My name is Jem and I’m a planaholic – By @jembauer

By Jemima Bauermeister


My name is Jem and I’m a planaholic


When I was really young, my Mum would send me upstairs after breakfast to go and get changed. Hours would pass before I’d return and she’d come up to see what had happened to me. I’d be sitting on top of the chest of drawers looking down at all of my clothes on the floor, every single item organised into an outfit while I curiously looked down at them, still in my Pyjamas.


As a 7-year-old I would commandeer quadrille notepads so I could draw floorplans of all the houses, hotels, schools and farms I was going to own one day. When I wanted to join the army as a 14-year-old, instead of learning about whichever role I’d go into, I mapped out the travel routes to all the different training locations and figured out what my pay would be in 20 years if it increased every year from the starting wage at the rate of inflation.


Planning has always been a strength of mine but also my vice. I’ve used it to my advantage in lots of jobs I’ve had. Everyone from my last work used to make fun of how obsessed I am with Microsoft Excel, “Jem’ll have a spreadsheet for that” would be thrown out as a suggested solution to any problem, even if that problem was a hole someone had punched in a wall or a drunk person stuck behind a sofa (it was a nightclub, these things happened).


As long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with lists, journals, notebooks, timetables, spreadsheets, calendars, anything that involves organisation. As creative as I try to be, I have so often got stuck in the fun and exciting stages of theorising an idea when really I should just get on with it and see where it takes me.


As we all know, reality very rarely matches our expectations anyway. Shit happens, things change and we learn. So 99% of my plans get thrown out.


When Marc sent us an email with the Self-Journal I couldn’t have been more excited. It’s right up my street. When it arrived I even planned out on a scrap piece of paper what I was going to write before I put pen to journal.


And that’s when I immediately stopped myself. It’ just not going to work.


This year, I need to do less planning, not more. I started off the summer adding up all the hours it’s going to take me to read each book (kindle gives a nice little estimate of how long they all take) and then factoring in a certain number of hours reading per day and figured out I could read them all at least twice before term started. Term starts in three weeks today and I haven’t finished a single one. That sounds worse than it is, I’m about half way through almost all of them.


I know I’m not unique in my misguided optimism about how much I can get done. But the more time I spend planning, the less time I have left to get shit done. So me and my self-journal have already broken up. It looks like an incredible tool for a lot of people; just like alcohol is fun for most. But a planaholic like me should not be touching a planner of such beauty. Where it makes most people more productive, it will most certainly make me less. So, having a vague understanding of what my strengths and weaknesses are, I think the most important thing for me to practise before starting in 21 days is actually getting shit done rather than spending half my time mapping it all out.


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