Title: Planner Perfect
Author: Jenny Penton
Publication Date: May 17, 2012
Place Acquired: Ultimate Homemaking eBook Bundle
About the author: Jenny is a homeschooling mom of 8 who, while growing up, watched her mother’s diligent use of a planner. Her mom’s use of a planner to manage her home and plan her life’s goals and dreams inspired Jenny to create a system that worked for her own life to help her manage her home and life. Jenny’s passion is “to inspire women to live with purpose and intent; switching focus from task slave to goal aficionado.”
Describe: The first few chapters of her book are not about how to create a system for yourself but rather about recognizing the need you have for a system in your life. She explains about setting up a special place for yourself to plan and dream and then goes on to explain how God put those plans and dreams in to your heart to pursue. Then comes the more technical section of the book dedicated to how to use loose leaf to capture your dreams, track your goals, and plan your projects. She gives tips on how to plan parties, vacations, how to plan the perfect Christmas, and more. The last portion of her book is dedicated to examples of how to set up the different pages to keep your life in check as well as how to use a journal and meal planner.
Analyze: As I read this book several months ago and have since set up my own home management binder, I did not expect to glean a lot of new information. The reason I chose to read this again was because of a couple of posts I read on Jenny’s blog about how she is unschooling her children. I could relate to her as a fellow unschooling mom who enjoys having a plan and a bit more structure to the home than some other unschooling blogs I have come across. After gaining some insight about Jenny’s life and family, I was able to take fresh eyes to this book. I took a page and a half of notes. That’s a lot considering the book is 48 pages long (according to my ereader) and can easily be read in one sitting (assuming you don’t have little ones interrupting, which I did so it took me a couple of evenings). It was so full of information and ideas that I think I could read it a third time and still come away learning something.
Evaluate: It’s about more than staying organized. It’s also about being refreshed and inspired every day. It is about allowing yourself to recognize and grasp those dreams that God placed in you and then setting a plan in motion to accomplish them. “Once you are a true “Planner Perfect Gal,” you will soar!” There are a lot of methods out there that will tell you what to do, but not many help you figure out why you’re doing it in the first place. Anyone who knows me likely knows how much I value a slower-paced life to help you stay on track with your priorities and Jenny’s book has some wonderful explanations of why and how to accomplish this. There are so many different books, articles, and blogs out there on the “how” and yet so few truly help you figure out your “why.” Planner Perfect encompassed the whole journey from telling you why a plan is important, to helping you figure out the direction your plan should take, to giving you the tools you need to get there.
Recommendation: While I haven’t adopted the complete Planner Perfect system, I have made use of many of the techniques and ideas in the book. I think there is something special about giving yourself permission to dream and plan and put it all on paper. Plus, since I’m rather frugal, I appreciate the fact that she encourages the use of loose leaf (especially considering I just bought several packages for 15 cents each at Walmart a few weeks ago during their “back to school” sale). Organizing tasks is easy and any old planner system can do that. If you have tried other systems and became bored or distracted, or even if you have never tried a planner/binder system at all, check out this book and give yourself a kick start by starting up your dream engine again. Once you have your motivation and mission, you’ll find that the tasks start to fall into place.