Planners and Schedules

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I was never the type who planned everything. I was not the type of person who had her life all planned out with targets of when to get married, have kids, and be famous all over the world. I was more of the go-with-the-flow type even if I was not excited about where life was bringing me from time to time. That is why, every time I get asked what my plan was for the next five or ten years, I take so long to reply.

While I am proud of my flexibility and resiliency, I have to admit that making plans is a good thing because it helps one reach his or her goals. I will need to be better at planning if I want to reach high in life, so to practice, I started with getting a weekly planner and  Starbucks planner.

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What’s the deal with the Starbucks planner, you may ask. Well, every Christmas season in the Philippines, Starbucks and other big coffee shop brands promote their brands by giving you stickers to collect and eventually exchange for planners. Starbucks is the most notorious and might actually been the one that started the planner craze among coffee shop brands in the Philippines.

I never joined in on the bandwagon in the past. I always gave my stickers away to someone I knew was collecting. Other times, I will allow other people to treat me to Starbucks just so they can speed up their sticker collection process. When I felt generous, I would treat friends to coffee and let them have the stickers. It was only last year that I decided to collect for myself.

This year, I had to purchase eighteen drinks in total. When I celebrated my first year anniversary with my current employer, I got six tickets from treating my teammates. For the twelve others, I randomly treated other people for no reason. I admit, I sometimes made people feel that they were helping me get the planner by letting me treat them (because there was no way I will ask them to buy a drink for themselves and give me the sticker knowing they are also collecting). I think I spent almost PHP 3,500 or around USD 80 for that freaking planner.

img_0534You see, getting the planner was already a goal in itself. Despite how trivial the goal appears, it was a practice for me on working towards a goal I have made for myself not because it aligns with anybody else’s goals, but simply because I just wanted it.

The next challenge for me is to make sure I use the planner. Often, my planners in the past (bought and not obtained from promotions) ended up like diaries or journals instead of a true planner. Almost all were not used anymore after March. I am desperately trying not to be the same this year.

img_0476For work, I also got myself a weekly planner for my different activities throughout the day. It helped me tremendously during the last quarter of the year when we were so busy. However, I have to admit that there were multiple times that I adjusted my to-do list because I was again, trying to be flexible. I need to learn how to be better at prioritization and workload balancing.

I am also thinking of doubling this weekly planner as a mood tracker. I am still unsure whether to get emoji stickers or to just draw. I think the stickers will look more attractive.

My goal this year is to be a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA). It’s been years since I last studied for an exam, so I am really struggling with reviving my study habits (whatever little I had as a student). Not only do I have to study, I also have to improve my budgeting skills so I can pay for review materials and the exam itself. I already started with motivating myself by changing my phone’s wallpaper to a reminder of my goal.

Here’s to the hope that becoming CISA will be a goal achieved instead of merely being a wish.

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