Yesterday I went to the city hall to do leg work for an article due on Thursday. It was a slow day, perhaps because it was already afternoon, and there’s none of the usual throngs that make the city hall look like a relief goods center everytime. I went to the Public Information Office to get a copy of a city ordinance. I talked to their head, and met some interns from the local public college (they were nice, but not dateable). I couldn’t believe I had to take out their copy of the six-page ordinance and photocopy it myself! Isn’t there a law requiring government offices to furnish anyone who requests copies of any government document for free? And even if there isn’t, I’m pretty sure our taxes should be able to cover photocopying and printing costs of our relatively small city hall.
It didn’t get me pissed off enough though, and I was still practically skipping on my out to interview local store owners about the city’s ban on plastics. In general the people were nice, and they were happy to give their two cents on the ordinance.
Then I went to the bookstore to buy a notebook (because it’s already December, and I have still been writing my notes on random pieces of paper I find in my bag). I don’t really understand all this rage about planners. There were at least three long tables in the main aisle of the bookstore heaped with planners of all colors and sizes, and I actually think that was just too much space for an item that shouldn’t really be necessary in this age of Facebook groups and Google docs. The worst thing about them is that they’re overpriced. I saw this very thin one by Stradmore –it couldn’t have been more than sixty leaves–with a faux denim cover and it was already priced at a hundred and ninety bucks! There was even this one that said “Executive Planner” on the cover and it was anything but “executive”: it’s got those atrocious icons for time, weather, and mood, at the top of every page, and the edges of the leaves are lined with that gold stuff you find in some Bibles! I mean, please, how desperate are these paper companies going to get to keep abreast of the planner hype?
And there are actually people who use special pens to write on them! That’s just really exaggerated. I mean, why won’t ordinary black ballpens do? I do recognize that color-coding can help in memory retention, but to write in neon orange and pink and green all in the same page? That will probably distract the reader than help them remember things.
It was then that I finally made a resolve not to buy any planner of any sort ever. And I’m listing down the three reasons why:
1. It’s grossly tedious. You’ll have to carry it around on top of your readings, notes and the occasional book, and you’ll also be forced to fill all those grids and boxes with entries. I can’t even sustain writing notes for a ninety-minute class.
2. It’s not environmentally friendly. Every whiff of that mint cover, be it leather or plastic or carton, masks the less desirable odor of considerable environmental costs, and at the time the planet is under so much strain the last thing we need is another piece of fancy paper to doodle on!
3. There are lots of other ways to keep track of your appointments and deadlines. I know someone who stick post-its in the cover of her notebook. Most phones and laptops now come with memo functions. Trusty old Google calendar is more than up to the task, and you’ll also be able to synch everything with your academic/work requirements. If you want that social network vibe then there is planner.zoho.com. Digital is the way to go!
But of course, to each his own, and almost a third of all the people I know use planners. They really do seem to work for some, and I guess as long as you know how to utilize anything efficiently, then all’s good. We have to remember, however, that it takes more than having a planner to rid ourselves of procrastination.