The Unanticipated Journey and Roots of Planner Boot Camp



Here is a bit of the back-story if  you are wondering what all the talk about Planner Boot Camp is… You might want to grab a cuppa for this post. It’s a long one. But, well worth your time. Trust me.

During 2014 I connected with  my first Facebook Group of Planner People, and let me tell you I felt like I had come home! If you do not know what Planner People are, imagine a cross between Belle (Beauty and The Beast) and Rabbit (Winnie the Pooh). Because Planner People usually have their nose in a book, and are planning and tracking everything under the sun that can possibly be planned or tracked. 

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Prior to this, the only Facebook Groups I knew about were groups for Christian Writers. As usual, nose down in my book, I’d yet to discover a whole world of Planner (AND Journal)  lovers who would prompt me along a path I had not anticipated. And it was not even into the Twilight Zone (add macabre music here). Who knew there were so many people who were psychotic loved planners as much as I did? I honestly was oblivious.

I discovered people who immediately knew what it meant to pet, sniff, coddle and be enamored with a notebook -which basically housed a calendar.

Now, I know what you’re thinking…who needs more distractions or even another group of relationships to maintain, life is busy enough. Well, I have to say, these new planner pals became like chocolate on a bad day  during a year that held much personal pain. They were the sweet diversion that kept me going and not consumed by some challenging circumstances. We laughed together through Skype, E-mail exchanges and Facebook Chats and I was egged on in making a multitude of Planner Videos (@70) of random coffee chats on You Tube. There were surprises awaiting me in my snail mail mailbox in the form of stationary, journals and planner goodies and gifts. None of this was planned…or expected. For those who believe the internet is evil, I say, God used it to keep me alive as I struggled with depression in the face of injury and job loss in 2011 (with blogging community) and then again in 2014 in light of the adversity during that time of seemingly endless trials (with the Facebook Group and YouTube community).

When October’s 31 Day Writing challenge (Write 31 Days) came around and I pondered what to write, I knew there was no question. I wanted to give something of me back for the friendship and camaraderie I had experienced when I first stumbled into the planner world via one little pink planner purchased at Staples and a Facebook Group! Planning with Purpose was born and I poured out and shared my planner thoughts, insights and journey.

Having taught my last local Fitness Boot Camp 2013 left a coaching sized hole in my life (apparently) and I needed new victims students to encourage, motivate and train. It seemed obvious, that my planner pals would be the perfect candidates guinea pigs. Planner Boot Camp was birthed and my goal was to whip my plannerly pals into tip-top shape for the New Year starting up in November 2014, but on October 31st, the last day of the Write 31 Days challenge, my plans were derailed when I encountered an unexpected setback in the form of a car accident.

The first Planner Boot Camp finally was able to come together in January of 2015, later than I had planned, but beyond what I had anticipated. Ninety-Seven planner pals made the deadline and enrolled in PBC. I had planned on or figured 25-30, maybe 50 at most.

I had not planned on it being formal, just an extension of  the sharing I did with my planner pals on the Facebook Group at the time. OH, well. As my favorite Jewish client and friend past used to say, “Man plans, and God laughs.” To which I would add, lovingly- God may laugh in His all knowingness, but it is a loving laugh, friends. He is NOT vindictive. I believe we roll with what we get. So roll we did, and roll will we again!


The second round of Planner Boot Camp is about to begin, and it has already presented its own challenges. But, life infrequently offers up a truly clean agenda. It is in the crazy of the day we live life, love others, and experience the fullness of whatever the season brings us. With this in mind, we press on, and do the next things He gives us to do.

During the last PBC I wrote once a week on the blog about the topic of planning (with purpose).  Planner Boot Camp itself, is not done through the blog. Last year I shared through my personal e-mail. This year it (by the grace of God and a touch of luck) will be going through an E-Mail Server (Mail Chimp or other).

So where has this not-so-long, strange trip led me?

  1. I have been revising the E-book for publication. (Still… slowly…plugging…tell me to hurry up already!)
  2. We have a Facebook Group of our own which is managed by my lovingly named Three Plannerteers (just added that term to the dictionary!): Christa, Kate and Christine.
  3. We have just established our email as
  4. We have an inspiring printable and loads of other inspiration coming for participants, some from other participants.


Most of all PBC is a labor of love, an ongoing journey which continues to be molded to what it will be.

Our community is powered by grace and truth, characterized with kindness and humor, and sprinkled with discipline in all the right places.

All this to say when PBC is in session…there are specific instructions to be followed. Boot Camp is like that, and when the Bootcamper does not follow the protocol/expectation they may stay in the community but do give up their place in the current round of PBC.

Last round started with 97 Boot campers and 77 graduates were able to comply and complete all the requirements. There is no shame if it turns out this is not the right time or it does not feel like a good endeavor for you, although we hope it will be. I really don’t care about the numbers accepting that no Bootcamper gets left in the barracks that wants to be here. I am happy to have a small group who encourage, edify and build up one another than a growing group of faceless followers.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you something isn’t personal. I worked in Personal Training in gyms, and private homes for 30ish years. I’ve trained many trainers as well as clients.  Everything is personal. I refuse to buy into the message of the world which makes products of people, and views people as products.

It’s all personal. So be careful out there…in what you say and do. Because it is all personal and we bring who we are to the table when we put ourselves out there. No matter what you think, people are both fragile AND resilient. But most are probably fighting some battle you know nothing about. Don’t believe that it’s not personal.

It’s all personal.

I want to thank my planner pals for being a source of encouragement when they didn’t even know it and for being a blessing. As you have been to me, may Planner Boot Camp be to you.

*The 2nd Official Planner Boot Camp begins November 1 with the First Roll Call going out this weekend. Enrollment is being finalized. If you miss the enrollment this round, we will be rolling out Round Three in Spring 2016.

For the original  31 Days of Planning with Purpose Series ; For more about Planners and Planning; For some testimonies of participants in the First Official Boot Camp, check out the PBC page. I have temporarily re-publicized some of the You Tube Videos that are linked to posts if you want to see my kind of crazy.

Published by enthusiasticallydawn

Dawn Paoletta is the author of Journaling for Discovery and Delight. Her writing is included in several anthologies and her poems have been included in the Wickford Poetry and Art Exhibit and Books. Dawn is currently working on her next book. Inquiries at

11 thoughts on “The Unanticipated Journey and Roots of Planner Boot Camp

  1. Amazing Dawn! So happy to read what Planner Boot Camp was all about. I hope to make the Spring one! My little planner you sent me is still going strong in my life & has saved my mind!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for also being one of those planner angels out there to me as they were for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are such a jewel. 🙂 I am so happy I somehow bumped into you, and stayed around to watch your “coffee chats “. Those are some hours of my life I will never get back ! and I’ m glad. 🙂 Looking forward to PBC !!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Um…what exactly is involved in planner bootcamp? I managed to lose my bullet journal so am beginning to put together another one. Could the two things go together?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Stacy, I am hoping to show my set up today on Periscope or You Tube and I am using the Bullet Journal as well. You could. Really.! I have been playing with the Bujo since end of September and have set up my November full swing! I actually showed, Ryder’s video to my hubby last night as I think it might seduce him into the planner world and ways…lol.


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