Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Incredible Shrinking Day

Yesterday I finally went out and got my 2012 planner, almost three weeks into the year.

My entire year will be contained in 3 ½ x 6 inches

Things sure have changed. When I was working full time in finance, I would get the next year’s Week-At-A-Glance as soon as it was available, usually in September or October, as things had to be scheduled up to a year in advance. My daily columns were packed from 7 am to 8 pm, and sometimes I even wrote in my lunch break so that I wouldn’t forget to eat. I had to use a 9 x 12 page-sized planner just so I’d have enough space for everything. I’d lug it around with my computer and a bunch of files in my big briefcase or a rolling cart.

One year, everyone converted to hand-held PDAs and we all thought we were on the cutting edge. (This was some time before the cell phone became a music player, camera, calendar, clock, and web interface all in one.) After the stupid devices had to be resynched repeatedly to our computers, we quickly lost interest and returned to the old fashioned binder or booklet planners.

I retired in 2006 and continued to use a huge weekly planner for the rest of that year and the next. I was going to school full time, and I filled the pages with class times, due dates, exams, and breaks.

When I went to get the 2008 calendar, however, I realized that I could easily get as much use out of a smaller planner. I switched to the 7 x 9 size, which got me through the end of classes and a couple of internships. But by the end of 2009, I realized that other than the occasional dental appointment and dinner date, my planner pages were blank.

So for 2010, I stepped down to the 5 x 8 size. Now the days were only 9 hours long, and ended at 5 pm! My 2010 planner was soon filled with goals and progress milestones for the book I was writing, some art workshops, and travel dates. But my 2011 planner ended the year almost completely empty.

As I stood in the calendars and planners aisle in Staples yesterday, I decided that although I’m not yet ready to dispense with a portable calendar altogether, I can definitely go down another size. They had week-at-a-glance calendars in little stapled booklets only 3½ by 6 inches. There are no printed times, but each day only has 7 lines.

The years are shrinking too.

I guess I could make this into some important philosophical message about aging (Lowered expectations? Diminished capacity? Running out of time?), but the bottom line is, I’m just so relieved and happy not to be working, and not to have that burdensome schedule and insanely long to-do list wearing me down any longer.

I hope that whatever you’re doing today, you can break away from the endless meetings, task lists, deadlines, and deliverables on your calendar. Take some deep breaths, look out the window, and think of something wonderful.



  1. Your diary is shrinking in proportion to the ammount of control you have over your time - that's a good thing!

  2. I so love not having a huge work day calander! These days, I use a personal size, week on two pages, Filofax to keep track of my household and our appointments. It's small enough to drop in my day bag, but not so small that I'll lose it.