At the end of July I began to put the the Life Noted planner through its paces. Today I have many more thoughts and opinions than I did three months ago! I like it and am pleased to see companies innovating and adapting to changing needs. I found that this format fixes some things that haven’t worked for me with the Principal.
It’s not perfect, but neither am I.
This post will explain things I love, things I wish to change, and how I use it throughout the week.
3 things I love about the Life Noted planner
Month View: I really love having a month view as an integrated part of the book. It’s simple and there’s space to write other things I want to record. I appreciate the consistent Monday start on both month & week pages and that key holidays are included and unobtrusive.
Equal size day boxes: Let me repeat that: every day has the same size box. This means that the the “flow” of the week is Monday – Thursday on one page and Friday – Sunday on the other. This fits with how I work and the rhythm of my week. For contrast, the Principal splits it Monday – Wednesday, Thursday – Saturday, and a tiny Sunday.
Todo list boxes for time blocks: This was a surprise for me. I have repurposed the four check boxes as key focus for my work-day time blocks (two hour slots 8-10, 10-12, 1-3, and 3-5.). I like to see how well I do on keeping to that part of my week’s plan.
3 things I want to change about the Life Noted planner
The Coil: This is something I could change today if I felt a strong desire to do so, but I’m determined to try and work with it. I detest the coil binding. Yes, this means it lays flat. However, it adds a slight bulk that is results in my leaving the planner on my desk and I only use it there. If you don’t like it either, coil-less options are available at Barnes & Noble! I found one in a store and determined I like it better, but not enough to buy another one.
Find the month: I find it challenging to find the month pages amid the week pages. I’m not sure if there is feasible way to address this, however it’s not a big issue — I found a solution that solves it for me. I added flags to each month page, they stick out a little bit from the edge so I know where to turn. I also placed a brass page marker on the current month.
Time schedule: I miss having the time block schedule that is in the Principal. I often fill it up with postit notes as I map out the time arc of my week.
The first few weeks
In the beginning I tried to mimic the same way I used the Principal. That didn’t feel right to me.
My next attempt was very detailed with my icon task entry. I wrote too much and duplicated too much of my electronic task system.
A week with my Life Noted week planner
It begins with a cup of tea.
I add in the things I know about — recycling schedule, appointments, blog post topics.
Then I add in other important things that need extra reminders (such as medicating foster kittens).
I use whatever pen comes to hand. Standardizing on black makes that easy.
Events I don’t attend or tasks I no longer need to do are struck out. On occasion I use correction tape, if I made an error not that something was cancelled.
For the curious, a dot ( · ) is a task, a circle ( ○ ) is an event (à la bullet journal), and X or ( ● ) means it’s completed. My system differs from there — I use a / as I begin work on a task and > if I purposely reschedule it. The dots ( · ) and ( / ) that are left at the end of a day mean I didn’t work on them or they weren’t completed.. This helps me during my Friday review so I can evaluate the why things didn’t happen. Sometimes I’ll sketch in tasks for the next week during this review session.
First, I’m sure you may be wondering where is my beloved Principal? As I expected maintaining two planners in parallel was a pain. It comes out each Friday during weekly review and I use it more as a journal of that week. It also gives me a space to doodle, I miss doing it every day, so we’ll see how that practice evolves.
I was surprised how much I like using this format to plan the arc of my week. It took some trial and error to figure out how I wanted to add things to the page, but now I like it. Why? I’m no longer trying to do a zillion things on Monday (er most Mondays) but instead using the entire week. It’s become an integrated part of my work. It now has my highest honor — I don’t think about it anymore, I trust it enough that I can use it.
Many thanks to Exaclair for providing a review copy of the Life Noted planner (the FTC wants you to know).