Thursday, 26 December 2013

Getting ready for 2014

Ooh... I feel all prepared and organised. Well, somewhat! After some interesting, inspiring and fun discussions with Shadow Wolf over email, I became enthused about getting set up for 2014 so have spent a couple of days preparing things.

Despite still not being 100% sure about my goals and next actions (yep... still working on them), I did know that I needed monthly sheets and weekly sheets and that my weekly sheets needed dividing into ‘next actions’ space and ‘to do’ space (in my head, ‘to do’ are things that need doing like buying stamps, writing to a friend, getting the dry-cleaning, doing the housework, whereas ‘next actions’ are the things I have to do to progress my projects and hence approach achieving my goals). This year I have struggled a bit with ‘to do’ beginning to swamp me and ‘next actions’ getting forgotten and I am determined that this won’t be the case in 2014!

Whereas my homemade week + notes is designed around me and would have been a perfect set-up for 2014, I am also getting annoyed with myself for buying perfectly good diary pages and then printing up my own anyway, so I have decided to stick with the Paperchase week to view (which I reviewed here) and amend it slightly.

My set-up (and I am really hoping that despite all the siren-songs from Red shiny people, I may stay in it!) therefore runs like this:
  • Goals to Projects to Next Actions (held in the navy Portland)
  • Monthly sheets (all bar the current month held in the navy Portland; current month’s sheet is in the day-to-day binder)
  • Weekly sheets (all bar the current month’s weekly sheets held in the navy Portland; current month’s weekly sheets are in the day-to-day binder behind the current monthly sheet)
  • Week to view (whole year in the day-to-day binder)

In detail
1. Goals to Projects to Next-Actions
Still a work-in-progress at the moment but I am hoping to map them out over the next few days!

2. Monthly sheets
Still also somewhat a work-in-progress as the next-actions are nowhere to be seen yet. However, the rest has been set up.

sample monthly sheet
I have used lavender-coloured paper and a separate sheet for each month. The month is written across the top then there is a space for writing in all the next-actions and any month-specific to do (like renew the car insurance, etc.). At the bottom is a reminder of all the birthdays that month (covered up in the photograph). You can see November in the picture (fewest birthdays to hide!) and a few things in on the monthly list (but not many! It is for November 2014 after all).
The reverse of these sheets just has ‘Review’ written across the top and will be where the monthly review gets written up.

3. Weekly sheets
These used to work so well for me and I don’t understand why I let them slip. They are effectively the ‘+ notes’ part of the week + notes format, only with space for the weekly review on the reverse.

sample weekly sheet

I have split each week into ‘to do’ and ‘next actions’ as explained earlier. And yes, I have drawn up all the weekly sheets needed for 2014 and in every single one I have written ‘weekly review’ (as well as ‘monthly review’ and ‘quarterly review’ where appropriate). Shown in the photograph is a sample week (with not a lot to do in it yet!). I was going to write all of these out on nice cotton-cream paper but then found a heap of quadrille paper and thought I would use it up (yes, it was Time Manager paper and I trimmed it and re-punched it to fit). In the monthly review, these sheets will get filled up with ‘next actions’. I have put in all the ‘buy card and present for x’ reminders over the whole year too, as well as ‘post card and present to x’ (yes – that level of reminder is needed!)

4. Paperchase Week to View Diary
These pages live in the turquoise Baroque (current day-to-day binder). Since the week to view has to cover both appointments and tick-lists and since my Virgoan/OCD-squeakiness makes me not want to mix these up on the page, I have split every day into two, with appointments to go on the left and tick-lists to go one the right. (This might have taken less time if the lines weren’t all precisely a Today-ruler’s width from the edge of the lines...)

sample week to view
I also realised that I need to make a bit more effort over some habit-tracking. If things aren’t actually written down on a day, I won’t necessarily do them. However, my Virgoan/completer-finisher/OCD-squeakiness makes me determined to tick something off if it appears on a day! Hence, on each day, I have either got ‘core’ or ‘rowing’ (by which I mean rowing like rowing a boat, not rowing like having an argument!) and on Sunday I have to do both, so have both written in, with a small square to tick. No, I’m not joking. All 365 days of 2014 have one or both of these written in.

I became sloppy about doing my weekly reviews last year – probably a major reason why my goals slipped and non-goals-busyness took over. To try and avoid that this year, on every Sunday I have ‘review’ written and there are also indications of when I have more than one to do (monthly and/or quarterly), so I get to tick them off on the day and on the weekly sheets!

Since I am incapable of turning a page to look at the weekly sheets, I will also have their lists on Post-It notes on the weekly pages too. I know – why have the weekly sheets at all if I’m not going to look at them? I don’t know. I need them when I plan the month and I like to have them for the weekly review, but I’m just hopeless at looking at them in the week itself and if I allocate tasks to specific days I tend to overload myself and get frustrated by a lack of flexibility, so I have tasks on the Post-Its and throw them away at the end of the week.

The only other thing I have done to the diary, is the minuscule amount of washi tape you can see. Although I love the idea of washi tape and have a fine collection myself, I can never cope with it on the days of my diary, any more than I really can cope with stickers. Whereas I love seeing what others are doing when they decorate their pages, I think I am too much of a ‘clean-line, no clutter’ person in my diary. So, my concession to washi tape in the diary is to put a little bar of it along the top corner, coded to indicate the month. It makes the page (a little) more interesting but doesn’t swamp the point of the WO2P of showing me what and when I am doing things.

Anyway, that’s my set-up. What about everyone else? Are other people as bonkers as this or am I the only one who finds sitting down and prepping the year like this soothing and reassuring?


  1. Amanda, you really are so generous and helpful - your comment hardly does justice to the amount of time and effort you've spent helping me with my goals and setup!

    It's great for me to see this post and how your set-up looks 'in real life'. I'm still thinking and processing, but definitely with direction now - and starting to see why regular reviews are so necessary (I stopped doing them months ago)!

    I really like your idea of the washi tape - just a bit of added interest. I don't know why paperchase insist on making the '14' so big though! Do they think we'll all forget what year it is if they don't? Such a waste of space that the weekend blocks could have used, I think.

    Hopefully this will ward off that shiny red siren :)

  2. Hi Shadow Wolf! It's been great fun chatting with you about set-ups and you really inspired me to get organised.
    I know what you mean about the wasted space with the massive year indicator on each page. That said, maybe I DO need a reminder of which year it is since at work I sent a Christmas greeting that said 'Have a great break and all the best for 2015' to all my colleagues.
    Ah well. I explained it away as 'forward planning'! :-)
    I'm hoping the shiny red siren will shush for a bit! Maybe the fact I have filled in so much in this diary will help...?

  3. This comment really made me laugh: "Since I am incapable of turning a page to look at the weekly sheets..." We like it easy & convenient, don't we!?

  4. The turning the page comment also jumped out at me! That's so planner people. :)

    I don't like clutter on my weekly sheets either.