I have been having a slight planner crisis lately. Basically, I’ve been wanting to simplify my system, maybe make is smaller or thinner. After some contemplation, I’ve decided to stick with the Malden, at least for now.
However, I’m still having a problem with my planning regimen. Since the start of the year, I have been using all three insert formats (monthly, weekly and daily). This has worked very well for me. It allows for future planning as well as daily detailed information. The problem lies with when, where and how I plan.
I use the monthly pages for just about any kind of future planning. My work schedule is done on a monthly basis, so this format cannot be cut out. Plus, in trying to keep myself sane and not over schedule myself, I can easily see which weeks/weekends are too busy and pick one weekend a month just for me. When I get next month’s work schedule, I enter the hours I will work on my monthly inserts. Meetings will go here too, though just a mention that there is one—the time and details are listed only on my weekly pages since there is no room on the monthly pages for details.
This means that I also have to enter any work meetings on my weekly sheets. I do need these notations in both places in order to keep my mind together—knowing it exists while planning ahead with the monthly sheets and the details of where it will be held and the time on the weekly sheets. I have been doing it this way since I started using planners, so it’s not a big deal to do this.
The real issue is with my daily inserts. First, let me say that I love the two pages per day inserts. Thanks to Jotje for pointing me in their direction. There is plenty of room for my appointments, my food diary, my to-dos, and anything thing else of note I want to keep track of for that particular day.
Currently, my set up and planning is as follows:
On Sunday, I pull a week’s worth of daily sheets from my “Future Binder.” (At the same time, the past week’s sheets are pulled from the Malden and filed away.) I put them in a separate section in my Malden, behind the Diary tab but before my monthly sheets (which is followed by my weekly sheets). So basically they get their own temporary location until I need the exact day’s sheets. Each night I pull out the daily sheets for the next day (so on Sunday, I pull out the sheets for Monday). I then fill in the daily sheets with my work schedule, appointments, to-dos, and reminders. This is okay, but most of that information is already on my weekly sheet since I plan a week at a time. Anything that needs to be jotted down in regards to another day of the week is put on the weekly sheet and then transferred to the daily sheet when I do the detailed day planning the night before. This results in a lot of copying—and with digging for colored pens to complete the details, it’s been a little overwhelming. What once took me a few minutes is now taking longer and longer and just seems more complicated than it needs to be.
So I’ve been thinking about how to simplify and I have come up with a new plan. I will keep using my monthly sheets as I do now. For the most part, I will use my weekly sheets in the same way I do now. However, when I get next month’s work schedule I won’t add it to my weekly sheets (minus the meetings since they are usually scheduled more than a month ahead of time). I will enter it on the monthly sheets and the daily sheets. So I will pull out a month’s worth of daily sheets at a time. I probably won’t keep this many daily sheets in my Malden at a time though—I don’t want to create more bulk to cart around.
My weekly sheets will still be used for upcoming to-dos. Often times, I need to figure out what needs to be done when based on my weekly schedule, and this format helps me to do just that. But not entering my work schedule here will help me cut down on the amount of copying I do. Plus, while I keep a week’s worth of daily pages in my binder, they aren’t used until the night before. That’s going to change as well. I’m going to actually use the daily pages for the entire week, so any to-dos that come up during the week will go on the daily sheets rather than the weekly sheets (which will only end up transferred to the daily sheets anyway the night before). That’s another step cut out.
I have to say, though, that during this minor tweaking of the system (a simple feat, really), I was a bad girl. Again. Last week I came across this little gem from Plaiditude. I have seen these DayRunner daily sheets before—it’s nothing earth-shattering. But being the planner-envy person that I am, inserts always look so much better when someone else is using them. So of course I looked on the DayRunner website. And of course they were offering a discount when you purchase two items or more. So of course I purchased more than two items. I decided to get the DayRunner two pages per day inserts. But of course that one was no longer available for 2011. So I ended up ordering the Nature theme pages. I love the idea of a little flair on my pages, and while I love nature, I’m not one for my planner flair being flowery. However, the flair looks light enough that maybe it won’t be too girly. And because I’m OCD about some things, I had to look at the Nature weekly sheets. Not bad—in the cart they go. But wait! I can’t have DayRunner Nature weekly and daily pages while still using the Filofax monthly pages. Magically, DayRunner monthly pages ended up in my cart as well. I did break an OCD rule though, since the monthly pages are plain and not of the Nature theme. The reason for this is functionality—the nature sheets combine Saturday and Sunday days, whereas the plain sheets give each day their own space. This is a must for me.
Of course I could stick with the Filofax two pages per day setup. But what I like about the DayRunner sheets is where each section is located. There is a blank sheet on the right-hand side of the layout. Most of my daily writing is done in regards to my food dairy. I keep track of what time I ate what, what I did for exercise that day, how much water I’ve consumed, and the weather. Keeping these details on the right-side of the binder is a lot easier for me since I’m right-handed. With the Filo sheets, I keep these details on the right side of the left sheet, next to the appointment slots. The rings of the binder often get in the way. Doing it this way also doesn’t leave me a lot of room for appointment details. The DayRunner sheets should fix this issue.
So. My new little system will have great new pages to go along with it. Of course, I will let you know how that progresses once they’ve arrived and have been put into action…