Tuesday, 27 December 2016

What will I be using in 2017?

I've pretty much settled into a system now and so I'm all set up, ready to go for 2017. In this post, I'll tell you about the components of the system; in the next post, I'll show you how it all fits together.

The System:
One carry-around. This is my Meadowgate TN and it contains a week + notes diary, a monthly insert and a notebook
An A6 daily planner
A separate notebook with Goals to Projects to Next Actions.
An A5 day per page diary to write up my day in

The Carry Around:
I still love my Meadowgate TN! I reviewed it here.
It has card slots front and back, with a full-height slip pocket behind. This picture was taken when it was brand new. It hasn't really changed, despite just being lobbed in my bag with no protection when I leave the house!
The fabulous Mike from Meadowgate Leather made this as a special order for me; the 'regular' version didn't have card slots in the back as well. All in all, it cost me just over £50, including delivery and there isn't a day I haven't used it since I moved in.

The week + notes diary
This is made from a slightly trimmed Rhodia A5 notebook, with a few extra pages added in so that I can fit a whole week in one diary.

On the LHS, the page is split up into eight boxes: Mon-Thu vertically on the left; Fri-Sun plus a spare box on the right. The spare box might be used for tracking things or might just have a bit of decoration added. I'm not huge on decorating my planner, but since there is a small square there, I could do something without it impinging on the diary.

Week + notes in a trimmed down
A5 Rhodia exercise book
I have very few appointments these days and so don't really need a lot of space for each day. My day planning takes place in my A6 notebook anyway - the diary part of this is merely to give me an overview of the week. I used washi tape to label the days (bought from WhiteDaisyPetals on Etsy). The tape has just enough to do 50 weeks, so I needed two rolls!

The RHS is just wide open space and will hold plans for the week. In 2016, I divided this side up into 8 blocks too, for the different life areas, but some weeks, some areas were crammed and others empty, so I'm leaving it open this year. I can always add in more structure if I need to.

The monthly insert
Well, we all know already that I will fail miserably to use this and it's really a last-ditch attempt to see if I can get one to work. Again, this is made from a Rhodia A5 notebook that's been trimmed to about 14cm wide. I used some of the pages left after I'd extracted some to top up the diary insert! I just added a bit of card I had and re-stapled it.

cover made of spare card I had

Each month has 4 pages - a page for plans, a double spread of the month and then a page for notes/review. I'm hoping to use skinny washi to block off project time/holidays etc. and am hoping that doing this will help me to be more realistic about what I can get done each month when I'm planning.

Page for plans for the month
Double spread for the month
(washi there to cover up private information)
Page to review the month; next page is for planning

It may not stay in the TN - as you'll see in the next post, I'll only use it when I'm planning the month.

The notebook
I have messed about with too many things in 2016 - bullet journalling and so on. It doesn't work for me. Well, not the way it's supposed to. In 2017 I'm going back to keeping one big list of things that need doing. These are not the next actions for projects; these are things like 'pick up dry cleaning' or 'do the meter readings'. It will live in the back of my TN so it's always to hand, whether I'm at home or out and about. At the moment I'm using up some leftover, hateful Moleskine cahiers. Once they're (finally!) done, I'll use trimmed Rhodia or Clairefontaine or any other thin, card-covered A5 notebooks I have lying around. They don't get kept once all the to-do are cleared.

The A6 day planner
This is nothing more exciting than an A6 squared Clairefontaine notebook. These are the same size as Field Notes books but have lots more pages (96), have decent, fountain-pen friendly paper and are a fraction of the price! I use a page per day,  time-box down the left hand side of the page and use the right hand side of the page to list what I'm supposed to be doing each day. It lives on my desk and gets thrown away once finished. Using a page per day means that I fit three months in each notebook.

These are fab little books!
time-boxing not in yet!

Goals to Projects to Next Actions
I've blogged about this before and nothing much has changed! There are larger goals (e.g. get the next book published; sell more books) which are then broken down into smaller projects, some of which can run parallel, some of which are sequential (e.g. finish writing the book, edit the book, marketing projects etc.).
These projects are then broken into next actions (do the character notes, sort the plot out, write chapter 1 etc.; organise a price-drop, organise a blog tour etc.).

At different times in my life, these Goals to Next Action notes have lived in Filofaxes or notebooks. At the moment they are in a Leuchtturm A5 notebook that sits on a shelf next to my desk. They may yet return to a Filofax, as that's more flexible than a bound notebook. I'll see how I get on with the notebook! I'm currently using washi tape on the edges of the pages to indicate where notes for the next project start.

An A5 day per page diary
I'm back in a Ciak for this. See here for details.
I use my day planner and diary purely to plan. No personal notes or recording of things to remember, because they all get tossed at the end of the year. I reflect on and record the day in a diary that is kept - the A5 Ciak.

So, that's my system. What is everyone else using next year?

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