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  • Lost My Planner, Now I'm Lost!

    After months & months of intense researching & shopping for a planner; spending tons of money on planners, binders & pages, that are now in the drawer, I had finally found the planner that worked best & was everything that I wanted & needed... & now its gone!
    All of my notes, both personal & business related appointments, goals, mind maps, ToDos and Projects,.... gone.
    And whats sad is, I feel like a part of me is gone also; its like i'm in a daze. I just cannot seem to get in gear! Not being able to look back over my notes, its unbearable.
    Who would have thought that one could be so attached & dependant upon a spiral bound notebook!

  • #2
    Some New Opportunity

    There is some truth to the fact that we become co-dependent on what we entrust our systems to. This is true for software that is no longer supported or a binder that is nowhere to be found. But there may be some new opportunity here:

    (1) The Value of Starting Over
    The longer you have your system, the larger it gets. Things start to become stale, things on your list lose their connection with outcomes you used to be committed to or deadlines that no longer exist. Having to start over gives you a chance to collect everything fresh and to articulate things in ways that reflect your most current life circumstances. So starting over can be a good thing.

    (2) Rediscovering 'Instinct'
    When first beginning with the GTD approach, we focus on the little things - things like contexts, tools, and next actions. But what GTD is really all about is clearing the decks so we can become more in tune with our instinct on what we should be spending our effort on at any given moment. That instinct is always there telling us what we should be doing, but it gets muddied by undefined stuff, unclarified outcomes, unclean edges in our systems. By defining, clarifying, and cleaning it all up, and -- most important of all -- doing the weekly review, we reconnect with that instinct and learn what to say 'yes' and 'no' to at each moment of the day.

    So in some ways, your system isn't your system. Yes, it's all in a binder no longer accessible. But that binder doesn't hold your instinct. That's something that only you have. That you still have. So it will take some work to re-collect what has been lost, but having to start over really helps you get a sense of what is most important to you right now; and that will go a long way toward helping you collect in a way that is more in tune with that instinct you have. You may be able to collect now in a way you otherwise would not have been able to had this not happened.

    (3) Considering New Tools
    It also makes it possible to consider different tools. Having a great system that works can sometimes keep us from trying new tools. And if it weren't for a lost binder or unsupported software we became accustomed to, we never would have migrated out to try them. So consider trying something new. You may find some new tool or way of doing things that your old system would have held you back from discovering.

    Nothing's going to be as nice as getting the binder back, but there may be some new opportunities here in what appears -- on the surface, at least -- to be a total loss.

    Comment


    • #3
      You have my condolences. I just misplaced my Palm Treo with my "life" on it as well. All at the same time as my hard drive failed, so my first backup isn't available either. So even us techies run into it as well.

      I remember forever ago when I went to an all-day Franklin Planner class, and someone in the class had the concern of the same eventuality of losing their soon to be almighty notebook. The instructor recommended putting a note in the first page of the planner offering a $50 reward if the planner was returned "no questions asked". Seemed a bit steep at the time (on my then limited budget), but it seems a small price now.

      You might consider it for your next go round.

      Good luck

      Comment


      • #4
        I actually got to watch someone ask David Allen personally how he would deal with a catastrophic data loss. I'll summarize his answer.

        First, just give it all over to God. Then try to view it as an opportunity for a fresh start. Everything that was in your system is going to start piling up into your head; grab a pad and start dumping it out and rebuild the system. It's the process that matters, not the final result.

        Make sure that you have collection tools ready and near you at all times--especially in this time of rebirth. You're going to be looking for any clues and cues of commitments in your environment and you never know when a thought is going to come to mind. Capture it, process it, and rebuild the system.

        I'd say the most damaging thing about this experience is the loss of your appointment calendar. You might need to make some calls to your most important contacts to make sure you don't miss any meetings.

        I'm not knocking paper systems, but they have one single weakness that has driven me to use an electronic system: the inability to back up your data. I just know that I'll leave a paper planner behind somewhere in a moment of absent-mindedness.

        I have multiple redundant backups of my data both locally and offsite at Mozy in the event of a catastrophic event. I suggest you consider using an electronic system eventually. For now, just get yourself a cheap 3-ring binder, some tabs, some paper, and get a working system going again. Use the article on this web site titled "Organizing a Paper Organizer" to help you get going.

        Best of luck to you.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by ellobogrande View Post
          I'm not knocking paper systems, but they have one single weakness that has driven me to use an electronic system: the inability to back up your data.
          Ever heard of copier machines?

