Monday, 25 June 2012

Planner overkill (sometimes too much is simply too much!)

You will rarely hear my say that I suffer a planner failure. I do switch sizes once or twice a year, but I wouldn't consider that a planner failure. But I'm not switching sizes (still happy as a kid with my A5 Malden). However, I did encounter another problem, also known as the beast of perfectionism.
In short, I wanted it all and I wanted it now. I have been adding features to my system, until one day I opened up my 2PPD spread and gasped in horror:

To give you an impression of my nightmare, take a look a below picture:

First, let me explain how my 2PPD setup works:
Right page:
Left column: time slots for appointments and time-allocated todo's.
Right columns: priority todo's on top, other todo's underneath, contact todo's personal/family, delegation reminder (stuff I need to remind my DH).

Left page:
List of contacts with number and short reminder to be called (work).

Then the add-on-game started. First thing I added is the pink Daytimer hotlist. Reason: my current WO2P (column layout) doesn't offer any space to record weekly todo's. I started adding this hotlist to my weekly spread, only to find out that I kinda forgot about the whole thing the very minute I switched pages to my daily view. Go figure ...!
On one page of the hotlist I have my work todo's (aqua blue), on the back I have household (lime), family (pink) and personal (purple) todo's. Means I have to turn around the page. Also means that anything written behind that list is invisible, thus not existing ...

Then I figured it was stupid and cumbersome to have to rewrite my weekly recurrent todo's on my daily pages (like: water plants (Mondays), remind DD of homework or music practice (daily)). I remembered I had these little cards left from my Time/System days, so I got them out and used them for my day-specific weekly recurrent todo's (anybody still follow me? You do? Wait, I can fix that ...).
I still think the principle of this idea is fantastic! However, the annoying thing about these cards is that they (again) are blocking either my morning or my evening schedule (depending on whether I stick them to the top or buttom three rings). Not good!

Grand idea no. 3: I should be more consistent with my morning and evening household routines. I hadn't written them down before, but found I didn't do them very religiously. Which means I have to have them visible in my planner. I took a clear flyleaf (with a tiny little tab on the side) and put a Post-it with said morning and evening routines on it. Idea: tick boxes with Frixion pen, at the end of the day erase them and switch complete flyleaf to next day.
The problem is quite obvious: Total blockage of my calling list that's behind the plastic sheet, and - ultimately - much more important than clean laundry (yeah, don't tell anybody ...). What's more: I DO now these routines by heart, and I really don't need a writting reminder in my face. The thing is: when I'm in the mood, I'll do them, when I'm not I won't. No matter if it's written out and staring me in the face.

Conclusion: out with all the extra's and back to my bare pages. Sometimes I just want to have too much and get lost in the chaos I tend to create, while I meant to avoid chaos in the first place.

I'm still not sure how to handle the recurrent weeklies that are now on those mini-cards. Any idea's?


  1. Hi there Jotje! Whilst I tend to write a lot of reminders and to dos in my Filo, for recurrent weekly (or even daily) reminders I tend to use the reminder function on my mobile phone and set my alarm if it's relatively time specific. Sorry, that probably wasn't the answer you wanted!!! LOL

  2. I think the only tasks you want in your 2PPD view are the 'urgent today' ones. All your other tasks should be on task lists in another section. Every morning copy any that have become 'urgent today' into today's diary pages. Once you've cleared all your 'urgent today' tasks, you can go and scan your tasks section for other things you can do. Or you can take some time off.

  3. I agree with Ray. Assign times to the urgent tasks and do those first. Your picture scared me a little... ;)

  4. I do the same as LucyLastic, I have recurrent tasks (and things like tutoring) on my phone, except when they move or I have a particularly busy week when I also have them in my Filofax,

    I have a BlackBerry so it displays e next three things in my calendar in the notification section, which is so useful.

  5. I'm sorry your set up didn't work. But at the very least, it makes for a great picture! I had fun looking at all of the details.

    I schedule any date-sensitive to dos on the day they need to get done. Anything short-term goes on the DayTimer Hot sheet list, which helps to keep it in my vision. Everything else (long term to dos) stays on various other lists which get moved to either the hot sheet or a specific day when I decide to work on it.

  6. I had a similar add-on overload, I feel your pain!

    If you left the space behind the daily tasks blank it wouldn't be blocking anything, but you'd still have the reminder without having to rewrite daily.

  7. In your time sensitive appointments slots write a couple of reminders to yourself tochek your other todolists so they do not escape your memory

  8. Like Kanalt, I enjoyed looking at the details in your picture. I especially appreciate your color coding. That said, I do what Ray and Helen suggested. Tasks on my daily pages are limited to things that must be done that day. I have a separate tabbed section with a running task list--this is a catchall for everything that comes my way that I don't want to forget about. On my daily pages, I will add "review task list" (I either do this at the end of the day so that I can plan the following day, or if I've finished that day's tasks--ha! when does that happen?--I can add one or two more items.) Good luck tweaking your system. I very much enjoy and learn from your videos and time management posts!

  9. Jotje - your picture made me laugh and then smile for a long time - I know the feeling!! It made me think I should switch from a personal size to a pocket so that I would have less space to overload myself, haha!

    Nice post in that you shared AND asked for help, I liked seeing the input.

  10. Thank you so much all of you, for taking the time to reply to this post. In fact, I've meanwhile added a "review daily list" reminder in two timeslots (12.30 h and 19.00 h) and I'm happy to report that it's working brilliantly!!!!

  11. I write everything down, so I have nothing to add. I just wanted to tell you that you are not alone. :/