Tuesday, December 22, 2009

9-5 Planner

There’s been a lot of talk over at the Philofaxy blog regarding planners used specifically for work. Many planner users have an A5 for work, while using a Personal or Pocket sized planner for their personal lives (or comparable sizes if they're using something other than Filofax planners). I am one of those people who use the personal size for my personal life, which, let’s face it, is more active than my work life as far as planning events in my Filo goes. My work life doesn’t require a Filofax. While I’m sure I could find many uses for one at work, I keep to a general monthly calendar – At-a-Glance’s Monthly Planner. There are a few reasons for this:

1. I work at a non-profit and while they do buy everyone a calendar every year, the cost must be kept to a minimum.

2. At work, I spend approximately 90% of my time in front of a computer. So I’ve been using my Google calendar to keep track of the few meetings and the many tasks and deadlines I have. It’s easy to just open my calendar at whatever computer I happen to be working at (parts of my job require me to be at different work stations), if not at my own desk.

3. I don’t go to many meetings (generally 4 a month at the most), so I don’t need to keep track of that many appointments for work.

4. At this point, I don’t have the kind of job where I have to make individual calls, supervise staff, etc. I do what I do, and while I keep track of what stage my projects are in, it only involves me for the most part, so I don’t need to keep detailed accounts of their progression.

5. My work stays at work. One of the things I love about my job is that I don’t have to think about it when I’m not there. I work my shift, do what I need to do, and leave it there when it’s time to go home. So keeping my work and personal life separate is easy to do. Plus, since they are separate entities, I don’t need any of my work information to come home with me.

Although I mainly use my Google calendar and tasks module for work, I also use the paper planner as an on-the-go or away-from-my-computer reference. When I am in meetings, we are not near computers and I need a calendar in front of my when talking about deadlines and such. So this comes in handy as well.

In my personal planner, I do keep track of my work meetings and any programs I am attending and/or teaching/hosting, but only to the point of listing them as appointments. The specifics of each of these are kept at work or in my Google calendar, which I can access from home should I need to. Keeping a tab on where I need to be at work in my personal planner allows me to know if I can plan something else that day or if I’m free at a particular time. My schedule also varies – it’s not a strict 9-5, Monday-Friday job, so I also keep track of when I’ve worked and what vacation time I’ve used in my personal planner, mainly because that’s the type of information I would need to access at home. Keeping my work appointments only in my personal Filo is more of a time management thing than keeping details of information.

I am surprised that so many of my colleagues don’t use a planner of any sort. Many of them have the At-a-Glance monthly calendar and probably keep track of their meetings in there, but no one uses planners along the lines of a Filofax or Franklin Covey system. And with the exception of a close friend of mine and myself, I don’t know that anyone uses one for their personal life either (although a few use an iPhone or BlackBerry). Are we in the minority there? Or, being as we don’t work in the kind of industry that requires such a system, do they feel they don’t need something like this to keep their lives in order? Maybe they use systems at home that I’m not aware of? I find this a very curious thing. Being as obsessed with calendars and planners as I am, I’d love to take a poll at work as to who uses what kind of calendar to keep their lives in check, but I think they would all find me a little nuts for even asking. I am glad to know though that there is a community of people out there who do understand. =)

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