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  • planer vs calendar

    Hi there!

    Happy new year!
    And with every new year comes the planer/organizer/calendar question...
    I am thinking of getting a ring-bound planer for my lists and calendar. But the one thing I realy dislike about most planers is that they have to large rings. So I am looking for a slim planer with rings up to 20mm.
    Has anybody a good advice?
    For the first weeks of 2007 I bough a booklike calendar with a week on 2 pages vertically but I think it is a good idea to keep my lists in my planer.

    What do you think? Do you have you calendar and lists in the same place? If so, what is your system? Is it bulky or do you really take it everywhere with you?

    Ahrg... still searching for a system that I do not want to tweak and change so I can really get things done with it. I hate it

    I think the hardes part of GTD is finding a system you love and want to work with.

    -Wolfgang

  • #2
    Hi Wolfgang. DayTimer and DayRunner both sell ring binders with a variety of ring sizes. They range from small to large. Also the binders themselves range from "pocket" through "classic" to "desk" sizes, so there should be plenty of variety for you.

    I use a "classic" size planner with larger rings, because I keep both my calendar and next actions in it, and I like the room. I don't mind a larger book - I enjoy the extra space on the calendar pages. Also, DayRunner sells a vertical format week-on-two-pages calendar.

    More on my system at Matt's Idea Blog: Fare thee well Hipster PDA - I barely knew ye

    Regarding your switching systems, maybe if you told us more about why you make each switch and what you're looking for, we could help. I've found that learning the key behaviors of GTD is the hard part, and switching systems is more of a mechanical process...

    Hope that helps!

    matt

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    • #3
      Given your reference to metric measurements, I would also throw in the filofax line of planners.

      The 2 that most likely meet your need are:

      Slimline 11mm rings (binder size 95mm * 171mm)
      Personal 23mm rings (binder size 95mm * 171mm)

      I've used both in the pass. For portability the slimline is the best option ... it's like a jacket wallet and will fit a inside jacket pocket.

      The personal is the heart of the filofax system and will carry more inserts. So ultimately it becomes what are you willing to trade off ...

      As to the one best system, I suggest that you get DA's white paper on paper based systems. He places both notes and calendar in the one binder. Though his recommendation is for a standard ring binder (found in company supply closets). As to portability, size is a issue, plus how portable are you looking to be? Just around the office, office and home., all places?

      My final thought is do not look for the perfect system ... start with something and live with it for at least a month or two then adjust it to your needs. Again live with it for a month or two then adjust. Your planner should (and must) evolve as your change over time.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hallo Matt!
        Thank you for your fast reply...

        Originally posted by cornell View Post
        Regarding your switching systems, maybe if you told us more about why you make each switch and what you're looking for, we could help.
        Well, my system is a paper-based system but I am not really satisfied with it and that is why I tweak and change it from time to time.
        One of my problems is that I do not know how to deal effectively with my lists on paper and I resist rewriting my lists. Has anybody some advice how to deal with this? Please tell me how you manage your paper-based lists.
        Another this is that I spend most of my day in front of my computer so I always think of switching to a digital system for my lists.
        These two things let me change (don't really use) my system

        -Wolfgang

        Comment


        • #5
          The best solution that I've found to the rewriting problem is to keep the lists short to begin with. If I have a list of 10 or 15 items and have crossed off half of them, rewriting the rest onto a fresh piece of paper is not such a big deal. That's about the number of items that will fit on a single side of 8.5 x 5.5 inch paper, adding a blank line in between each.

          On the other hand, a full size 8.5 x 11 sheet will hold 20 or 30 items easily, or even more than that if you write small and are willing to wedge things together. Cross off ten of those and the page is a mess, but there are still too many items left to rewrite. I use the smaller pages for my context lists, but larger pages for the Project and Someday/Maybe lists, which don't change as much.

