I'm pleased to say that I survived the first month of using a planner alongside my diary and totally loving the process.
Initially I wondered if I was making a big mistake outlaying cash on the Carpe Diem planner. Don't get me wrong it's pretty as heck and I love it but not knowing if it would sit on a shelf after a lousy few weeks of use was scary. Especially considering my planner track record!
It didn't all fall into place immediatly and I made a few blunders that would usually have left me feeling dissapointed. The first month of my planner doesn't look like I imagined.
This is a huge learning curve for me, as I'm the type of person that wants to perfect a new hobby or craft or process before I've even picked up the tools. I over research and over analyse. My urge for something to be perfect on the first attemp often stops me trying new things.
The great thing about this style of planner is that the layout and options of style and design are flexible. I have moved a few things around as January progressed and have a much better feel for the pages I use most and those that I need and want but not all the time.
Initially I wanted to have four months in the planner at a time so I could add photos and ephemera and it not get too bulky. Then remove each month as it finishes, archive and bind it all together at the end of the year into a mini scrapbook. But it turns out I want to see and use the whole year. This became apparent when we booked a weeks holiday in September and I wanted to add it in my planner straight away. So i've added the month to view pages back in but not the weekly pages. This makes the planner less bulky and I get to access the whole year. A planner has to work for you and be adaptable to what's going on in your life, if it can't, then it's not the right planner for you.
One thing that irritated me was the 'curling' of the last page when I closed the book. It seemed to get a bit scrunched and bent and that was annoying. So I used a sheet of clear binding acetate, cut to size, and punched as a 'back page'. It slides against the inside fabric covering making the book close better protecting that last paper page.
Having found the perfect planner for me, I needed to form habits to make it work for me and ensure I use it. Of course it comes everywhere with me but if I don't take it out my bag and use it then it's just extra weight I can do without. Here's what is working for me so far:
- Every morning when I get into work I get my desk draw key, pen (I'm very particular about the pen I use and mine comes everywhere with me!), phone and planner out of my handbag.
- While my laptop is firing up I open my planner to today and check if there is anything to do or add to my days plans. I chose the weekly pages because I work full time and don't have a huge amount of 'out of work chores' in my life. This planner is for me and not work. I also glance back at yesterday to see that everything was done and carry over anything that wasn't and needs to be rescheduled.
- My planner stays on my desk as a reminder to do any of the days tasks. If I have calls to make I take it with me to lunch or to the kitchen if it's a quick call that can be made while the coffee machine whirls out a cuppa, ie calling/texting to order wood, or book a car MOT.
- I usually have a quick glance when I get in from work and if there is nothing left to do I don't look at it again until the morning. If however there are things to discuss with dear husband then I leave it out as a reminder.
- On a Monday I have an hour after work before an appointment so I sit in a lovely quiet Hitchin pub, with a coffee and do some 'making pretty' on my planner. It's me time and a good opportunity for me to add any goals and review my yarn craft lists.
- The weekends are slightly different. Saturdays can be quite busy, so although I'll add tasks to my planner I tend to also add them to a separate slip of paper that I can take with me. I have a quick look at the planner first thing and grab the slip of paper. I don't like to plan too much for a Sunday so I don't schedule any tasks on that day. I do however have a quick look first thing for birthdays.
This may not be how I manage my planner at the end of the year and my methods may evolve but this is working for me now. Good habits are the key to effective planning, ticking off tasks and reaching goals.
If you have an effective way of using your planner or ideas please share!