2021, the towels will be there tomorrow, but we may not be—let the towels beg.

By Richard Jaimes on Unsplash

So when I look at the planner, the sticky notes, the papers waiting to be completed, and think about the long list of “should do’s” filling my head, I ask myself these questions—does this align with where I want to go? Does this take me closer to my destination?

Sure, there will always be things that I don’t want to do but need to do; but when I am asked to dance underneath the kitchen lights, while singing Frank Sinatra, “Fly me to the moon. Let me play among the stars…”, it’s these moments that make all the mundane moments worth living. My new habit, new priority, new scripture to live by—take time for the little moments.

"…to begin with the end means to have a clear understanding of your destination (Covey, 2016)." But remember that the ride is just as important as arriving at your destination.

If they must, let the planners collect dust.


Covey, S. R. (2016). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. Mango. (2013, May 31). 7 habits of highly successful teens. Retrieved March 17, 2021, from


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I want to leave kindness in my footsteps and tiny seeds of hope in your brain.

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