Sunday, 27 May 2012

Small change in my filofax, big difference

I have been muttering about “approaching planner fail” for a while, coming to the conclusion that:
a) I was being distracted by a colour clash in the diary (cream and purple not working so well)
b) I wasn’t using Miss Aston properly
c) I was being distracted by Mr Holborn

I finally decided that I would use Miss Aston until 31st May and then switch to Mr Holborn. So, with only a week to go, am I impatient to make the switch??

Er… no.

I know, fickle female and all, but, I made one smallish change to Miss Aston and as a result, things are working again. What did I do??
I made a new diary for myself and printed it on white paper and stopped using the 2DPP I had made myself.

Okay, I realise that might not have enough detail for some of you, so here’s a compare and contrast of the Old System and the New System:

Old System:
A list of projects, broken down into ‘Next actions’.
A list of other (non-project based) to-do on a giant, largely unsorted list in front of the project sheets.
A year of monthly goals sheets
A few months of weekly goals sheets
Almost a year of WO2P
A week of 2DPP

In my weekly review, I would (along with reviewing and reflecting on the past week):
1) take out the used 2PPD sheets and file or bin them
2) add a new week’s worth of 2PPD sheets
3) transfer scheduled things from the WO2P to the 2DPP
4) add things from the next action lists/monthly goals sheets to my weekly goals sheet

Each morning I was at home (rather than at work), I would plan what I was doing in the day, moving things from the weekly list onto the 2DPP sheet into timed slots. If I thought I would have time, I would also schedule other things to clear off my giant to-do list.

Advantages of this system:
I knew what I was supposed to be doing all the time.
Lots of things got done.

Disadvantages of this system:
Miss Aston was a little plump.
I felt like my free time wasn’t really free, but planned to death.
Although I liked my home-designed 2DPP sheets and WO2P sheets, I hated the colour paper I was using. I also couldn’t work out how to orientate the 2DPP – time and tasks facing each other (making a day span two separate sheets in the filofax) or a single page covering a day (times on one side, tasks on the other). I liked to have them facing one another, but then didn’t like the fact that a day was split over different sheets of paper.
[in my personal size filofax this isn’t a problem as I use DPP not 2DPP but in the personal, that was too small]

My new system has such a small tweak, yet has moved me from being close to planner fail to now being happy with my set-up. I adapted the Advanced TM week to view for pocket size from the Philofaxy site, to halve the number of tasks and add in a Coming Up section (although the Coming Up is hand-written in the picture below, it's now been incorporated into the file!). Incidentally, my life really isn't this empty - I just chose empty weeks to photograph, so I didn't have to pixilate sensitive/private stuff!
Click on any picture to enlarge.

New diary format - amended TM from Philofaxy.

Old WO2P diary - cream-coloured paper clash!

Old 2PPD
New system:
Projects to next action sheets (as before)
To-do sheets (as before)
A year of monthly goals sheets (as before)
WO1P diary + To-do (home-made)
Scraps of paper to ‘plan’ the day

In my weekly review, I (along with reviewing and reflecting on the past week):
1) transfer scheduled things from the next action lists/monthly goals sheets to the to-do sheet facing my WO1P

Each morning I was at home (rather than at work), I would look at the list and (if I felt like I needed to) use a bit of scrap paper to plan out what/when. I guess I could use a DPP for this and not have the 2PPD issue I have. On many days, I just left my filofax open in a visible place and ticked things off as I did them.

Advantages of this system:
My weekly planning takes less time
I’m not transcribing things as many times
I like the paper I have my diary on
Stuff is getting done but I’m not feeling so ‘planned to death’
I can fit the whole year of WO1P + to-do in, and Miss Aston looks positively sylph-like

Disadvantages of this system:
Haven’t come across any yet…

Now, I have to say, the ‘task into time slot’ method works brilliantly when I’m at work and also when I have lots of specific-timed things at home, but at the moment, days off work are fairly empty, especially now that I have stopped training for a half-marathon! Consequently, I have a list of stuff that needs doing in a week relating to projects plus other things that need doing that week. Generally, there’s no specific date these need doing (never mind a specific time) but if there is, I make a note of it.
Then on each day I’m at home, I check for appointments/specific-timed things (usually none), check what still needs doing on my weekly list and if anything else has cropped up and just do the tasks!

It’s made me realise that if/when I move back into the personal size, then the best thing for me is an enhanced TM Week per View (as per Philofaxy!). Which of course, has the added bonus of being free and easy to print at home on whatever colour paper I like!

Has anyone else found that a small tweak to their set-up has made a huge difference? What was it?

1 comment:

  1. Very nice! Thanks for your post - I almost bought a similar layout in Personal size from the Danish website. My own small tweak was to add Monthly Plan sheets as a combined forward planner and tickler file.