Sunday, 9 December 2018

Short-lived experiment!

Towards the start of October, I was wondering what to use as my diary set-up in 2019. It had been a choice between three TNs (standard, B6 and Field Notes size) or go back to a Filofax. You can see my thoughts about it all here.

I was itching to use my Field Notes size TN, but wasn't sure if I could make it work as wallet, planner and notebook.

Short answer... Nope. Well, not quite as I had thought I would.

I'd bought a fairly cheap diary to fit in it (the teNeues one... see here for the blog post on it), which had a vertical layout. It fitted in okay, though the TN ended up a bit of a chunky monkey with that, a wallet insert and a home-made credit card insert. The teNeues diary started in December, so I thought I would trial it, and see how it went (while I still also had my standard size, vertical layout, Midori TN diary to hand). I could have made it less chunky by removing the cover of the diary, but it wasn't really the chunkiness that made it not work, it was the fact the small diary wasn't big enough for me to plan my days and weeks in.

The teNeues layout

But, I still really loved using my Field Notes sized TN, not least because it's undyed and the colour is changing in an amazing way!

This was it when I got it...
And this is it now...

So, what to do? I could go back to using a standard size TN for diary/planner/wallet/notebook which was what I'd been using for ages. Or, I could change what's in the Field Notes TN to try and make it work.

I looked at what I needed when I'm planning my week/day and what I need when I'm out and about. When I'm planning my day/week, I like to time-box tasks/work/stuff and have a list of 'to do' for the week that I work through and tick off. Until I was trialling the Field Notes TN, this was all done in the vertical TN diary which lay open on my desk so I could see it while I worked at home.

Sample page from my TN diary

The teNeues diary was way too small for this. Saturday and Sunday shared a column (which was okay for noting appointments/events but hopeless for planning into) and I had to use a to-do list Post-It note (which was mobile and could be shifted from one side of the week to the other, as needed). But it just wasn't working. The diary was too chunky to lay flat on my desk and too small to use the way I wanted to.

While out and about, what I need is my wallet (money, cards etc), a diary to note appointments down in (and no more - no planning is needed), and a notebook. In all honesty, I usually have another notebook in my bag too, in case book inspiration occurs, but I keep book notes separate from other notes. I used to just pick up my standard TN, as everything was in there. The advantage of it all being in one: there was only ever one thing to have to pick up and all appointments/events were noted in a single place (therefore no transcription error and no forgetting to copy across to a planner). The disadvantage: the standard TN was big.

So, the teNeues diary in this smaller TN was too thick for what I needed out and about (making the TN a chunky little beast), but too small for actually doing any decent planning in.

The solution?

I've made myself a month to view diary in a Field Notes size notebook (using up another hateful Moleskine that I'd acquired, despite my best efforts to avoid them), which has the months at the front and plenty of space for any notes at the back. On my desk is the standard size TN that I've been using so far this year for week/day planning and will continue to use for the rest of 2018.

The home-made monthly diary in a hateful Moleskine

Yeah, okay, Saturday and Sunday are still sharing a column in the month to view, but since this is only for noting down appointments/events, it's okay. I've used washi tape to block off the parts of the week which aren't dates, to remind me where the month ends/starts and also to try and pretty up the pages a bit. For the months where it should really have had 6 rows to accommodate all of the month, I've just included some dates on the month before/month following, so that only 5 rows are needed.

That lives in my TN, along with my money and cards, and since it's only a slim little book, the TN is nowhere near as chunky as it was. There's space in the back of the diary for notes out and about. The week/day planning happens in the standard TN on my desk. The trick is remembering to transfer across any dates from the monthly diary to the planning diary, but I have very few, so should manage to keep on top of it.

And in 2019...?

I'm keeping going with the monthly diary in the TN and am going to use an A5 weekly diary/planner from Box Clever Press. Which is amazing and I'll blog about it soon!

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