I loved and hated that brown leather daily planner in equal measure.

I’m not sure why-perhaps I hated it because my father told me I had to carry and use it. That, and the fact that I never thought I had anything important enough to write in it. It looked important though, so I loved it too much to record unimportant information in it. Ultimately I did carry it with me, but it sadly remained as empty as the day it was bought.

My father, though, was another story–he always carried a cheap little vinyl-covered pocket calendar with him, which was invariably bursting at the seams with notes, papers, business cards, appointments, and the occasional breathmint. When a colleague would ask him a question, I would watch with a sort of awe as The Calendar would be opened, and it nearly always contained the needed answer.

Recently as I was thumbing through the calendar widget on my phone though, it struck me–to my father, the little daily planner he carried was as indispensable as my smart phone is to me. With that simple realization, my own daily frustrations suddenly became clear.  You see, I am a cheater!

By nature I am one of the more disorganized and procrastination-prone people you are likely to meet.  I hate deadlines, and get most of my best work done under the shadow of impending disaster. My memory for tasks and schedules is terrible, which means I tend to have trouble following through on projects. So….I cheat. I set reminders. I snooze emails until later. I take pictures of things I want to remember. I look for ways to use technology to overcome my own weaknesses.  And up until recently, I assumed I was the only one who needed to do that.

The truth is, we all cheat!

The truth is, we all cheat. We put notes on the fridge. We schedule wakeup calls at the hotel. We hire secretaries. We write things on our calendar. Even the President of the United States needs a Chief of Staff to keep him on track. We each see our own flaws and limits, and have to take responsibility to overcome them. With this understanding, life becomes less about whether we measure up to someone else’s abilities, and instead becomes a lifelong process to live each day better than the day before.

Over the next few posts, I hope to share with you some of my favorite cheating tools. Because maybe–just maybe–it’s not actually cheating after all.