          Comment


          • #6
            Thank you all for your replies. I'm slowly getting things together again. I've printed letter-sized monthly calendars with lined notes from Outlook for my appointments, and have sinced found that I love the large view that it gives me.
            I also found a spiral notebook that has a ToDo section with checkboxes (which I love). Even though its not my beloved At-A-Glance Action Planner, these two are working out quite nicely.
            Todd, your words were very encouraging. Thank you
            Last edited by eLady; 10-02-2008, 07:45 AM. Reason: Adding a Post Script

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by ellobogrande View Post
              I actually got to watch someone ask David Allen personally how he would deal with a catastrophic data loss.
              I also remember someone relating a story about watching David when his Palm rebooted and he lost all his data.

              He just picked up a piece of paper and starting dumping the stuff that was on his mind!

              - Don

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ellobogrande View Post
                I'd say the most damaging thing about this experience is the loss of your appointment calendar. You might need to make some calls to your most important contacts to make sure you don't miss any meetings.

                I'm not knocking paper systems, but they have one single weakness that has driven me to use an electronic system: the inability to back up your data. I just know that I'll leave a paper planner behind somewhere in a moment of absent-mindedness.
                I agree that the calendar is the most damaging loss. I use a paper one, but if I had a heavier appointment schedule electronic would be the way to go.

                FWIW, I've lost more data to electronic mishaps than to misplaced paper. As they say, if you're going to keep all your eggs in one basket, *watch that basket!*

                There's also a bit of a paradox at the heart of GTD. The idea is to get things out of your head, but if you do regular weekly reviews, you'll find that you have a pretty good mental picture of at least your short term commitments. That makes recovery much easier in case of data loss.

                Katherine

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Brent View Post
                  Ever heard of copier machines?
                  Yeah, but I'm not willing to sacrifice a rainforest to backup my planner.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by eLady View Post
                    Thank you all for your replies. I'm slowly getting things together again. I've printed letter-sized monthly calendars with lined notes from Outlook for my appointments, and have sinced found that I love the large view that it gives me.
                    I also found a spiral notebook that has a ToDo section with checkboxes (which I love). Even though its not my beloved At-A-Glance Action Planner, these two are working out quite nicely.
                    Todd, your words were very encouraging. Thank you
                    The Action Planner? My local office store still had some academic year ones available (start August), and 2009 is not far away. Perhaps the new Mead GTD planners will be similar, but with even more list pages!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ellobogrande View Post
                      Yeah, but I'm not willing to sacrifice a rainforest to backup my planner.
                      You could also use a scanner and backup your paper system electronically.
                      Yours
                      Alexander

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Digital cameras?

                        Originally posted by ellobogrande View Post
                        Yeah, but I'm not willing to sacrifice a rainforest to backup my planner.
                        What about digital cameras? Or mobile phones with cameras? My Nokia E71 has great 3 megapixel camera and I can easily and painlessly backup every scrap of paper around. And send the pictures instantly to my gmail account for online backup.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I really wasn't trying to make a huge point about this or create a debate about which medium is better, but I guess it spawned some good ideas. I hope they help paper users from suffering a catastrophic loss of data.

                          No matter how you might backup your paper planner, the methods you've suggested all have one thing in common: you have to actually do it. You have to spend time and energy doing these things.

                          I'm unwilling to put forth the effort required to backup a paper planner. Mozy backs up my electronic data instantly either with the click of a button or on a scheduled interval. I don't have to think about or do anything.

                          I also use an electronic solution (Palm synched to Outlook) because the PDA is simple for me to carry everywhere--I don't want to schlep a binder around with me everywhere I go. I had to send my Palm back to the factory for service once and I switched over to a paper system. Carrying that thing around was a HUGE headache to me, but it was better than nothing at all. I'll buy a second PDA before I send mine in for service again and live with a paper system.

                          There are pros and cons to each type of system and it all comes down to personal preference, functionality, and risk management. I prefer electronic systems, but that certainly doesn't make paper the wrong choice for everyone else. In fact, I have a few paper components to my system like the tickler file and I love it, but my primary action lists are all managed electronically.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
                            The Action Planner? My local office store still had some academic year ones available (start August), and 2009 is not far away. Perhaps the new Mead GTD planners will be similar, but with even more list pages!
                            Even more list pages!! That would be exciting! Being a fan of spiral bound planners, I find that they never have enough notes pages. I normally draw vertical lines in a normal notebook to make Task pages.
                            However, this year, I'm seeing more & more notebooks that now have a combination of Tasks/ToDos Pages as well as lined notes pages. I am a former Franklin Covey daily pages user, but stopped because some days I didn't have that much to write, which equaled up to many pages being wasted. I see that FC has a new spiral undated notebook, preprinted with ToDos, Calls & Notes (or something close to it). I am going to try this, as well as the new Mead GTD planner. I like to change every couple of months.

                            Comment

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