Plan

Evaluate

Recently finished Lee Child's first Jack Reacher book, Killing Floor, and was struck by this excellent bit of management advice:

Evaluate. Long experience had taught me to evaluate and assess. When the unexpected gets dumped on you, don’t waste time. Don’t figure out how or why it happened. Don’t recriminate. Don’t figure out whose fault it is. Don’t work out how to avoid the same mistake next time. All of that you do later. If you survive. First of all you evaluate. Analyze the situation. Identify the downside. Assess the upside. Plan accordingly. Do all that and you give yourself a better chance of getting through to the other stuff later.
— Jack Reacher

My Franklin Planner in Memoriam

I threw away my Franklin Planner this week. Mine was old school, pre Franklin Covey merger. Fresh out of college, I remember receiving my first Franklin Planner and going through the day-long training.

Towards the end of the class, our instructor had us go out 21 days and add the task of sending her a note (not an email, an actual paper note) describing how our first three weeks using the planner were going. A colleague I worked with who was 20+ years my senior flipped his planner to the next day and began writing more immediate tasks he planned to accomplish back in the office. I asked him why he didn't do the exercise as instructed, and he said, "I have no intention of sending her a note."

I admired his thought process, and while that incident has stuck with me all these years, I still struggle with being selective on what actually gets added to my Omnifocus inbox.

I remember upgrading my planner from burgundy plastic to navy blue leather, but it's been years since I've ordered a refill or used any form of a paper task manager or calendar. I still see others who do, but they are becoming more rare every year. I've moved my old planner from office to office clinging to it like a security blanket, but as I packed for an my next move it was time to let it go.

I'm lucky I got to spend some time with it saying goodbye. I paged through it and kept some of the insides, the most important being my mission statement - written in 1993, printed on a dot matrix printer, and signed by Stephen R. Covey in 2003. I was pleasantly pleased to discover how much in alignment I've been living what I wrote 21 years ago. Not achieved it, but living it.

I retyped my mission statement in nvALT in it's original form, resisting the urge to tighten it up and remove a few cliques, and I took a picture of it to store in Evernote.

I also found this little gem - a poem from Rumi via Gordon MacKenzie's Orbiting the Giant Hairball. It seemed like a perfect summary of this transition of letting go.

I carried this poem in my planner for years.