planner status, December 2016 edition

estimated 5 min read

I’ve received many messages over the past few weeks, “What are you using in 2017?” and until last week my response was, “I don’t know yet”. I’ve decided and my solution may surprise you. This post will cover the current system, the proposed system, and how I’m using the notebooks. It is a long post so I decided to split it into two parts with another post next week covering the smallest of the notebooks.

Current planner system, December 2016

  • Quo Vadis Principal® Academic Year planner: weekly planning, time blocking, and … daily log-journal
  • A5 Muji Monthly notebook.
  • Clairefontaine A5 grid clothbound notebook: client/project work log
  • A6 grid notebook: todo list, daily punch list, and meal planning.
  • an inexpensive composition book: for brainstorming

Proposed planner system, January 2017

The same as I’m currently using, that’s a very nice feature of using an Academic year planner!

As the current log books fill, I will switch in new ones. This is the last of the A6 notebooks I purchased in Budapest this summer, so I’ll switch to the easier to acquire Muji A6 grid. When the client/project log is full I will upgrade to a different Clairefontaine A5 grid, but I can’t talk too much about that new import yet.

Really, no changes?

Ok, the biggest change over the past few weeks was to finally work out a system for identifying tasks that are personal, PennyWise Consulting, and little acorn creations. I tried quite a few things the past few months. Different colour pens, markers, and brush pens. The colours I mentally identify with each business don’t work very well on paper as they are similar in tone. As expected the solution was simple and is effective in monochrome or colour.

The Shape System

I chose shapes to represent each. Oh simplicity, you make my heart sing. It’s easy. A square shape represents PennyWise Consulting. It’s similar to the current logo so there’s consistency. little acorn creations is a triangle, let’s say I chose it as it is close in shape to a capital A. Finally, personal is a circle, I draw them in a way similar to how I write the Hebrew letter פ, the first letter in my name. (I used a פ for a long time but this is easier). Books are represented by a diamond. This is where I really like this simple outline system. Just the shape means a task (or a book I want to read). A dot in the middle indicates that I’m working on it, ⟐. A fully shaded shape ◆, means the task is completed. Wow. That makes it sound much more complicated than it is.

What about the Hobonichi?

I really enjoyed it, but I used a considerable amount of budget on notebooks and planners in 2016. So much so I spent into my 2017 budget, so unfortunately I’ll have to skip for next year.

How I use the Quo Vadis Principal® Academic Year planner

It took me a while to figure out this new-format-to-me planner. I think I’ve finally settled into it, and I am not using it at all as I expected. The biggest change was when I realized I could, thanks to correction tape, switch Saturday and Sunday. Once I got used to seeing the planner this way, I no longer notice the somewhat the odd order to my week.

example of PSG mods to Quo Vadis Principal planner page

I’ve tried using printed labels to pre-populate routine tasks, but I found I actually like the process of writing it out by hand. I no longer try to track all the routine tasks in my notebooks. To my surprise I found two android apps that work well enough for me and I’m happy enough with them that I now track this digitally.

Instead of using the task sections for phone calls, emails, and notes I use these sections for big-topic work items. Here I record a blog post & its general topic, themes for what I want to photograph and post to social media, and when trash/recycling pickup is.

In the schedule area I write out my time blocks. While I have a weekly master plan, I found it is easier to sketch it in during my morning planning session.

The open expanse, solved

The middle area perplexed me for a while. The lines bothered me. I tried splitting it into 4 sections with the fourth as household projects, and tried to use the tasks as intended. That didn’t go well. I finally decided to use it as I was using the Hobonichi … as a sort of “diary/journal” … with doodles! I record the weather with windchill. I keep track of what I drink during the day as I am skilled at being dehydrated. Oh, the water drop with the 3 small circles? I decided that is how I’ll designate seltzer. We drink liters of seltzer.

It feels really good to doodle freely.

It works out because I don’t need to doodle and draw all the time, and the space was begging for use. The lines (which are faint in my photocopy) no longer bother me and I find them useful to help size my coffee & tea mugs.

What about that small A6 book?

Next week I’ll write about how I’ve sectioned the notebook and how I learned that no matter where I write daily tasks, writing them all down in one list while my coffee or tea cools.

Want more planning?

On the PennyWise Consulting blog yesterday I announced a new project I’m developing, but I need your help.

I received my QuoVadis Principal® planner from Karen at Exaclair, the FTC wants you to know.