Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Update on the ABP2

My planning has settled back into pretty much where I was several years ago: a set of goals to projects to next actions for my different life areas. The next actions then get transferred to a week plus notes diary, with day-to-day planning being done on a day per page diary.

Aeons ago (see here for the initial review and here for an update about its flattability), I bought a Quo Vadis ABP2 day per page diary, to use for my day planning (as a more up-market version of the reporter's notebook I had been using for the task through the latter part of 2015).
In case you haven't clicked back to see the earlier posts, this is the layout inside:

Even at the start I had some reservations about the line spacing (3.5mm!) and those reservations haven't disappeared. When I started January, I thought I would give the ABP2 at least a month and see how I got on, using it for planning the day.

It's actually worked out better than I thought it would, but is far from good. I've been using the RHS to write out my daily list of stuff to do, plus as a scratch pad to jot things down if needed. I'm using every other line and so far, haven't run out of space.The LHS was supposed to be used for time-boxing and I have used it for that, but it only works if I only have one thing to do in any hour and preferably have several hours in which to do only one thing! If I had a series of half-hour long things to do or half-hour appointments, it would drive me insane with the spacing.

Most days have got stuff I can't show you without redacting lots, but here's a day I can share:

It works, but only because the tasks I have for the day can be squeezed into the spaces. There's a lot of wasted space across the top of the page, with the multiple languages. There's also more wasted space at the top of the LHS because I don't start on tasks much before 8.30 in the morning and there's wasted space at the bottom of the LHS as I've usually finished my tasks by 6pm. I've noted TV to watch in the later timed spaces, but even then, that's not great as the spaces finish at 9.30pm and there may be more than one thing on at any time (and I need to record one of them). I'm not using the bottom section other than to remind myself what I'm making for dinner (but that could as easily go in the space on the RHS and give me more space for time-boxing on the left, were it not all so pre-printed and inflexible).
The amount I'm generally using on a daily basis is about 6.5cm, out of the height of the LHS of 11cm, or the height including the space at the bottom of ~13cm. Just half of the space there. In the reporter's notebooks, I used 18cm for the day, so I'm down to about a third of what I was using.

At the moment, most of my days have big, chunky things to do and I can block off several hours for each task, which is making it bearable. If I had a lot of smaller appointments or tasks, I would have to use another piece of paper to plan out my day.

I wouldn't buy this again. There's a larger version of it (ABP1) which might have been better, but that's not easily available in the UK and to be honest, the reporter's notebook worked so much better than this! I had much more space to time-box in, the RHS had space to note all my tasks and use as a scratch pad, the paper quality was marginally better and they were much cheaper! I also felt fine about tearing out the pages I'd used and tossing them at the end of the week when I did my weekly reviews, whereas the ABP2 is bound. (I'll toss it at the end of the year).

I may be back to a reporter's notebook if my days stop having a few big tasks per day and start having lots of small tasks to plan.


  1. You are invited every Wednesday to participate in our link up party at Planner Fun (all free inserts), called The Planner Experience. I hope you'll come by and link up one of your planner posts.