Planner, diaries, lists

I’m really loving my 2020 planner. I bought it in America.

I’m not getting much use out of the German Bullet Diary, the one I bought in Germany – but I kind of knew that’d be the case. Those formulaic pages that make you record things you wouldn’t normally record and write down what’s important in your life in little bubbles never work for me. Actually when I say I’m not getting much use, I’m really not using it at all.

But the week to a page diary/planner works.

I like lists. I like ticking and crossing items off lists.

I hate mind maps. They are so messy. How can you ever work out what to do?

I’ve never been a neat, artistic, decorate-the-page kind of diary person. Quick scribbled lists are me. All over the page.

Problem with a day-to-a-page diary is my time is often so busy and consumed by work that I have more things to do than time to do them. Conversely, on other days I am so lazy and a master at procrastination that tasks don’t get done on the day I write them down. So I am either forgetting items as I turn the page or rewriting lists.

Having a week to a page gives me time to get tasks ticked off before I have to write them again – if they still matter. And I can plan the week out with things that need doing earlier or things that can be pushed back to the end of the week.

But it isn’t a matter of just having a week to a page.

This diary has space to write notes. You know when you have to write something down, like the details from the car mechanic, or the type of makeup someone recommends, or the menu for a BBQ or travel details. Or mortgage and bank balances. Anything that strikes your fancy.

And it has a specific To Do list with a circle to tick off. (Although I like the double check to be sure – a tick and a strike through.)

I use Microsoft Office for appointments. I have to manage my many work commitments and use Microsoft at work, allowing my assistant to see when I am not available. It syncs with my phone so entering personal dates and appointments means I can manage work and personal appointments. Also I look at my phone frequently and, at work, Office is open on my desktop the whole day so it is the most user-friendly option for managing appointments for me during term.

On holidays, I don’t use the Microsoft calendar, except for maybe entering hair dresser appointments on my phone. Holidays are when I use a personal paper diary. With this diary I get a week overview so can plan the days I am not travelling!

And while staying home in lock-down isolation, we still have tasks or chores. The planner is better than having pieces of paper everywhere with lists of jobs; paper that goes missing and turns up months later; paper that adds to clutter everywhere.

And the planner is the perfect size for home use. Not so small I have to use teeny tiny writing. Thin enough that it sits flat open and doesn’t weigh a tonne.

See why I’m loving it? It’s perfect. Mr S is jealous. He wants one with the same double spread.

Have you found the perfect planner?

9 thoughts on “Planner, diaries, lists

  1. I could use your new planner – I like the layout too. I bought a filofax page a day diary insert last year (discounted of course as they are very pricey) but found that I prefer to see a week at once so went back this year to that format but mine is laid out differently to yours – yours is much better.
    I smiled at the point you make about mindmaps – my DH is a mindmap person – I do lists – I look at his mindmap and cannot make any sense of them – he looks at a list and feels the same. Somehow we muddle along and when we are working on a joint project for the house or packing etc he turns my list into a mindmap – I can’t even get that far as I cannot decipher a mindmap to turn it into a list!!

    • There’s this whole push in teaching problem solving and creativity, that focuses on mindmaps. I hate it.

      I have also eschewed the week to a page where they have Monday to Wednesday on one side and Thursday to Sunday on the other, with the weekend only getting half size of the other days. No place for lists and only a little rectangle for notes at the bottom. You know the layout? Hate them. Useless for me. Presumes I do a task on a particular day. And what about notes. Like details of a concert or gifts or recipe or address?

      • You have described my layout and it is not that useful – yours is so much better – I might make my own filofax one for next year based on your layout – perfect for me too.

  2. Mindmaps look like a spider work zone. No thanks.

    My planner is based on a modified version of bullet journaling (minus the decorative display) in a blank Leutc. dotted book with no specific headers. This method was very useful in the years before retirement when juggling multiple grant deadlines, tracking steps to completion of proposals, scheduling (dreaded) meetings, as well as completing all the tasks involved in gathering info for daily, weekly, monthly and annual financials were my responsibility. Notes could be written up as needed each day so never had to worry about running out of space if it required multiple pages. Still use this type of planner in retirement but obviously without the chaos/pressure of the work environment (don’t miss it).

    • I’ve thought about using a planner like that, and tried at home, just doesn’t work for me. At work, notes in my diary are generally brief. If minutes are kept, they are filed separately. I know I won’t miss it when I retire either.

  3. You found a great solution! I use Outlook for work only – like you, my Outlook is open all day. I enter personal appts in my phone. I finally decided to keep a page-a-day planner as well. I use it only for recording things I’ve already done, so it serves as a record of my work and personal “accomplishments.” I make personal to-do lists in the reminders app on my phone; for work to-do lists, if the task is important enough, I schedule it. If not – a post-it on my desk! And everything completed goes in the planner.

    • I have to keep a record, or file note, of things done as reminders or evidence. Eg parent X phoned re Y. And also to remind me should something come up. I’m often saying “I’m sure I’ve dealt with that” and then checking my diary for a phone call or checking Outlook for emails sent. I have to keep separate my personal and work diaries. I know if cases where the diary of people in my position has been called for in court in cases.

      I still have this desire to master a bullet diary, but I think it is just not me. Not enough structure.

      • My workplace provides free planners but I don’t accept one. I figure if I buy my own, it is my personal property. My work email, calendar and files are the property of my employer.

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