          For the same reason, I'd recommend keeping your action lists separate from your calendar pages as much as possible. An item on a calendar page *has* to be rewritten to carry it forward, while a separate sheet can be removed and reinserted elsewhere.

          I leave most of my system behind most of the time. For day trips away from the office, I only take a pocket calendar and a scratch pad or a few index cards. (Plus an electronic contact list, in either my phone or my iPod.) For longer trips, I'll add my context lists and any project support materials that are relevant to the trip. My full project and someday/maybe lists don't leave my office unless I need them for a weekly review or similar big picture thinking. Obviously being self-employed with a home office makes this more practical...

          Hope this helps,

          Katherine

          Comment


          • #6
            I used a Day-Timer for about 10 years before going digital. I used a loose-leaf size with page sizes that were about 4x6 inches as I remember. I kept only the current month's daily pages, so that greatly helped keep the thickness small. I carried monthly pages for the next year and then several sheets where I could put dates extended as far into the future as needed.

            I did not carry an address book. For me, I was not carrying a cell phone and making 99% of my calls from either my home or office. I stored my address book in a database. In late November each year (actually, just before time to prepare Christmas cards) I would print out 2 copies (one for office and one for home). During the year, additions and updates were written on the hard copy in red, and updating the computer database from those hard copies happened just before printing the new ones.

            One thing I found helpful was taking a blank (lined) page and inserting it at the current day. Non-urgent to-dos cold go there. Instead of re-writing at the end of the day, I would simply move that page to the next day. When just about everything had been completed, I would transfer the few remaining items to a new page.

            Time Design has a good suggestion that I incorporated. Instead of checking off the items as you complete them, they suggest that you keep a highlighter handy and mark through completed items with the highlighter. You can still read the items, and the items still to be done really stand out.

            Frank

            Comment


            • #7
              I was the last days on my almost never ending quest for the calender/planner and list-keeping tool. And now I have something that will hopefully fulfill my needs, it consists of the following:

              * a booklike calendar aprox. 5,8x4,1in (DIN A6)
              * indexcards of the same size for my lists
              * a plastic envelope which is straped to the book to carry the cards I need

              As you can see, I try to use a very minimalistic system for my tasks. And as Frank mentioned I also highlight all my completet tasks which makes it easier to so what is left on the lists.

              Now I just have to use it and stick with it. Does anyone have good tips how to motivate yourself to use one system and stick with it?

              -Wolfgang

              Comment


              • #8
                Do your weekly review weekly!

                Originally posted by wbc View Post
                Now I just have to use it and stick with it. Does anyone have good tips how to motivate yourself to use one system and stick with it?
                Wolfgang,

                a few minutes ago I finished my @home-weekly-review
                (my @work-weekly-review I do on Wednesdays).

                The feeling of being in control of most of my stuff and the perspective
                that things are getting more and more doable makes my look forward to my
                next weekly reviews. And this gives me the confidence that it will make sense
                to keep using my system day-to-day during the week.

                Rainer

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by wbc View Post
                  Now I just have to use it and stick with it. Does anyone have good tips how to motivate yourself to use one system and stick with it?
                  I've had massive problems with this, as well--I'm a former design student, and a former FranklinCovey employee, so I have the tools, know-how, and inclination to invent a virtually endless parade of systems.

                  Keeping a section in a journal on my progress with my system helped a lot. Once a week, I'd evaluate what was working, what wasn't, where it seemed to be helping with productivity, what's still falling through the cracks, etc. I don't do it formally any more, but I do have "How's your planner working?" and "How's your system working?" on a questions checklist for my weekly review.

                  Tinkering and thinking "The grass is more productive on the other side of the fence" kept me switching; knowing I would have time and space to regularly take a hard look at my system, and having a record of how well things really were working when they worked, helped cut down on those impulses dramatically. Things still get tweaked (I just created a new set of tabs for contexts and projects in my planner), but the overall system is dramatically more stable (those tabs were for a set of contexts that haven't changed in over six months and in a binder I've had for over a year now).

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