For the past few days I have been feeling Planner Fail. I know a lot of other people have been feeling the same- a general dissatisfaction with their planner, and uncertainty how to solve it.
Since mid-August I have been using a hacked Organised Mum diary, which is Week on 1 Page with Notes. It has been working well for me, because until mid-September I had very little to plan day-to-day, and now since then, I have been using it for forward planning and a weekly over-view, putting my weekly to-do list on the notes page on the left.
I don't have a lot to write on the diary page on the right, and during the current week, I won't write anything extra on that week's diary page, because I use other, additional pages for the current week. I then use the spaces for each day as a space for a little log book and journal, which is working really well for me!
I can't possibly use the WO1P as my main planning space, so I utilise other diary pages along with them. I either insert these pages in between the notes page on the left, and the WO1P on the right, or I put the WO1P/notes back-to-back in between the extra pages.
I have been trying to plan my time better, so for a while (7th Oct to 21st Oct) I used DPP as my extra diary pages with the WO1P plus notes. In the left column, I put appointments (although I don't have many of those at the moment), or try to block off my time so that I can organise my day better, assigning myself time to do the things I need to. On the right, I list my to-dos, maybe some quick notes, and my priorities for the day. I colour-code to make things easier to organise in my head.
A typical couple of days.
The weekends are more difficult- the 2 days are divided over 1 page, and the appointment times aren't there so I have to write them in myself. After that, there's not much time to write to-dos!
This is my most successful and productive day- this is what I'd love every day to look like!!
But that's the problem- most days don't look like this; I'm not using the DPP inserts to their full capacity.
Some days I don't plan in advance, or I don't need that amount of space. The majority of days I used the DPP inserts, I either didn't stick to the time slots I had made for myself, or the entire day was blank because I hadn't forward-planned, so instead of having a big blank space, I just went to fill in what I had already done, so it's nothing more than a detailed log-book. And on days where I have been lazy, on my computer all day, there isn't anything to write, reaffirming my laziness and making me feel guilty!! I'm not using the DPP inserts properly, although all-in-all, they are probably my favourite format and I think they have great promise if you use them well!
This is where my massive planner-fail started! I wanted to use something different than DPP. Something that wouldn't be left so empty on my less-productive days, but would still have enough space for my busy days. It's just like that conundrum between personal and A5 filofaxes- people want the space of the A5 binders, but the portability of the personal-sized binders- I want a lot of space that comes with the DPP, but a smaller, more practical insert like WO2P. But one is too big, and the other is too small!
After some testing of other formats (Day Timer Flavia WO2P, home-made WO2P columns with appointment slots), I decided on Cotton Cream WO2P. They have equal space for all the days of the week, so the weekend slots aren't teeny-tiny! I inserted the Organised Mum diary/notes page in between the 2 pages of the week, which works quite well.
I have tried to use WO2P before, but my brain NEEDS my daily things to be structured more linearly, which is why the time slots of the DPP work so well for me. But this page is much too-unstructured for me- everything I write down seems to float around the page. I have tried to make it a bit more structured by designating areas for specific things (top-right for priorities, bottom-right for TV progs. to watch), but it's still not perfect.
So now that I've gone from the overly-structured (DPP), to under-structured (WO2P), I know that I need something between the two. But this goes to more than just what planner format I use, but how I use it, and how I manage my time, which is something I am trying to improve.
I need appointment slots, preferably with half-hour slots, because a few of the shifts in my new job start on the half-hour. I would like them to go from 8am to 6pm minimum, although later into the evening would be ideal. And I need a bit of space for to-dos etc. BUT I don't want too much space. What would be a good idea is a system where I can have a weekly overview, then I can add extra space when needed. For example: WO1P or WO2P for the weekly overview, and for the less busy days, but a range of inserts I can add as necessary for more busy days, such as 2DPP, DPP or even DO2P. I am happy to make these myself. But I think that might get too messy for me- I think a regular weekly system would be better, where I have the same inserts every week, but it still has the flexibility I need.
I am thinking of a format where I can have a weekly overview with appointment slots on the left, then a page on the right for to-dos. A column on the right-hand page to write down a deadlines for these to-dos, and using post-it flags to show priorities. But I don't know if this will work at all!
Do you guys have any ideas for me?