Planning for Imperfection

As those of you who have read my posts from beginning to (current) end know, I have had not one, not two, but three separate dilemmas when it comes to my planner system. My problem is always trying to decide how to use which planner, in what way, and for what purpose. I am horrible at making decisions, at least where the little things are concerned. It’s just too much to process and decide on, especially when I see pictures of others’ planners and how wonderful they all are.

I think most of us who live in the planner realm are constantly striving for “the perfect planner,” or at least as perfect as we can get them while using what we are using. I can only speak for myself when I say that striving for this type of perfection is really a grapple for control over my self-inflicted crazy schedule or for perfection in general.

I recently read an article on the Japanese art of wabi-sabi. In its most general form, the description of wabi-sabi is to see and accept the beauty of imperfection. The article states that “artists will often leave subtle fractures in the glaze of a vase or a rough surface on a bowl as a reminder of the wabi-sabi nature of life…that all of life is in a constant state of change and that decay is as much a part of life as growth.”

Lori Erickson, the author of this particular article, is using the term to describe getting older with grace instead of constantly seeking her lost youth. The wabi-sabi concept is meant to be used as an approach to life as a whole, a philosophy and state of mind for living a content life. I have been on a quest lately for a simpler way of life, and I seem to be looking for that by examining how I spend my time, how I would like to spend my time, and what I must do to achieve that simple state of mind, to observe and accept the world as it is and how it changes.

But, taking the philosophy down a few notches, I also thought that the wabi-sabi concept could be applied to my situation with planners and planning. Being that I am constantly striving for “the perfect planner,” I thought, Yeah, I should accept my planner (and life) the way it is because it works for me and like me, it is in a constant state of flux, an ever-changing entity, and will always be a work in progress. According to the article, one way to achieve a wabi-sabi state of mind is to “take 10 minutes to cozy up with a blanket, sit in a chair, and watch the sunlight move across the floor” (and to “repeat as necessary”) when you feel like you’re constantly running behind. I don’t feel like I’m constantly running behind, but I do feel like I’m constantly running myself ragged. True, I may have to actually schedule something like this into my planner, but only because if I don’t, it won’t happen. This may go against the true philosophy of wabi-sabi but, in the beginning at least, it’s the only way I’ll focus on the nature of sitting and observing the sunlight and life in general. It’s a little reminder to stop and smell the roses if you will.

“Wabi-sabi doesn’t mean settling for less than you deserve—and it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work to improve your situation,” says Erickson. “Instead it’s about balance and contentment rather than striving for the unattainable. It encourages us to accept our own flaws as well” (and in this case, my planner’s flaws, too).

This balance is something that I am constantly striving for in life. This article really struck a chord with me. It’s the first time I had heard of the wabi-sabi concept. It taught me that it’s okay that my life isn’t perfect, that the house isn’t as clean as it could be, that my planner isn’t as perfect as I would like it to be, that I don’t have control over everything. What is perfection anyway? The imperfection is what gives my life character. And though I often drive myself crazy with it, my Type-A personality and constant push for perfection and control make me who I am.

And that truly is okay.


  1. Great Blog!!
    It makes me think about how much I too drive myself crazy with my planner changes.
    From one brand to another, from one size to another, only realizing every time I change, I end up going to back to what I started with years ago.I'll now try to keep telling myself, it's OK not to be perfect, at least I now know someone else that realizes, like me, we are not as perfect as we would like to be, and that's OK.


Post a Comment