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Physical, visible planner - Useful?

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  • Physical, visible planner - Useful?

    I'm trying to gather together ideas on the use of physical calendars. Think erasable or disposable month planners visible in a living space or shared space like the family kitchen or office.

    Does anyone use them as part of their GTD practice? How? What features must they have to be useful?

    Do you see value in copying from digital to physical? What are the drawbacks?

    Disclosure: I'm working on a design project to incorporate the best community ideas into a Creative-Commons-licensed month planner. A preliminary design exists but it's intended to be a continually evolving thing as well as offering tips and tricks about how to use it. I can't think of a better group to try and engage with.

    Suggestions as to other influential forums with strong opinions on planning tools would also be gratefully received.

  • #2
    family type calendar

    I like to see two or even three months at a time. And always have the current month above (verticallyabove the other two months, not on top of one another). So I rip apart the paper calendar.

    The boxes need to big enough. This is a communication device so everyone needs to be able to read it. the month needs to clear and not obscured by the hanging device.

    White board is a problem due to people accidentally erasing and they never really wipe clean which is ok for some applications but not this. And, some dingbat in the family always forgets and uses the wrong marker. If a white board is used then clips for the markers, the eraser, etc must on attached to the board (maybe magnetic).

    Don't want extra frills that make the thing take up wall space like flower designs and sayings.

    Prefer that the size of the monthly page be compatible with photocopy size, even okay to fold it in half to achieve this--making a copy should not turn into an arts and crafts project.

    I want the week to start on Sunday.

    Would like to be able to enter on computer the known fixed dates like school vacations and birthdays,recycleing pick ups, seasonal chores, print out and then add by hand the day-to -events.
    Last edited by Jamie Elis; 09-22-2010, 11:46 AM. Reason: spelling

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    • #3
      Great insights

      Jamie, that's exactly the sort of insight I was looking for.

      Originally posted by Jamie Elis View Post
      I like to see two or even three months at a time. And always have the current month above (verticallyabove the other two months, not on top of one another). So I rip apart the paper calendar.
      Your need for multiple calendar pages is the issue which drove the original design brief. Anectodal evidence was that people found it irritating on month-per-view paper calendars towards the end of the month, when you can't easily use it as a planner any more since the horizon is too close. However, we haven't anticipated the need for 2 or 3 months visible at a time, so maybe we should distribute a version which does this.

      Originally posted by Jamie Elis View Post
      White board is a problem due to people accidentally erasing and they never really wipe clean which is ok for some applications but not this. And, some dingbat in the family always forgets and uses the wrong marker. If a white board is used then clips for the markers, the eraser, etc must on attached to the board (maybe magnetic).
      There's a variety of open questions around the use of markers still. The main suggestions for markers were the ones for OHP use (e.g. lumocolor non-permanent) and chinagraph pencils (used for marking up acetate films). Neither is especially expensive and they come in a lot of different colors for different people's appointments.

      The advantages of these as opposed to whiteboard markers is exactly the issue you mention - it's too easy for dry-wipe to rub off. Both OHP and chinagraph were designed for a semi-permanent mark on a wipeable surface, which wouldn't come off from a sleeve for example. The OHP ink is easily wiped off with a wet cloth, leaving no residue, but I haven't tried the chinagraph ones yet myself (a set for testing were supposed to arrive today). Disadvantages: Chinagraph, you have to sharpen them and because they are wax, you'll have to do this more often than most pencils; OHP, really intended for backlighting, so the light colors and even the reds are a bit hard to see when they are used reflectively.

      There's already a request for combining the pens/rubbers/sharpeners in the design, but no substantive proposals and nothing has been added to the design yet. We'll add clips and magnets to the suggestion list. So far I there was discussion of string, and of making holes in the structure to hide pens or pencils inside with their tips sticking out.

      Originally posted by Jamie Elis View Post
      Would like to be able to enter on computer the known fixed dates like school vacations and birthdays,recycleing pick ups, seasonal chores, print out and then add by hand the day-to -events.
      Your suggestion of adding standard dates digitally is a good one. The only idea for tackling this so far is the use of augmented reality techniques on a phone, which would visually overlay a digital calendar on the wipeable one.

      This is a fun idea and even fairly trivial with modern mobile phones but don't know how effective it would be in practice. The next version will have d-touch machine vision markers to enable this approach, and we're hoping there will be some experimentation on synchronization both to and from digital calendars when this feature is incorporated.
      Last edited by cefn; 09-22-2010, 01:23 PM. Reason: Forgot to use the quote function to reply to different paragraphs in the original post.

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      • #4
        Day sequence

        Originally posted by Jamie Elis View Post
        I want the week to start on Sunday.
        I forgot to mention that we've got a MTWTFSS sequence at the moment, but you've got me thinking about a way to be able to change this sequence around, and maybe even internationalise it for different languages, by adding exchangeable letter tiles.

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