This is such a delightful post, because it was written by Meeka Malone, mother of the sister-founders of Evergreen Planner, McCauley and Shelby.
Mama has always challenged us to reach for excellence, and to never settle with making excuses for ourselves. It’s been so fun to watch our Mama embrace this planner system that we created and gain a whole host of brand new skills in time-management and goal-setting for herself.
She’s been a behind-the-scenes secret weapon for the success of our business, from staying up late into the night helping us field test and work out the last kinks on our ROOTED Goals Workbook to watching her very large gaggle of grandkids so we can record the Make Space to Thrive Podcast.
And now, here’s a word of encouragement from our Mama. We couldn’t think of a more life-giving person to feature as our very first guest contributor. Here’s just a glimpse of the kind of very good things she’s poured into us since we were small. Enjoy!
How to Draw More Inspiration (Instead of Feelings of Failure) From Your Planner
Guest Post by Meeka Malone
So, I have never been a planner—well, not until these past five years or so, anyway.
I have one specific reason why I haven’t been. Failure. Now I’m not saying my lack of planning is because I am a failure. I’m saying I’ve avoided planning in the past because it makes me feel more like a failure.
I can sit right down and PLAN any old thing, right down to the smallest detail. But the part where I get up and do the details…well there’s the hard part.
So if I don’t plan it, I don’t have to answer to anyone for not doing it…not even myself. This is not the best motto to live by if you actually do want to accomplish some things that take longer than one sitting to complete.
Purpose needs a plan. Some folks can keep it all in their heads, but I am certainly not one of those. However, any ol’ kind of list won’t work for me, because my ideas are too many, too involved, and too expensive, so they just crowd up a notebook and become as messy as my attempts to do them without a plan.
The Evergreen Planning System worked for me for one main reason: it helped me sort out that whole mess by using the ROOTED Goals Workbook.
OK, there were actually two reasons why it worked, actually. The other one was that because I purchased the subscription boxes, even if I got preoccupied with my own default hang-ups, that fresh new box with all the goodies made me inspired to take another look at what I really wanted, and keep trying again.
I even made a little section on my Annual for a “Keep Trying Again” list! I look at that list, and start down that little sad road of thinking what a failure I am, but across the page, I have a section marked “Victories in Jesus.” And that gives just that bit of motivation to acknowledge that I actually HAVE made progress!
I don’t have a good enough memory to know what victories I’ve had in Jesus over the past month, though. So, I go look through the handy little daily prompt labeled “victories” on every page. How refreshing it is to see that I actually DID things that mattered enough for me to write down!
Now, some folks still don’t like to keep a plan, and they still feel very successful in their everyday accomplishments. I LOVE people like that! God made us all very different because there is a whole lot that can be done in this world full of opportunities, and it takes each one of us doing what God designed us to do.
So, for me, I have realized I meet my goals “coming and going” back and forth through my actual plans. And every so often I grab one of those goals and run with it! I maybe always did that, but having it written down really helps me be sure of one thing: I am living intentionally, and I am successfully finding the treasures in this scavenger hunt that God so lovingly created for me. I feel a little more able to see that now that I use a planner.
I also seem to be so very less stressed while maneuvering through all the unexpected turns life inevitably takes. Then, when I realize there is time to rest, I find it so restful to revisit those little dreamy things I want to do, and I try one again. That’s much more therapeutic for me than scrolling through other people’s successes and regretting that I’m too tired to remember the things I ever wanted to do.
One last thing: I don’t often find myself feeling guilty anymore for doing all the little dreamy things I ever wanted to do! I no longer pursue my interests at the expense of being responsible and helping other people. I think having it all laid out is really balancing for a person. It seems to me like everyone should try it! (And that’s coming from someone who still isn’t really a planner.)
Who doesn’t want their chaos to become very well managed spontaneity, with all its perks and way less of its pitfalls? Feeling like a success (or a failure) is really based on how you look at things. Having it all written out is a great way to take a closer look before you judge yourself too quickly—and especially before you judge yourself too harshly.