Sunday, 29 March 2015

Clocks change; filofax change

Actually, the change is much less to do with the move to BST than the fact that the de Villiers is getting damaged, but I did make the change at the same time as we 'lost' an hour!

The de Villiers is still glorious and still in many ways the perfect size for me, but I noticed last week that the spine of the binder has been cut by the ring mechanism...

It looks worse in this zoom-in!

and that the stitching on the back inside cover is coming undone...

Stitching coming undone

So, I decided that it should have a rest. I've swapped into the wine Holborn (the brown one has gone to a new home) but I can imagine that I will be in a Baroque again soonish. The set-up is exactly the same as it was a couple of weeks ago (see 'How have I ended up using four things for planning?') except since I have the space I have put all of the WO2P diary for 2015 in.

I don't really know what to do about the de Villiers. The rest of the binder is great (well used by a previous owner but still great) but I don't want its injuries to get any worse. Any suggestions?

Anyone else changing set-up with the move to 'summer-time'?

Saturday, 14 March 2015

My Morning Routine

I used to have a well-oiled morning routine that got me out of bed, into the shower, some breakfast inside me, onto my bike and into work ready to start the day. I used the cycle to plan the day ahead so that when I hit my desk, I could empty my head onto paper and then make a cuppa and plan my day, often before most colleagues were in the door.

Then I hit burn-out and was off work. I gained a stress-induced arrhythmia which has stopped me cycling and running. I lost my sense of purpose and any semblance of focus and concentration. Mornings became something that was in that space between getting up and lunch and most days that I tried to plan anything, I was left staring at a piece of paper, with my brain a horrendous combination of spaghetti and echoing emptiness.

However, I've finally managed to climb out of the murk enough to regain a routine. It's not one that will necessarily survive the return to work (whenever that might happen) but it works for me at the moment. It's (mostly) soothing and settling but not always hugely productive...

Once I am up and breakfasted, I try to do the following routine (assuming I don't need to be somewhere before about 10.30 am!):
  • Write my morning pages
  • Empty my head into the 'brain-dump' reporters' notepad
  • Meditate/do some mindful practice
  • Make a cup of tea
  • Sit at my desk with my brain dump/daily list and my weekly list and my A5 filofax
  • Time-box activities into time-slots (and try to remember to double the amount of time I think it will take me to do anything)
  • Turn over a 30-minute sand-timer and start the day

Depending on how box-of-frogs-like my head is, the routine can take from 30-60 minutes (or more) but it is a slow, steady rhythm and start to the day.

The Morning Pages
I am still doing these in the Paper Thinks book but have shifted to only writing on the right-hand pages as then I can use something nicer to write with than a biro (the pages have far too much bleed-through to contemplate being able to write on the reverse if I use a proper pen!).

The Paper Thinks book. I added the ribbon to fasten it closed

I found I could spend half the morning faffing about writing the morning-pages, so now I set a time-limit for them of 15 minutes. I still write almost three pages in that time, but the time-limit helps me to stay focussed.

The Reporters' Notebook for a brain dump
Once I have done my morning pages, I then clear my head into a new side in a scrappy reporters' notebook. This is literally a brain-dump and also acts as a scratch-pad over the day. It gets dumped each night, so the fact it is scrappy is fine. I list everything I could do that day. That doesn't mean I will do it, and I feel less guilty than I used to about transferring things to the next day's list of they don't get done.

Not normally this neat - I was playing with a new pen!

The A5 diary
Once I have my daily list, I then plan my day. I usually look at my daily list in conjunction with my weekly list and then allocate things from them onto the day. Because Filofax seem to think that people are less busy/less planned on a weekend, they combine the two days into one column and so I have to resort to a personal-size page with the corner cut off so it will go on the A5 rings. On a weekday, this kind of plan goes into the A5 diary.

Day plan on lined paper

That's my morning routine and it is working reasonably well for me (as long as I don't over-allocate!).

Do others have a morning routine that keeps them on track?

Monday, 9 March 2015

How have I ended up using four things for planning??

It struck me the other day that I seem to have migrated to using four things for daily planning:
  • the planning filofax
  • the daily carry-around
  • a vertical WO2P in an A5 filofax
  • a reporters' notebook
What??? I thought I was all streamlined into a compact filofax! How did this happen??

Well, it's actually not as bad as it sounds. Honest! I realise that what I have done is just reproduce the system I always used to have, but distributed it over several things in order to use a slimline as a carry-around.

My system has almost always (well, since I have had a 'system') included:
  • a goals to projects to next actions section (which is now in the planning filofax along with spare diary pages - see here for how I get that to work)
  • a week to view for an overview (which is still in the carry-around)
  • a daily list + a daily plan (which I used to have on DPP in the carry-around when I had the ring-space, with appointments/time-sensitive tasks down the left and the rest of the daily list on the right)
It's this last bit that has morphed into two separate things I suppose. Patty from Homemakers Daily did a good post (read it here) about the difference between a  daily list and a daily plan. For me, the daily list - the list of things I need to do today - is going in the reporters' notebook. Then each morning I am drawing up my daily plan which is getting time-boxed into the vertical WO2P in the A5.

I had been doing that on the WO2P in the de Villiers, with the daily-list on the right of each day-box and the plan on the left, but it was starting to get too crowded when I had lots of 'mosquito tasks' to clear and so I started scrawling things in the notebook. I could just move back to using a DPP, the way I always used to and keep everything in one place, but at the moment I am still off work and so still based at home on a daily basis and I have a big desk and an A5 diary to use up and a stack of reporters' notebooks to use up, so why either buy or print up DPP?

No doubt I will go back to the 'all in one' binder at some point, but this is working okay for me at the moment (and handily using up the A5 diary and rubbish notebooks!).

Anyone else find that they think they've started using a new system, only to realise it's the old system in different clothes?