Sunday, January 2, 2011

Planning My Plans

Reader Rori asked me how I do my weekly and daily planning.

My work schedule is done on a monthly basis. Typically, I know which days, evenings and weekend days I will work, but where I’ll be during my work hours is what is specifically scheduled on a monthly basis. I am a public librarian so my time is split between manning the reference desk and office time. We get our schedule for the upcoming month a week or so before it begins. Because it is done this way, it is necessary for me to look at my upcoming months in that format. When scheduling personal events, I tend to look at the monthly view first. I do this so that I don’t over-schedule myself for any particular weekend, especially when I’m working. Since working Sundays is currently done on a volunteer basis, I generally pick one during a weekend when I don’t have a lot going on (though in truth they have to be chosen so far in advance that I don’t usually have much planned at that point anyway), and seeing my time in the monthly format helps a lot with that. So once I get the following month’s schedule, I add it to my planner, both in the monthly layout and the weekly. It’s double the work, but I have to have all of my appointments in both places so that nothing is overlooked. The monthly layout is mainly just a notation of where I’ll be on any given day. Details as to when and where and the like are put in the weekly view only. Once my work schedule is in my planner, I add it to my Google Calendar as well.

Just a quick note regarding my Google Calendar: I don’t rely on it solely. Mainly I use it as an on-the-go tool because I can sync and access it with and from my iPod Touch. It’s rare that I’m without my planner, but on those occasions, it’s nice to know that I can still access my schedule if need be. I also share my Google Calendar with my husband so that he knows where I’ll be at any given time. It also keeps him aware of what we have planned together on any given day, since he’s inclined to forget those things.

Each week, usually on Sunday evening, I look at the week ahead. I schedule my exercise routines then, which mainly depend on what I have scheduled for the days during the week. I also schedule any trips to the store or a visit with my mother. All of the items I schedule on Sunday evenings are movable items and so I put them where I can depending on my work and personal schedules. I pull out daily sheets for the week and add them to my planner. The past week’s daily sheets are then put into my archival binder, which is the same binder where I keep upcoming daily sheets (more on that in my next post). I will add my appointments and relative to-do items to the daily sheets so that they are all set for the week ahead. I’ll mainly use these throughout the given week, rather than the weekly sheets. The weekly sheets are used for future planning. I like to see my upcoming weeks at a glance, but for any week that I’m currently in, the daily sheets work better because there is more room for more information. After all that is done, I will skim through my weekly sheets and see what needs to be added to my Google Calendar. I put a check mark next to items that I’ve already added to the Google Calendar. Since I only do this once a week, if something is added to the planner during the week, it doesn’t get added to Google until the next time it is updated. The check marks help me to know that something is already in there so that I don’t waste my time repeatedly double checking items. Likewise, if something is unchecked, I know it needs to be added. Also, I know that if I remove something from my planner, I know whether or not is also needs to be removed from the Google Calendar. The check marks only appear on the weekly layout.

Each night before I go to bed, I look at my daily sheets and see what was accomplished and if anything needs to be moved to the next or a different day. I also set up the next day’s sheets with categories that I’ll need to fill in once the next day has begun. For example, the night before, I’ll add “Weather” to my daily sheet, as well as “Water” and “Exercise.” Once the next day has begun, I will add what the weather is, how much water I consumed (this is added as I refill my water bottle), and what exercise I completed. Adding these categories the night before helps me to remember to add these items during the next day. And looking at my completed daily sheet for the ending day reminds me to add those categories to the next day. Again, it’s a little more work than I need to do, but it doesn’t take long (maybe 2 – 3 minutes) and the pay-off is greater for me in the end.

That’s about it. Anything else that needs to be added in my planner is done so on an as-needed-basis. I hope that answers the question, Rori. =)

8 comments:

  1. Wow that is detailed. It sounds like it works really well for you, though. I've always just used weekly pages but I do like the idea of having a week's worth of dailies in there at a time!

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  2. Ah someone who uses their Filofax as the designer intended it to be used....with respect to your planner pages

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  3. Alannarama - The week's worth of dailies really cuts down on the bulk of the binder. But I also need that weekly view, so using the two does indeed work well for me.

    Steve - I'm intrigued. What am I doing that corresponds with intention of inserts? Looking forward to that post.

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  4. You are not aware of it, but you and I just shared a coffee break with a delicious cappucchino, LOL.

    Thanks for this (and the previous) post! I like the "checking" system to prevent you from doublechecking if you have already transfered an item. I think I'll adopt this, because I also have to keep our family calendar up-to-date. And I absolutely love those hotlists. I have bookmarked an ebay shop who sells these, but so far I haven't come up with a really proper use for them. I keep the weekly todo list in the Notes section on the bottom of my weekly pages.

    I'm looking forward to your post on archiving!

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  5. Jotje, I love coffee breaks and fancy coffees, so yes, we did. Yum!

    Glad my checking system inspired you. I love the hot sheets. It took me a while to figure out a use for them also. Everything I have on it really could go on my to-do eventually list, but out of sight, out of mind for me. So it's really a list of things I want to get to sooner rather than later. Having it front of me helps to remember to schedule and item when I have some free time.

    Working on the archiving post now...

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  6. WOW! Thank you for this post. It was really helpful! You should give workshops online, I'd sign up right away. I like to know how people plan, and I so need the inspiration; I am at a grinding halt this new year for some reason...my new planner lies blank :(

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  7. Thanks Rori - I'm glad it helped. I love to organize so if you need inspiration or a push, let me know and I'm happy to help. =)

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  8. Didn't see your comment until today. Thanks so much! Going to re-read the post, see if I can make some progress!

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